December 15, 2017


While travelling with your children may not be the most relaxing trip, it is one of the best bonding activities you can do, after all holidays and travel are what family memories are made of.

There is never a right age to travel with your children, just remember this key tip: nothing ventured, nothing gained. While long-haul car trips and flights can prove challenging with some organisation and pre-planning you can ensure that the whole family comes home with enjoyable memories.

Dr Anna Cohen, leading clinical Psychologist from Kids & Co. provides her top tips for making the most of going on holidays with your family.

• Prepare. Preparing for the worst is an essential, plan for a grumpy, bored child by allowing lots of time, packing extra outfits, plenty of snacks and being ready for a tantrum. Having a few back-up things on hand for your kids to do such as coloring or sticker books can also be particularly helpful when the boredom hits. While preparation is key, don’t let the stress of organising overwhelm you before even leaving the house, just remember that there are memories to be made and fun times ahead. Consider family friendly accommodation that offers activities for the whole family and remember you don’t need elaborate day-long plans, simple things count such as family sport, a swim or a walk.

• Set realistic expectations. While you may not be able to do everything you would without kids, you can still manage to do a few things you wanted to, just know that it might take twice as long. Creating realistic expectations of how much your children will be able to do will help avoid mid-walk tantrums and frustration. While it may take twice as long to get to your end destination, it will be twice as special because you are creating the memories with your children.

• Try stick to routine. Children will adapt to their new surroundings however, having some normal routine will keep them feeling in control and safe. If you are flying, help them feel comfortable by running through their normal bedtime routine, where possible at the usual time. When you are at your destination, this can be as simple as having a regular dinner, bath, story and bedtime.

• Ditch the screens. During travel times, devices can be a lifesaver and it is likely that to keep your children happy and entertained a few movies will be needed. However when you arrive lose the screens – and that applies to both children and the adults – an absence of screens will mean a much-needed switch off period and the chance to experience a new adventure together and in the moment!

• Travel journal. If your children are old enough, encourage them to draw and write about their adventures. This will serve not only as a record of what they have seen and learnt, it will provide some important downtime for parents and children at the end of busy, activity filled day.

Travelling is beneficial for children from any age, as it gives them the opportunity to better understand the world around them, and meet new people from different places, backgrounds and cultures. Even if your children are too young to remember every aspect of the trip, they will remember something and will benefit from that. Remember with some creative thinking, pre-planning and a level of acceptance the whole family will enjoy a holiday, tantrums and all.

For more information or professional advice contact Sydney’s leading Child Clinical Psychologist, Dr Anna Cohen at Kids & Co. – www.kidsandco.com.au

Are you heading away these holidays?

Share your travel tips below.

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  • Great tips especially about setting realistic expectations. Better than being disappointed that things didn’t go to plan!


  • Great tips! Very informative.


  • I would love to be able to go on a holiday, never have as an adult, with my kids. Hopefully we’ll get away for a day trip somewhere though these holidays.


  • Setting realistic expectations is a must because there are those days when you get all to familiar with the inside of your motel room but then there’ll be amazing days full of wonder….the days exceed your expectations.


  • Car travel is when my kid confide in me the most.


  • Thanks for the tips, I’m so worried I’m going on my first overseas trip and I’m taking my two sons with me Arrhh hopefully they will both sleep on the plane


  • I love the bit about setting realistic expectations. There’s no point living in a fantasy world.


  • If your children are tiny and not likely to remember anything sometimes it’s a good idea to make an early start. They are more likely to go back to sleep for awhile and not be restless. Plan to stop every 2 hours or so, get out the car and move about – even if you only go to the toilet etc. and re-fuel the car if you need to. Get you little ones out of the car. It relieves the pressure on their bodies where they are leaning while strapped into their baby restraint or child booster seat. The older ones should also get out of the car and move around. We used to use it as a toilet stop, eat & drink stop, quick exercise stop. A playground with toilets and a picnic gives the kids a chance to have some fun and relieve the boredom. If I take the kids for a walk to the local playground I am now reminded that I need to take snacks. If we go for a walk I always take plenty of water and/or fruit juice drink so there is never any risk of dehydration.


  • travel journals are a fun idea! very amusing for the kids as well


  • We are not travelling these school holidays, but I love the article.


  • No, no travel plans this holiday.


  • We will just go away for 4 nights this year, to a farm, bringing our dog with us. I hope we’ll get good weather. :-)


  • The luckiest people are the ones with the kids who sleep the whole way there and back.


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