This time last year, Leroy and I were approaching the motorway, leaving the London lights behind us and heading home to beautiful Devon for Christmas. As we merged in and out of lanes and cruised along the A roads (we love the drive via Stone Henge - except during the Summer Solstice!) I remember seeing a family car drive past and wondering, how on Earth do people manage travelling with kids at Christmas? Nikita and I are blessed to live opposite eachother now, so the furthest we will be travelling is across the road, which sometimes feels a long enough journey as it is!
So, I thought I'd do some research into the best hacks for travelling with little ones. Here's what I found, combined with some of Nikita's own experiences of travelling to Scotland with a 6 and 3 year old last summer...
Over the door organisers
If your little ones are a bit more independent now, an over the door organiser is a travel hack for you! Pack the pockets with small snacks, toys or books that your child can grab freely. These can also be easy phone or tablet holders should you want them to watch a festive video on the drive.
But remember your baby is more likely more easily entertained than you think! We know from classes that sometimes a piece of foil or a simple balloon can provide hours of entertainment, withought you having to pack the entire play room into your back seats.
Plan travel around nap time
If you're happy to adadpt to their routine, why not plan for you journey to align with their sleep schedule. For younger babies or toddlers who love the whirring of the engine, letting them settle into the car seat might be the best way to ensure a calm journey. Just remember that the NHS advises that babies should not be in their car seat longer than 2 hours so it's important to have regular breaks.
Keep them in comfy clothing
If your'e travelling on the big day it's tempting to keep your child dressed in their loveliest jackets or new dresses, but remember you can always change on arrival. To keep them calm on the journey it might be worth leaving them in their sleep suits or baby grows to ensure thei maximum comfort (for me, this applies to grown ups too!)
First time in the air or at sea?
For some, Christmas is a time for travelling further afield, sometimes flying home for the very first time with a baby or toddler. If this is the case, remember to give yourself time to breathe and relax, A new environment is always going to be a challenge for you and your little one, so give yourself credit for commiting to it! By scheduling some extra time at the airport or passport checks, you'll give yourself the room to breathe whilst allowing your child the time to readjust to the new experience too.
It may sound obvious, but if you're driving, check your car early! Everybody knows you need to check oil levels or tyre pressure before commiting to a long journey, but making sure to do it earlier than the morning of or the night before can take away that panicked rush to fix somekthing last minute
Let us know of any great hacks that we've missed and come back soon for our next blog!