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A family vacation is essential for bond-building within the home. Sometimes, planning one can be daunting mainly because of concerns regarding how to manage the children during a long distance trip in public transport, or travelling with children that have just begun potty training. We’ve decided to give you a few tips on how to manage when travelling with children (infants, toddlers and adolescents).

Pack a lot of clothes

This might result in excess luggage, but you need many clothes because – you guessed it – children can be very messy. They play in the dirt, they pee on the bed at night, they may even spill food on their clothing. Also prepare for weather changes when you park; ensure there are clothes suitable for the climate you’re going to. Carry blankets and cardigans to cover the infants and toddlers in the bus or aeroplane, especially if the air conditioning gets too cold. Take your time to pack, don’t rush and try to not to do it all a night or two before you travel.

Pack Medicines 

first aid kit

If your child was on medication before your trip, make sure you put the medicines for that day in your handbag where it can be easily accessible. Have a booklet or instruction manual for what should be done or used if any of the kids have an allergic reaction or for remedies to any other medical condition in your family – this can coming in handy if there is an emergency. Also, make sure you always travel with:
  • paracetamol
  • multivitamins
  • ORS sachet powder
  • Antacid/Mist Mag
  • antiseptic wipes
  • hand sanitiser
  • thermometer
  • cotton wool
  • spirit
These will form part of your first aid kit should an emergency arise. Sometimes, these items may cost a lot more at your destination.

Avoid spontaneity

Plan the vacation on-time. Check if your travel documents are in order and if not, get them right before the time for the trip. You might need to pack photocopies of your family’s birth certificates, marriage certificate, passports, immunisation papers, and any other relevant travel document that can speed up identification of your family, especially if you are travelling to a place with a high-security alert like the North Eastern part of Nigeria. Pace yourself during the journey (if you are travelling in a private car). If you are using public transport (road or flight), leave the house hours in advance, this will give the children time for sightseeing and play till they are exhausted. You might spend time at the park or the airport before you begin the trip; getting there two hours before departure time should suffice.

Engage the children in activities

If you have toddlers and adolescents, give them a sketch notepad and pencil or crayons to create their artwork when the journey starts to take its toll on them. Play games that inspire their observational abilities, like writing down things or places they see on the trip. Remember that wait at the park or airport before the trip? Use it. Allow them to play board games, puzzles, mould plasticine, read books or watch videos to keep them occupied. If you have older kids, get them involved in planning the vacation activities. As much as possible, let the journey be part of the vacation experience; have as much fun while travelling as you plan to have when you get to your destination.

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This article was first published on 8th March 2018


Ann Esievoadje is a freelance writer who is passionate about encouraging a reading culture and personal development. She has authored two books, The Quilt (fiction) and Being Mummy and Me (non-fiction). She manages Pulchra Publishing which offers a content creation/editing, transcription, different forms of writing (including Ghostwriting) service and her blog, Life Love and Anything Goes at You can reach her at

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