There’s lots to look forward to when you have an exciting overseas trip planned for you and your family. But, there can be lots of time to fill when you’re waiting for planes, buses, trains, and so on. It can be a challenging time with young children who can get bored easily. Here’s some tips on how to get organised for transits, stopovers, and time at airports to help make your holiday more enjoyable for all of you.

Pack lightly – the less you need to lug around, the better. When you’re getting on and off planes, trains, and buses; going up and down escalators; and in and out of lifts, you’ll be glad you took less! You’ll probably be carrying your kid’s things sometimes too. Think about each leg of your journey and how practical your luggage is for getting on and off different modes of transport. Luggage with wheels is a great idea.

Leave plenty of time to get to the airport/train or bus station – this will help you to avoid rushing to get everyone organised and there on time. Also, try to plan your travel at a time of day that suits your family. You know your kids – if they’re easier to manage in the morning then that’s a good time to travel. Of course, with stopovers you may end up waiting somewhere in the middle of the night. That’s when it’s important to have some things at hand to comfort your kids and avoid unnecessary stress.

Try to keep carry-on luggage to a minimum, but for each child, pack a snack and a drink, medication, sick bag, baby supplies if needed, a change of clothes, a warm coat/jersey, and their favourite (small) toy/book/game/electronic gadget. If they’re old enough, get them to carry these things in a small backpack. A lollipop and a deck of cards may come in handy too. If your kids have an allergy/food intolerance, carry basic snacks with you so you always have something to give them that they can eat.

You don’t know how long you’ll be waiting in some cases and the shops and facilities may not be open. Kids get restless, so if you bring these things along you know you have everything you need to try and keep them happy or distracted with food or things they like to do. If they’re tired and need to have a rest somewhere, like on the floor at an airport, the coat/jersey can make a good pillow!

Check out the facilities available at the airport/train or bus station you’ll be waiting at. Be prepared for long delays. Research websites and find out about the restaurants, play areas, parent/child areas, game areas, and rest areas that are available at each place. This way, you know where you can head to when you’re waiting for the next leg of your journey. A meal and a walk around the airport or station can be a good way to unwind and relax. If there’s time, you may be able to check out the local shops or attractions. Find out where you can leave your luggage so you can do this.

When you get to your destination and you’re waiting for the next connection, make sure you know the exact time of departure and where you need to go, so you don’t miss your connection!

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Rosalie Chamberlain is a freelance writer at Rapco, specialising in business, compliance, and family. She helps businesses create clear, easy to read website content, and improve their communications. She is passionate about families and enjoys providing useful information for Kiwi parents. Read more articles that Rosalie has written for Kiwi Families.

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Paul Long

Awesome places to visit !!A road trip can be exciting and terrifying in equal measures.I always carry plenty of activities for my kids as they don’t like car ride at all.This keep them entertained and comfortable during the whole road trip.

Rosalie Chamberlain

Thanks for your comment Jen and your tips too. Yes, it’s a bit of a juggling act isn’t it when travelling with kids and ordering kids meals for them sounds like a great idea.

Jennifer Gransden-Pollard

Great suggestions, from my experience, when traveling with kids, especially long haul, some of the best things you can remember to pack are patience, a sense of humor and adventure, wet wipes and a change of clothes form Mom and Dad, as well as, the kids! We also always make sure to order special kids meals as they deliver them first, which means the kids are finished and ready to watch a movie, when the adult meals arrive, reducing the likelihood of wearing more food than you eat!

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