February half term will soon be upon us (where is this year going?!) and if we were not about to buy a new family home, we’d be jetting off abroad like many other families in pursuit of some golden sunbeams and much needed Vitamin D.
Being in the UK means flights to sunnier climes such as the Canary Islands (photo above is from a holiday we had in Tenerife) are our usual go- to countries for vacations or a little further afield to Cyprus and Greece where some of our family members live.
I adore California too and have visited LA with my film work but would love to take the kids too one day (if we can brave the long haul flight that is).
The City of Angels is bursting with beautiful beaches like Venice Beach, free yoga in the many sprawling parks there, healthy food everywhere you go, year round sunshine…and just look how pretty it is…aw I love that place!
That being said, it’s not easy travelling with little ones (short or long haul) so here are my own fail-safe (don’t hold me to them, though-kids are unpredictable) travel tips.
1. Consider spending the night before flying, in a hotel close to the airport to prevent an early morning panicked rush and potentially missing your flight. I might be speaking from experience (eek)!
2. On board entertainment is EVERYTHING. No that doesn’t have to mean you for the whole flight either (do I look like Mr Tumble?) although there might be some reading and bursts of sing-along time (soz passengers) to keep the little ones happy but let games, books, playing cards and baby toys take some of the load too. Having bored kids on board can spell disaster (shouty kids and chair kicking will not make you popular with other peeps for the next 9 hours).
3. Make sure you carry cotton wool to place in the kid’s ears for take off and landing to limit noise and prevent potential pain, milk (if you’re not nursing babies), snacks and water (latter bought after check in) so the children and you don’t go hungry.
4. Print out hotel/apartment details and keep these in your hand luggage. Sounds obvious but best to make sure you have what you need so it’s easy and stress-free to get to your destination once you land. Also make sure you have insurance documents, driving licences and of course your passports when travelling too.
5. Once you’ve arrived, do stay safe in the sun with high SPF sunblock for those little ones and make like the locals, staying out of midday heat with hats on at all times and a sensible approach to how long you and your family spend under those powerful rays.
6. Now is a perfect opportunity to switch off and zone out as much as you can. Turn off your phone, try not to go online and simply enjoy this time away from daily pressures with your family. I know it’s easier said than done but if you must log on, choose select times like a peek at Facebook in the morning and then last thing at night.
7. Encourage your kids to try new foods and sample local fare. It will broaden their palates and you can recreate dishes you’ve sampled, when you get home. I usually struggle with my eldest who always wants to same thing: namel pasta but the little one is always up for trying new things! The key is to not pressure your kids but make tasting new food fun.
8. As a child, I always kept a journal when I went on holiday with short diary excepts and drawings I created of things we did and places we saw. I still have them now: perfect tokens to remember family holidays.
9. Finding things to do away to occupy your kids outside of the beach is worthwhile be it outdoor markets to swimming parks and zoos, get out and about where you are.
10. Photographs: take plenty of pictures and encourage your kids to as well. At just 4, my son Oliver loves his child friendly working camera. When we return from our next holiday we will print his shots and make a collage for his bedroom wall. Why don’t you try it too?