Side Street Style

A family lifestyle, interiors & travel blog

03/09/2015

Taking the stress out of overseas travel


family travel
Mr A on one of our adventures this year


When it comes to a family holiday it's really important for it to start off on the right foot. There is nothing worse than a 5 hour drive to Heathrow or waiting in long departure queues, bored and whining children who have been waiting for hours before you have even boarded the plane or simply having to navigate a massive airport and, inevitably, the terminal you are looking for is the furthest away from where you are. Things like this can make the mood go down pretty drastically.

Whenever we plan a holiday we always look at ways to make it as stress-free as possible because with kids excitement can quickly turn into frustration, especially when you’re flying, a tired and irritable child boarding a plan can be a recipe for disaster. So it's really good to hear that local airports now offer far more choice than before, and last year we had first-hand experience of that when we flew from Cardiff to Amsterdam with KLM. I can honestly say it was the easiest international trip we have done with the car park being right next to the terminal, a quick and easy check in and friendly local staff meant everything was a breeze and we boarded the plan feeling fresh, excited and most importantly not exhausted. 


Amsterdam
Mr A on a canal cruise in Amsterdam 


I have lots of memories as a child travelling from South Africa to the UK to visit family in Wales and wow what a mammoth journey it would be and I don't just mean the 12 hour flight but everything else that goes with trips like that such as navigating Heathrow, waiting ages for our luggage, trying to find the car hire centre and then driving more than 3 hours to finally get to our destination - it was exhausting and would have been so much easier had we been able to fly to a smaller, more local airport. It's great to know that now you can do just that with KLM, by going through the central international hub at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam which is basically a gateway to the world as you can fly to pretty much any far flung destination from there. In fact that’s how my mother has gone back to Cape Town for her last four visits, as all she needs to do it a 30 minute trip to Cardiff and she is on her way. When we eventually go on our next holiday it's certainly how we will be doing it.


father and son
Enjoying the vibrant city of Amsterdam



I thought I would also share a few top tips on keeping the stress levels down when travelling with kids. 

1. Always have snacks on you - tears and tantrums can often be avoided by simply making sure your kids are well fed and watered as moods can swing when they are hungry. 

2. Try and keep waiting times to a minimum and make sure you have all your transfers sorted out in advance. Also look at what your local airports offer in terms of travel and destinations - KLM and Air France fly from smaller ones such as Norwich, Bristol and Birmingham to name a few, allowing you to avoid the larger airports. 

3. Pack a few fun and interesting toys, I did a vlog about 5 cost effective ways to entertain kids while travelling, check it out. 

4. Aim to get as much sleep before a big trip as possible as well as taking naps when you can along the way to make sure your energy levels are on the up. 

5. Research family friendly hotels and attractions before you go as this will save you a lot of stress knowing where is good to go and where is not. 

6. Don't leave packing to the last minute as not only does that cause stress but you usually pack things you don't actually need. The best thing to do is write a list of everything you need, lay it all out on a bed, tick everything off and then re-evaluated everything and ask yourself if you really need it as lugging heavy luggage around is not fun and neither is leaving something essential at home! 



family travel



You can also get kids involved by getting them to pack their own bags; we recommend a Trunki as they are fun, colourful and just big enough to contain all of your kid’s things. By putting these simple tips in place you are on the road to a less stressful trip, meaning more time to relax and enjoy some much needed family time - just don't forget your camera to capture those happy moments.

In collaboration with KLM

27 comments:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed your stay in Amsterdam and the process of getting there was easy. I don't have kids, but I think some of these tips are great for me too, as I tend to hate long journeys, waiting time and crowded places.

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  2. Some great tips Laura. We enjoy flying from our local airports too, it just seems things go much more smoothly and we enjoy our holidays from the start. Trunki are amazing, ours travelled with us all over the world, sadly Grace has outgrown hers and I'm struggling to find an alternative for a 10 year old x

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  3. We recently went on a huge family holiday to Disneyland Paris with my partner and his 4 nieces and nephews. I don't think I've ever appreciated before just how much planning their parents do for even a short trip! It definitely gave me a new found respect! That said, a lot of your tips are relevant for me too! I need snacks and naps to keep from being grouchy when we travel! x

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  4. Travelling with little ones can be so stressful....Thank you for the tips x

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  5. You are so right about starting the holiday right; the more direct the journey, the better in my mind. Hope you had a fab trip x

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  6. Your photos are fab! That first one is amazing! x

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  7. What great tips. Absolutely agree about using a small local airport, it does seem to make travelling easier and more enjoyable.

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  8. These are some great tips! Even if you're travelling alone, I'd say all of these hold true! I travel to the states alone quite often to visit my fiance- it's an 11 hour journey, and I've quickly learned that having snacks and water, a fully charged iPad, and making everything as streamlined as possible travel wise makes me a much happier girl! ahaha

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  9. Great tips thank you. We've flown once with our son and it was horrific but I'd like to try again just to see if it was a one off, and because we weren't as prepared as we should have been. x

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  10. Great tips!! I always like to pack well in advance and re-pack about 50 times before hand to make sure we haven't forgotten anything hehe! x

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  11. I would love to travel overseas more - I shall have to try and remember these ideas :)

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  12. Mr A has had some whale of a time ! The tips are very helpful

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  13. Those of us who travel without children are always extremely grateful to responsible parents who we can see are doing their best to keep their children quiet and calm throughout a flight.

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  14. Great advice. I've never taken my children abroad, but remember family holidays as a child being quite stressful x

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  15. Thank you for the tips - they are really helpful :) x

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  16. Great tips my daughter is older now but the things we used to do to make sure she was as calm as we could get her x

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  17. I pack a few days before we go, list what I think I need and then usually re-pack to double check x

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  18. Great post! Love the trunki we have a couple, I mean Boo has a couple and they are awesome! We haven't ventured abroad yet with Boo but as my husband's family aren't in the UK we really need to!

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  19. These are great tips! Travel can be very stressful, especially with little ones.

    Daniella | Freshly Pressed Beauty

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  20. Great tips on travelling with kids, I can't imagine how stressful it is as I get stressed out looking after myself and keeping organised!

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  21. I wish I could read this post when I have child :) I'll save it as it is very useful! Great advices!

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  22. What a beautiful post. I really hope in the next few years we can travel overseas. I would love to see more of the world.

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  23. 100% with you on the smaller airports! We live 20 minutes from Bristol airport and it makes the hugest difference to our holiday plans!

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  24. Great tips. Smaller airports for the win - always.

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  25. I love smaller airports, I had no idea Bristol airport was so nice and easy until I experienced other ones! It really does take the stress out of it and I loved our trip to amsterdam last year too! x

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  26. Some day I'll learn not to pack at the last minute! We flew from Bristol airport for our honeymoon and it was absolutely the right move. It made the whole things stress free.

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