Travel

Don't let travelling with toddlers end in tears

Plan ahead when travelling with kids

Want to head out of Singapore for your first family vacation? Consider these before travelling with your baby or toddler.

WHERE TO GO

Don't venture too far. While kids get to travel for almost free to Europe (most airlines charge only taxes for children under two years old), don't forget it takes 13 hours to fly to London.

Blocked ears will result in a fussy baby, and soothing him in a cramped space while tired and jetlagged isn't fun.

Plus, fellow passengers might not be so understanding and that could lead to further stress.

Packs snacks and toys to help your child be as comfortable as possible. During take-off and landing, give him milk or water in a bottle or something to suck on to deal with air-pressure changes.

If you're travelling with babies, reserve a bassinet (call the airline directly if you can't secure it in your online booking).

Ask for a window seat for toddlers to look out of when they are bored.

WHERE TO STAY

Try themed hotels. There are usually in-house activities, specialty merchandise, themed restaurants and photo ops with characters.

Alternatively, stay at hotels with a kids club. Other than play facilities, they typically offer babysitting servicesso you can sneak in some spa time.

These hotels don't come cheap though. If you want to save on accommodation, any hotel will do (most kids can stay for free if they don't need an extra cot) or Airbnb (ask if kids are allowed).

Just check reviews to confirm that the lodging has reliable security, is clean and has nearby amenities like a convenience store in case Junior gets hungry in the dead of the night.

WHAT TO DO

Make sure activities are age-appropriate. So leave snorkelling in Australia's Great Barrier Reef or extreme sports for when the kids are older.

Don't have a jam-packed itinerary. Schedule breaks or naps.

Set ground rules so your kids know what to expect.

For instance, if it's a theme park, prepare them for the crowds and get them to choose between joining the longer queue for a ride or head for a less popular one (where they can go twice).

For popular attractions, book admission tickets beforehand; see if there's a fast pass option for rides (like in Disneyland, where you can reserve a slot and come back later); and bring or rent a stroller.

Those who prefer to go off the beaten track can consider a trek at parks (borrow a backpack carrier), or cycling in the suburbs (get child seats).

HOW TO GO AROUND

Public transport might be cheap, but not the best option for families with young children.

Some train stations don't have lifts so a stroller can become a nightmare on wheels.

Bus stops could be a 10- to 15-minute walk from your destination, which may be too tiring after a long day out.

Consider hiring a driver. Or if you're up for it, do a DIY road trip for a more leisurely pace.

Remember to include a GPS unit with your rental car, have upbeat tunes to keep the driver alert, and games or snacks to keep the little ones happy on the long car rides.

This article was first published on www.shape.com.sg.

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