Holidays with children: tips for traveling with children

Checklist: Vacation with a child

Before this detailed article provides numerous tips and information on various topics related to traveling with children, a practical checklist for holidays with children should be placed in front so that parents in a hurry can simply check off whether they have everything they need for their family trip have prepared.

Parents can read tips on the following topics below:

Vacation with children: Find the ideal vacation spot

For a vacation with one or more children, there are completely different selection criteria than for a vacation without children. A child must feel comfortable on vacation, stay healthy and not be exposed to unnecessary dangers, otherwise a vacation can mean more stress than relaxation.

If the family chooses a vacation spot where extreme climatic conditions prevail, where the water quality is poor and medical care is inadequate, this can be quite nerve-racking for adults too. However, a child is much more sensitive and has a much weaker immune system than an adult – such places are absolutely not recommended for a holiday with a child. Central European countries with a temperate climate and medical and food supplies that are at the usual level, however, are just right for holidays with children.

The hotel, the pension or the campground should be child-friendly and offer them opportunities to play, such as playgrounds. Special children’s programs such as group games or performances would of course be ideal. In family hotels specially designed for children, such offers are standard. In addition, the holiday location should be away from all possible sources of danger, such as busy streets or dense forests, because parents are usually already worried and try to keep an eye on the child around the clock. Such potential threats would only add stress to parents, even if children don’t even think of approaching them.

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Car, train, plane or coach? The right means of transportation for a family trip

On holiday by car: advantages and disadvantages

Many families prefer to go on vacation by car if they decide to vacation with their children in Germany or in one of the neighboring countries. This is understandable, because traveling by car has many advantages:

All luggage is simply stowed in the trunk and does not have to be towed. The child or children have their toys in the back seat and can play undisturbed and without disturbing anyone. The family is flexible and can take breaks whenever and how often. It is also mobile at the holiday location itself and does not have to look for bus or train connections to go on an excursion.

However, traveling by car can also have some disadvantages. At the beginning of the holiday, the motorways are often completely congested and there are hours of traffic jams in the blazing heat, which can also be difficult for parents. Children start to complain because they are too hot, hungry, have to use the toilet or just can no longer sit and so a relaxed car trip quickly becomes a stress trip.

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In addition, many children with travel sickness react to longer car journeys, so they feel sick. The reason for this is that the sense of balance in the inner ear perceives the rocking and accelerations when driving a car differently than the eyes transmit them to the brain.

Driving is not exactly environmentally friendly due to the CO2 emissions, but it is on a similar level to train travel if the family is large enough to fully utilize the car, the car is modern and the driving style is economical.

Traveling with children on the train: advantages and disadvantages

Families are increasingly choosing to go on holiday by train. The advantage here is that the children are not tied to the seat all the time, but can move and run around in the wagon. Unfortunately, it often happens that other passengers feel disturbed, but to avoid this, families can book extra family compartments. They can be booked for five or more people. In addition, the stress factor for a parent that he or she has to be behind the wheel is eliminated. Both parents can relax, read and sleep with their children while driving. It is important, however, that a parent always keeps an eye on the children on the train, so that they do not romp around on the train or even get off during a stopover.

In addition, a train journey can be very time-saving during the holiday season because there can be no traffic jams. The prerequisite is, of course, that train cancellations or serious delays do not occur.

One disadvantage is that the luggage has to be towed and stowed, which is why a train journey is particularly useful if it is a short vacation that requires little luggage. A whole tent equipment with food and equipment for a two-week camping holiday can only be transported by train with difficulty, unless a courier service is used to transport the luggage to the destination, but this is of course also associated with additional costs. A train journey itself is often quite expensive, usually more expensive than a car ride. It depends on the route on the train: some connections are cheaper, other, busy routes are very expensive. However, a cost advantage for families is that children up to 15 years of age can travel free of charge when accompanied by their parents or grandparents. There are also other savings options, for example with country tickets or the BahnCard, which is usually only worthwhile for people who travel a lot by train. The best way for families who want to go on holiday by train is to contact the information desk at their city’s train station to find out about the cheapest travel option for them.

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Airplane: No alternative for long-distance travel with children

When families take a long-distance trip that takes them across oceans to another continent or at least to a Spanish island, there is no alternative to flying. Flying with children is often very tiring, especially the longer the flight time and the younger the child. Flights with a stopover and long waiting times in particular can stress young children. But many airlines have become very family-friendly in recent years. Often there are free toys and baby glasses, the strollers are picked up by the staff and stowed on the plane. The sometimes quite long waiting time at the terminal can make it easier for parents by exploring the terminal with them or by using clothes to set up a cozy cozy corner on the seats where they can sleep.

Since the luggage is handed over to the airport upon arrival and only picked up again after landing, the family does not have to bother with their luggage most of the time.

When the trip takes you to a hot country, the temperature differences between the resort and the plane can often be quite large. Parents should keep this in mind and take warmer clothes for themselves and their children with them so that they don’t freeze on the plane. The best is an "onion look", in which the top layer can be removed on arrival at the hot vacation spot.

Children often have more pressure equalization problems than adults when traveling by air. Therefore, parents should always have a piece of bread or chewing gum ready.

Unfortunately, air travel is often quite expensive (unless it is a last-minute offer) and only children under two years travel free of charge, from two years mostly meist of the adult price. There is often hardly any time saving at holiday locations that can also be reached by train or car, because the waiting time at the terminal is usually quite long and airports are also quite remote, i.e. from home to the airport and from the destination airport to it is often a long way to the holiday destination.

The life cycle assessment of airplanes is pretty bad, a lot of CO2 is emitted on every flight.

Boat trips: Comfortable, but expensive

A cruise can be a very relaxed way of vacationing with a child. The radius is limited here, the child can not be lost and the usual daily routines can be adhered to. There are no stressful excursions that have to be planned and that could cause disputes and disagreements. Unfortunately, a cruise is usually quite expensive, even if children are allowed to travel free of charge. In addition, the life cycle assessment is not exactly advantageous: ships do not emit CO2, but they do all the more sulfur, soot and particulate matter.

Front and night parts of a coach

In principle, the coach is the ideal means of transport to go on vacation. If many passengers are transported at once, it is even more environmentally friendly than the train and often cheaper by far. With children, however, it can be quite stressful when the family is traveling by coach because it is not very comfortable. Passengers do not have a lot of legroom, breaks are only available at set times and it can easily happen that a child becomes motionless or starts to cry with impatience, which unfortunately can occasionally lead to conflicts with other passengers.

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Tips for traveling with children in the car

When it comes to stress and effort for children, the decision to go on vacation by car is usually a good one. Still, there can be some issues that the family should definitely think about before setting off.

On the way to a summer vacation, it can be very stressful to spend hours in traffic with children in the heat. It is therefore advisable to be on the road when not everyone is leaving to go on vacation. The first day of vacation, for example, is a very bad time. There is a tendency for the least to get going on the highways at night and on Tuesdays.

Regular breaks are important so that children can go to the toilet and stretch their legs. On a particularly long journey, a stopover or a stopover is recommended, which the children can look forward to, such as an amusement park. Children can then count the hours to their destination twice and do not have the feeling of being on the go for an endless amount of time.

Unfortunately, travel sickness is widespread among children, which is promoted if they fix a fixed point with their eyes. To avoid travel sickness, meals should be light on the trip, the child should drink a lot and be protected from the sun’s rays with a sunscreen on the windows. Painting and reading are not recommended activities for children who are prone to travel sickness, because one point is fixed here. They should rather play oral games or watch the landscape. If the motion sickness is really extreme, drugs with the active ingredient diphenhydramine, which are available as tablets, suppositories or chewing gum, help.

First aid kit checklist: what should be in the first aid kit?

The first-aid kit is particularly important on every vacation, and should not be forgotten under any circumstances and should also be equipped with all the necessary medicines and utensils.

Against Pain, whether headache or abdominal pain or pain from an injury, definitely belongs to either paracetamol or aspirin in the first aid kit. A minor injury can easily be self-medicated if the following things are available in the first aid kit:

  • disinfectant
  • band Aid
  • A zinc ointment
  • A scissors
  • A bandage

A cold is of course particularly annoying on vacation. To relieve the symptoms, sore throat tablets and a nasal spray should be taken to the first aid kit, and a clinical thermometer should also be taken on vacation.

Some holiday moods can be badly clouded by mosquitos. To protect against mosquito bites or to relieve itching, a mosquito repellent and an anti-itch ointment should be available in the first-aid kit, at least if it is a summer vacation.

Because of the sometimes very different meals from the usual diet, nausea often occurs on vacation, especially in children. Tablets and diarrhea and constipation drugs are a must. Rain sickness are the medicines with the active ingredient diphenhydramine already mentioned a useful part of the first aid kit.

A suntan lotion is also a must, which applies to every summer vacation, but also to a winter vacation in the mountains, where the sun often shines very hard and can cause a sunburn on the face.

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Eating abroad: Be careful, but encourage the child to try

Eating is a cultural peculiarity in every holiday country, and each country has its own specialties. It is of course very exciting to try these specialties, but it can also be dangerous. Children have a more sensitive digestive system than adults and can quickly get sick from unknown or unsanitary foods. There are a number of foods that should be avoided on holiday, including:

  • mayonnaise
  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Raw vegetables, raw fish, raw meat
  • seafood

Ice cream is often advised against, but in reality no child can do this on a summer vacation. Honestly: The parents will not want to do without one or the other scoop of ice cream, and poisoning and subsequent nausea are then unlikely and the caution should not be exaggerated. Fruit is also often warned, but as long as it is washed thoroughly with clean water or even better peeled, there is no problem here either.

Food from street stalls, on the other hand, should actually be avoided. The controls and guidelines are very different in all countries and the food may be prepared there under unacceptable circumstances. In general, however, parents should encourage their children to eat the typical regional specialties if they are offered in trustworthy restaurants or in the hotel, because children often refuse to try new things and demand the food they are used to from home. Parents should not insist too much, this only leads to stress – but the children should definitely try. If they don’t like the typical local food at all, there is still a children’s menu as a stopgap in most restaurants, on which you can find the same typical dishes such as French fries or spaghetti with tomato sauce in almost all countries.

Holidays with teenagers: relaxed driving away with the grown-ups

Vacationing with teenagers is often stressful for parents. Not so much because they have to take care of their young children and have to take care that they are well cared for, as with young children, but rather because many teenagers want to break away from their parents and are therefore reluctant to go on vacation. On site, they may be defiant, listless and there is always a dispute between the child and the parents. If small children also belong to the family, this is often a double burden for the parents: some are stubborn, others have to be careful. Holidays quickly become more effort than relaxation. But there are a few tricks on how parents can make a nice and relaxing vacation for themselves and their teenage children.

Teenagers do not want to be treated like children and therefore do not want their parents to patronize them. The more parents try to impose their will on their young children, the more they will usually rebel against them. That is why teenagers should be included in the vacation planning and allowed to express their wishes. When parents plan everything their child doesn’t like at all, need they are not surprised if they have to worry about arguments and stubbornness on vacation. After all, teenagers also have preferences and hobbies that they want to live on vacation.

A teenager should be allowed to take what he wants with him (after he or she has received tips from his parents and information about the weather and the capacity allowed) and also have a say in where the journey is going. However, parents should make it clear to their teenagers what clothing is appropriate on vacation. If a teenage daughter takes very scarce clothing, parents should understand that it is hot on vacation.

If the teenager insists on eating pizza on vacation, that’s fine, and his parents should do the same. However, this is also the perfect way to practice self-employment: For example, parents could suggest that they go out to eat pizza with their child if they have found an affordable restaurant. It is also a good idea to give the child a certain free budget and do some research that the family could do. So it feels integrated and not patronized, which can contribute significantly to a harmonious mood on vacation. At the same time, the teenager practices taking responsibility for his actions: Those who spend their entire budget at the very beginning and have nothing left later to buy great souvenirs will be annoyed and think better about what they spend their money on next time , The child should not have too much money available, because on vacation, especially in countries with foreign currencies, the money is often much looser.

So that everyone is happy, the family members suggest alternating activities: there is someone every day who determines. The others follow his wish. The next day it’s another family member’s turn. If smaller children also belong to the family, it is only fair if they too can decide. However, the proposals must remain within a realizable framework. Children need to understand that some activities are simply too expensive or too time consuming. However, if children suggest something that parents may not find fun or a little stressful for them, they should give in and convert the trip, which they would have preferred to be more cultural, into an active vacation, if possible, and for example go on a mountain bike tour or a surf course with their children. Perhaps they are not exactly skilful at this and are laughed at by their agile children, but ultimately this strengthens cohesion and parents and children feel like they are on the same wavelength. Holidays are also a nice opportunity to live out other preferences of the child together. For example, the whole family Listening to his favorite band’s new album while driving, that cheers up teenagers who often don’t feel accepted by their parents.

The same rules should not apply on vacation as at home. The child is also on vacation and should relax allowed to. It is best to get your own room in the holiday home or hotel or your own tent, so that it does not have to keep tidying up and the parents are not disturbed by its disorder. In addition, it should be okay that the child does not come along when the parents go to the museum or in the evening, but stays in his room, eating fast food or sweets and watching TV. This is just relaxation for a teenager, and as long as it does not become permanent, such days on vacation should be allowed. Also, the child should not be dragged out of bed early each day to go on an excursion, but simply left alone and allowed to sleep in. If the strenuous and early excursions are limited, the children will be much more likely to get involved. If the son or daughter wants to walk around a bit alone or with peers, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem either. It is clear that parents are particularly worried that the child will get lost or kidnapped, especially in foreign areas, but they should trust a teenager to be sensible and independent. If they adhere to fixed rules, such as being back home at a certain time, staying in a certain area and reporting regularly, a little trip alone should be fine. The child will feel respected by his parents and enjoy the vacation because he or she experiences something alone.

With this procedure, parents can take stress potential out of the trip and design it in such a way that both their children and themselves are satisfied.

Winter vacation with children: skiing, snowshoeing and more

A winter vacation has its own special magic and can be a great experience for children if the family spends it in a cozy hut, where they can sit together in the evening, drink hot drinks and enjoy typical winter hut dishes such as pancake soup, dumplings, roasts and more.

Skiing, sledding, snowboarding: many children are easily enthusiastic about winter sports

During the day, winter sports or leisurely walks are often on the program of a winter holiday, and children are particularly enthusiastic about the former.

Sledding is particularly popular with children, as it is often particularly fun and fast-paced. Older children are also allowed to go sledding alone if the slopes are safe, with smaller children the parents should sit on the sledge.

A walk in which the child is pulled by his parents on the sledge is almost completely risk-free – especially small children love such trips.


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