The golden rule when travelling with children

It took me a long time to realise this golden rule for travelling with kids. It’s the kind of rule that is so simple that I was kicking myself when I finally figured it out. I wish someone had told me about it sooner but it’s probably so obvious that other parents (you know, the ones who know what they’re doing) wouldn’t even think to share it. It’s the kind of thing other parents seem to realise, but never speak about! Why didn’t you guys tell me this?

The golden rule – well the rule with my kids anyway – is this..

You’ve got two hours

Huh!?

Let me explain.

When you’re doing anything with kids you’ve basically got 2 hours to do it.

My kids are happy, smiley, playful, energetic and content for about 2 hours at a time. After that 2 hours they need to sit down and rest somewhere quiet and relaxing. They need naps and snacks and meals and nappy changes – preferably back at a hotel room or in a villa. They need to be somewhere quiet, cool and relaxing with very little stimulation.

So when you’re planning your holidays, keep this 2 hour time-frame in mind.

What’s the idea length of time for a flight?

Two hours.

How long have you got when you go out for dinner?

Two hours.

When you go into the city to explore, how long should you go for?

Two hours.

You’re going to the beach?

Go for two hours.

I could go on but I think you get the idea!

Our initial problem when travelling with George was that we tried to do whatever we would have done pre-kids. You know, leave the hotel after breakfast and have a stroll around, mooch here, walk there. Stop wherever takes your fancy, have a coffee, have lunch, have some wine, explore some more.

I thought it would be lovely to do this with a baby in tow in his pushchair. He could sit back and relax, have a nap, have some milk and have a snack while he watched the world go by.

What baby wouldn’t love to be pushed around in their cosy pushchair, all tucked up while they admire the views!?

Errm…my child…apparently.

Well he does like it, but only for two hours!

When you’re travelling with kids you’ve got to have a plan. We usually have a morning plan and an afternoon plan (both roughly 2 hour activities) and this is broken up by chill out time back at the hotel. Now we know this golden rule it’s just made our lives and our travels so much easier. I know this is probably obvious to some people but I’m sure there’ll be another family out there as oblivious to this as we were!

Pin this for later!

 

Note: I know every child is different and this advice will not apply to everyone. I know some people have miracle children who will stay out all day or stay up all night and not moan or whine or whinge once. If you have one of these children then I am very happy for you. Would you like to swap? 😉

TheTravelHack

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel. Monica has recently had her second baby and is determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

SHOWHIDE Comments (7)
  1. So true! We’ve found the same rule applies to our three littles as well! Anytime we push them without a “rest and recharge” time back at the hotel we regret it!

  2. When our kid was little, the restaurant dinner limit was more like an hour. We had to pick restaurants carefully and get there early so we could order and get served before the dinner rush.
    OTOH, napping in the stroller is one thing, but kids need to run and play. Sight-seeing doesn’t cut it. So it’s really important to find playgrounds (or indoor alternatives if it’s raining), which might not otherwise be on a travel itinerary.

    1. That’s our problem when it’s raining. It can be so tough to tire them out when you don’t know where to go in the rain! And if you’re in a hotel or villa with limited toys then you’re going to get bored staying inside pretty quickly!

  3. Thank you for sharing this tip. I don’t have kuds yet but will hopefully one day. And I am glad I read about this now rather than later. Although I am going to find it difficult not ti have a busy as can be itinerary

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