DAD SAYS 3 essential rules of travelling with toddlers

Twelve days, four destinations and two toddlers in planes, trains, cars, and even a ship. What could go wrong? Plenty!

“My wife and I have always envisioned taking family holidays that saw us exploring new places, enjoying various experiences and making priceless memories.

We had travelled several times before with our oldest daughter Ishana, 4, and she was a fuss-free traveller, well, mostly. But last June was the first time we travelled as a family of four, with our little raucous daughter Eashta, 1, in tow. 

The wife and I had different views on where we should go. Adventurous me wanted to fly 18 hours to Disneyland in Los Angeles, California, whilst my cautious wife (also known as the sensible one) wanted to go somewhere closer.

We eventually settled on Australia ― it isn’t too far away, is extremely child-friendly and we’d had a wonderful holiday there a couple of years before. We booked our tickets and excitedly started planning a 12-day holiday covering Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Sydney and the Blues Mountains. A trip that extensive also meant travelling not only by planes, but also trains, cars and a ship.

What happened? Without giving too much away, let’s just say one of the best things that came out of our experience ― besides the beautiful memories — are the life lessons arned. Here are my three rules to how to execute an over-ambitious (and some might say crazy) trip with toddlers, and survive to tell the tale.

“When you’re realistic, you realise that a holiday isn’t just about you and your spouse, but also about your kids. They are human, too.”

Rule #1 Don’t be too ambitious

We’ve all read about adventurous couples who take their kids ― sometimes even a newborn baby ― on jungle treks, desert safaris or an around-the-world trip. But if you are ordinary parents, like us, it’s wise to be practical.

A 12-day holiday across Australia sounds spectacular on paper, but in reality, this also means that the parents (meaning the husband) having to carry all that luggage across Australia, too. Needless to say, it’s an extremely tiring experience.

I still remember the day we landed in Sydney. As we were unable to get a cab, we had to rush to catch a train. The train station was about a 10-minute walk away, so I strapped Eashta to my chest on a carrier and lugged all the baggage UPHILL, with the wife and Ishana following closely behind. In the end, we got the train and I decided I was fit enough to sign up for Justice League.

When you’re realistic, you realise that a holiday isn’t just about you and your spouse, but also about your kids. They are human, too. A toddler is not going to have any fun being strapped in a car seat for two hours while you drive from place to place. It bores them, makes them cranky and ruins the experience for them and, in turn, for you.