London underground – using the tube with kids

If you’re visiting London, whether that’s a day trip or a longer break, you’ll find yourself on public transport at some point.

And as you can no longer use cash on any Transport for London buses from July 2014, the easiest and cheapest way to get around is using an Oyster card.

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So if you’re baffled by the thought of using the world’s oldest underground system, here are my top 10 tips on travelling on the tube with children.

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Travelling with teens

The teenage years seem a long way off – but with two years having flown by already, I half expect to blink, wake up and discover Minnie is suddenly 15…

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So perhaps I should start gathering tips on teen travel now. Fortunately, Kerry Fisher, mum to two teenagers and author of The School Gate Survival Guide, has come up with some advice on how to handle holidays when a pool and beach won’t cut it any more and all your ideas are boooooooooring.

Here are her six of the best tips.

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Child car seats – how safe is yours?

It’s been an expensive week… Along with all the birthday spending for Minnie, her trusty car seat has suddenly started to seem a little unreliable.

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It was passed on by friends (although second-hand isn’t normally recommended, we knew there was no issue with damage) so I suppose I can’t complain at finally having to fork out. But who wouldn’t rather fritter £150 on something else than a replacement MaxiCosi Axiss, even if it was on offer?

But while it seems fine most of the time – only occasionally failing to click into place the first time you swivel it round – I’m not prepared to take the risk. Imagine an accident and a slightly worn part meaning she was hurt as a result? (Actually, I can’t even bear to imagine it).

As if to hammer it all home, Which? has released the results of its new undercover investigation which found that 90% of staff at 42 stores across the UK failed to fit car seats correctly.

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Travels with a baby – two years on

Two years ago, I was lying in a hospital bed feeling battered and bruised, looking at my brand new daughter and wondering how on earth I did this parenting thing. Two years on, I’m still wondering, but am mildly less battered at least.

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Yes, there’s nothing like a birthday to take stock – even when it’s not my birthday.

Our travels haven’t all been easy this year, especially as Minnie seems to time her various viruses and ailments to coincide with a holiday (though not, thank god, her bout of chickenpox). But so far, not a bad tally of trips. Continue reading

The well-travelled generation

Hurrah! Finally a survey which suggests that not only is it possible to travel with your kids, but that more parents than ever are heading overseas.

In fact, twice as many under-fives have travelled abroad compared to their parents at the same age, with more than a quarter fitting in three or more trips by the time they turned five. A generation ago, seven in 10 hadn’t left the country once.

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Unsurprisingly Western Europe is the most visited destination, followed by the USA, but a cheering 12% of pre-schoolers had gone to East Asia in the past year, and 16% had braved the longest of long-hauls to Australia and New Zealand. Continue reading