Lonely Planet: Travel with children
Will the youngest scream all the way through as 24-hour flight? Will the eldest still be able to gorge herself on fruit and avoid a tummy bug? Will you be able to go diving if the kids are in tow?
Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or not, chances are at least one of those questions will have gone through your mind when planning trips with children. But as Lonely Planet’s new guide Travel With Children says, in answer to those very questions, ‘Stop worrying: nothing really stands in your way’.
All you need is a bit of know-how. And that’s what their new book aims to provide from basic advice to tackling journeys, health tips, holiday styles and a breakdown of destinations around the world. Because travel with children is not a single style – their age, their interests, the level of adventure you want (not to mention your own interests) will all determine where you go.
And if you’re right at the start of the adventure that is travelling with kids, this is the perfect guide to ensure you do go.
If you have taken many trips with a baby or toddler, a lot of the initial sections will seem common sense, although it’s still a useful overview of what you’ll need (you can also check out my own travel checklists for more detailed suggestions there!) and a comparison of the different types of transport to try.
Usefully there’s also reminders that your style of travel will need to be different – you’ll have to slow down, build in quieter time for kids to adjust, be more flexible if they decide they don’t fancy whatever was on your original itinerary: something I’m still in danger of forgetting after three years.
For parents of fussy eaters (or new eaters) there’s reassurance too that you’ll be able to find something at mealtimes, wherever you are, as well as advice on what to try and what to avoid.
Then… onto the fun. Where to go – and why not to discount deserts, how old to be for a first dive (eight as a minimum) and great places to see animals. If you’re feeling limited by having a family, even this taste of what’s out there will get your wanderlust going again.
But the real benefit of this book is the destination guides, condensing some of the key information into couple of pages. As well as the practical tips on when to go, time difference and cost, there’s advice on common foods they’ll love plus child-friendly things to do and see, along with some more adventurous options.
You can even find out books for children and teens to read, and souvenirs to bring home, as well as tips on essentials to bring, such as for countries where highchairs are scarce.
Along with suggestions covering Europe, you can see an outline for Argentina (including dinosaur footprints and pizza) to Zanzibar (dhow trips and tingatinga paintings) as well as exotic suggestions including Cuba, the Virgin Islands, Mongolia and Oman.
As a final touch, there’s even pointers on what to do when you get back home. Children’s adaptability and the comfort of being in familiar surroundings can mask the fact this is another big change to a previous routine, so I liked Lonely Planet’s tips on how to prolong the holiday feeling with projects, as well as a reminder to take it slow on your return as well.
Not bad for about 200 pages and £16.99…
I’m a self-proclaimed Lonely Planet fan anyway. But if you have children and love to travel, this book should be on your shelves.
Book cover courtesy of Lonely Planet