When you’re travelling with kids, simplicity and ease of use are your watchwords. But which methods of transportation are the easiest and which will lead to tears?
Travelling in your own car can be a very tempting prospect indeed. An extension of your home, your car feels like your own domain and outfitting it with your children’s toys, snacks, and pillows and blankets to suit is easy enough. While seatbelt laws have made it impossible for parents to lay the seats flat and make huge beds out of suitcases, one’s own car cannot be surpassed in terms of emotional comfort; the sense that you’re in your own domain where, if something goes wrong, no one will scold you or judge you for it. But the necessity of driving and the limited space can often drive the best parent mad. Boredom frequently sets in despite huge stashes of toys brought along, and children on a long car ride can very well be the most effective form of torture for adults to cope with.
The bus is, hands-down, the poorest method of travel with children. While ostensibly similar to trains, buses are subject to traffic issues and the sense of stagnation in a traffic jam is exacerbated by a bus’s size and the idea that one should, at all times, be moving towards a goal. While other methods of transportation like planes, boats and trains can suffer delays, the bus is most likely to stall on the motorway or whilst navigating its way out of the city; if you can avoid it, please do. However, if the price is simply too low for you to resist, make sure you bring plenty of different choices so you can keep your child’s mind active, and take advantage of every single stop to let him or her stretch his or her legs.
The train is a reasonable choice, but obviously you are constrained to other people’s company. The toilets on a train tend to be roomier and easier to use than those on a bus, allowing you a far greater degree of comfort in that area. However, trains can be more expensive and are frequently very noisy as people see them as commonplace. However, a sleeper train can be a luxurious prospect and should be considered a separate entity entirely as it is a luxury method of travel whereby the journey is part of the objective.
Planes are a wonderful method of travel in terms of time saved. However, safety procedures require you to spend extensive amounts of time at either end and if your child has any fear of flying (or if you do) it can become a tedious process indeed. Additionally, the plane allows for no intermediary stops to allow your child to burn off some energy. Make sure your child has a lot to do and try to exhaust them before getting on the plane; the more time they spend sleeping, the better.
Boats are a bit of a last resort, unless your child is older and is not subject to motion sickness. Due to the constant motion of the sea, many people find themselves being physically ill for a considerable portion of their journey, and that is not conducive to relaxation. Additionally, the constant worry about your child falling over the railing and drowning will keep you from letting go completely. While boat travel is possible and many companies have safety procedures in place allowing you to relax, it can be a stressful proposition for any parent who is susceptible to unnecessary worry – and which parent isn’t?
Finding the right method of travel for your children to share with you can make a huge difference to your holiday plans. Take your time to research the options and make sure you find an option allowing you some time off. Don’t forget it’s your holiday, too!