The holiday season is royally upon us (not the Christmas kind, don’t worry it’s not one of those eager beaver kind of posts… we ain’t anywhere near that prepared!). The feelings of excitement preparing for a 5* holiday somewhere exotic in kid-free hotels are nothing more than a distant memory. Instead I’m going to spending the next week frantically planning on avoiding the journey from hell as we get ready to head off on our first all-inclusive, family resort holiday… during school holidays. SHOOT ME NOW!
We did go to Menorca last year, late in September once schools were back, but in hindsight it wasn’t our best idea. All the entertainment had shut down, hardly any other kids where there and so our two where bored and it was like a scene from One Foot in the Grave.
One of the boys doesn’t travel particularly well, he gets bored easily and is prone to a bit of drama when stuck in a seat for longer than an hour. So it was about this time last year we reached out to you all on Facebook to share your ideas for keeping the little buggers entertained on a long journey. We got some great ideas and I was able to put some into practice last time and they paid off! So I thought I’d give you a look inside our bag, which I’ve aptly named ‘Daddy’s EPIC Fun-Time Flying Bag’… feel free to use that!
When preparing ‘Daddy’s Epic Fun-Time Flying Bag’ aka ‘Keeping the Little Sh*ts Quiet Bag’, I was told to include something for every 15 minutes… well we had a 3 hour flight and 90 minute transfer so that was never going to happen! So first in the bag was…
#1 iPad (or some other form of screen)
I know too much passive screen time is frowned upon but when it’s a matter of trying to keep the peace and save yourself from potential embarrassment then throw the screen time rules out the window and pray you can get them to watch as much crap as possible!
There are of course some great free games for little ones, particularly the CBeebies ones which are actually pretty good for them really so you can feel slightly less guilty (if you actually really feel any guilt at all… I don’t!).
#2 Colouring & Sticker Books
These are a great idea… more so if you’re little ones are actually able to peel stickers for themselves… last year mine clearly couldn’t which resulted in a bad back from the twisting and leaning over to their seats to help them!
#3 Story Books & Magazines
A new, small and lightweight book is a hit for us… plus they double up as bed time reading on an evening for a week so you don’t need to pack extras in your case. Magazines that include a good little toy is a nice surprise too! I’ve nabbed us a ‘Go Jetters’ one which has all the characters attached to it so that’s a sure hit for Jay.
#4 Surprise Presents
I always wrap a small little present too but I try and keep it for emergency use or for the back end of the journey. Things like the small mashem type toys that you can get in any supermarket or pound shops go down well with my too as they are little. This year I’m also trialling taking a travel game of snakes and ladders which I picked up in Poundland for a quid… and for those of you reading that and making a smart-arse comment about it being a quid in Poundland then here’s a ‘middle finger’ for you because not everything is a pound in there… which I’m sure defeats the purpose of the name!
#5 Food & Treats
I’ve read quite a few blogs that recommend avoiding sugar rushes on planes, but I think you have to rely on knowing your child and how they respond to sweet treats. We’ve never experienced negative behaviour as a result of a sugar rush/crash so for us sweets are going to help keep the little buggers sweet!
I also pack a small tub of fruit and a sandwich too which I was convinced when I first did this that they’d be taken off us at security but they never batted an eye lid at them! As long as you avoid liquids you’re fine.
#6 Crafty Stuff
Now I’m definitely not endorsing taking paints our anything of a messy nature as I’m sure this will not be appreciated by the cabin crew or your neighbouring passengers, however there are simple little crafts that you could take with you for example pipe cleaners. We spent a good 20 minutes on the plane making different characters out of them which was simple, easy to carry fun! I’m not too sure if things like play-doh are allowed through security but that’s one I’d avoid for the simple reason that one of our boys still thinks of it as a tasty treat!
Avoiding The Journey From Hell… On The Way Back!
And for goodness sake, do not forget that you have the same journey home! Items such as the iPad, books, magazines and crafts will kill some time on the way back too but I like to pack extras in our suitcase for the journey home- normally a new sticker/colouring book, some sweets, maybe a different crafty idea and another sneaky surprise present in case of emergencies!
It is a lot of preparation but for me it’s time well spent if gets us there and back stress-free.
Wishing you all a jolly holiday with lots of sunshine! Be sure to let us know some of your ideas in the comments!