Five tips to stress free international family travel

What type are you? 

happy international family travel
unhappy family - international family travel

Which of these two pictures comes to your mind when you think of international family travel?

If you've picked the one on the happy family then yay, pat yourself on the back. You've cracked the code for family vacations abroad. (Do drop us a line and let us know if you have other tips to share). If you've picked the irritated family, then these tips are for you. 

Five tips to stress free international family travel 

Here’s what traveling as a family abroad has taught us.

1. A bit of organising is better than chaos

When you are going abroad on holiday, you could try to fly by the seat of your pants, but really it wouldn’t be the best bet. Some organising is one of the secrets to stress free family holidays.

Assuming you’ve done all the basics, then the next is the actual time you get to the airport. There was one time when we had to run across a whole terminal with kids and our wheely cabin luggage in tow. Boy, was that stressful! It set the tone for the rest of the holiday.

So we now plan to have double the time required to get to the airport and we check traffic updates as well.

If you are early, why not point out the different types of planes to the children – can you spot an Airbus A380 or a Boeing 747? Or treat yourselves to an airside snack.

2. Keep the cabin baggage to a minimum

While a strolley is convenient when traveling as a couple, if you’ve got a couple of kids, keeping your hands free of luggage lets you hold or carry them.

Backpacks are handy for these kinds of trips. You can use them on your days out at your destination too.

When you are travelling as a family, some essentials like emergency medication, change of clothes for you and the kids, something for them to suck on for take offs and landings are things to have other than some toys/screens.

Here are a set of back packs that help.

Adult Backpacks

Diaper backpack

that can keep bottles warm


Backpacks don't need to be dull

A Strolley backpack 

3. Accommodate the kids & adults

Let’s face it – this holiday isn’t just about you and your partner. It’s about the kids too.

So plan for the cotton candy and treats; visit a local park and have a picnic. If there are two of you adults with the kids, one of you could give the other some time off to go see the destination like an adult or even go for a long walk as a break.

treats on family holiday

If you are a single parent, book yourself into a place that has child care and take some time off to wander by yourself.

If you can ensure there’s something for the kids and yourself(yourselves) then it’s going to work out a treat.

4. “No plan days” on holiday

Are you one of those who is great at organising your life and how your family does things? Then you’re thinking, “I’ve spent a lot to organise this holiday, so I want to make sure we get the most out of it”.

But we’ve found out ourselves to our detriment, as have many families, that it results in tears and tantrums while going around exploring a destination. What we learnt is to not plan to see more than one place a day and cover more than a city or two in a week.

Have days with nothing do at all. Wake up late, find a nice place to have a brunch and be unapologetic about doing nothing. It gives everyone a chance to rest and it’s like the white space around beautiful art.

In your checked in luggage, have some surprises to engage the kids if you aren’t staying at a place that offers toys and easy activities.

5. This too shall pass

Remember the wise old saying, this too shall pass? If it isn’t a complete crisis, then is it funny when you aren’t in such a bad mood? Did the sat nav get you to the wrong place or did you order something you hated?

If it’s a complete crisis, keeping calm and dealing with the situation burns far less energy than getting stressed and frantic. Difficult one, but it really helps.

This too shall pass

Fortunately, experience has shown that very few family vacations are hit by a crisis and the small annoyances fade pretty quickly.

International family travel is a way to give all of your family rich memories as well as learning about traditions and cultures. Really, it is possibly to enjoy a family vacation abroad. Remember it starts with you!