Our family travelling mistakes

I believe travelling is like any skill.   You get better with practice.   Our family travelling mistakes have been many however, each time I learn a better way of adapting to being a family that travels.  I hope that by sharing our mistakes it will help you avoid making them too.   Of course you can’t plan for everything and the travelling experience is full of unknowns and uncontrollable elements, however being in control of what you and your family do is for the most part possible.

Here are our top 4 family travelling mistakes and how to avoid them.

Our family travelling mistakes

Too many connecting flights

On our first big trip we were heading from Australia to Italy.  This meant we had three flights totalling 31 hours in transit with 2 lengthy stopovers in Singapore and Rome.  This was a mistake!  Why we didn’t stop in Rome for a few days and then catch our local flight down to the South of Italy is beyond me.  Our children were 5 and 2 at the time, and physically and mentally it did put a lot of strain on us all.  The same can be applied even for the time of flight.  Try and pick a flight time that suits your family best.

Advice – Try to get short stopovers where possible or break up your flights with smaller children by allowing all of you time to recover and catch up before heading off again.

Taking too much carry on luggage 

When travelling with children it is so hard to work out what you are going to need onboard.  However, truth be told the more we have flown, the more I am convinced that children do not require as much as we think.  Overloading carry-ons and taking too much means that you are managing too many bags as well as your children resulting in exhaustion and frustration. 

Advice – limit your carry on to one small bag each (if your children are over 4) if you are taking toddlers or babies, then taking their essential items for them)

Put your family first

So often you can get caught up in the fact that you are travelling and have an itinerary etc and forget that at times, it may not work out the way you planned.  Our children got sick whilst we were in Nice France, and our itinerary was pretty busy.  Having experienced a situation last time on holidays where we tried to push through it, the sensible option was to delay our train trip, give the kids rest and cancel our plans for that day.      

The same can be said about having private family time.  If you are staying with relatives or friends during your holiday, make sure you factor in some time just for yourselves.  Go on an outing alone or book into some accommodation elsewhere for a portion of your trip.   We did this during one of our trips to visit family in the south of Italy.  We stayed with relatives for most of our trip but having two young children in their home all the time did have moments of difficulty.    We booked a week in a resort down on the coast just for us, and it was great, plus we got to see more whilst on our trip.

Advice – be flexible, itineraries are great, but your families happiness comes first!

 Check your children’s luggage

We made the mistake of not checking our children’s back packs for our international flight to New Zealand and the sniffer dog quickly realised that my daughters back pack contained something that he was very interested in.   It appeared that my daughter left some twigs and sticks in the bottom of her bag, but it was a good wake up call to the fact that I did not checked what they put in their bags.

Truth be told, I had to learn this lesson twice,  when travelling to Tasmania and my daughter at packed a pencil case that contained a pair of craft scissors and it caused a bit of a stir when going through security.  They said they would have to remove the scissors, and my daughter became quite distressed.  It didn’t really matter as the scissors probably meant nothing to her, it was that someone was threatening to throw them away that was the issue and not a great way to start your adventure . In the end, she was allowed to keep them.  They were harmless craft scissors, but I completely understand there predicament and I should have known better.

Advice – triple check your children’s carry on!

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Family travelling mistakes and how to avoid them
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14 thoughts on “Our family travelling mistakes

  1. I had no idea sniffer dogs were trained to sniff out things other than drugs or illegal items! Twigs? First, that is an impressive sniffer on that pup! Second, it makes me wonder what other things they are trained to sniff out. I always enjoy “mistake” posts. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Very clever dogs. I guess they must be trained to sniff plant material to protect wildlife and plant species. It was a big learning lesson for us!

  2. I agree, travelling in connecting flights are both exhausting and time consuming. Especially for kids who are not accustomed to long travel time. It’s tiring and stressful. For the second point, I always follow the rule of “pack light”, I only bring as little as possible. It’s quite handy for me. At least with these terrible mistakes we were able to learn and mature in our traveling skills. 🙂

  3. The only kid I have is covered in fur with four legs haha so I couldn’t imagine traveling as a family! I bet the memories you all make will last years but that 31 hour flight with kids? All the more power to you and your family, I don’t even think I could do that alone!

  4. Great article and am totally with you. We think kids need more than they do and we under-estimate their resilience. Family first is a no-brainer but I have such packed itinerary most times that I sometimes forget. This was a good reminder !

  5. Well I don’t have kids yet, but I think these are great tips. Especially the one about too many connecting flights and the carry on luggage. I think it could apply to all travelers . Thanks for sharing!

  6. Quite valid points. I don’t have kids but can very relate – that moms think kids need a lot of stuff but it is actually not that way. They have better adaptability. And yes connecting flights and a lot of baggage with family is always a problem.

  7. Thanks for all these tips! As a minimalist, I agree with your idea of not bringing too many bags. The less things you carry, the less hassle.

  8. So true. Even I have experienced that. Actually we felt we took too much luggage when we went on our Europe vacation. We packed everything possible for our little daughter thinking God knows what we will get there. But then we realized we used only half of that material

    1. Yes, we did this when the kids were very small on our first overseas holiday. It is amazing what they can live without and has made furture travel so much easier

  9. Ouch! I also commit the same mistakes 🙁 i remember the most ugly experience was when I exceeded my luggage and needed to pay stupid amount of money for it. It is really important to organize the itinerary as much as organizing the stuff like things to bring and not to bring.

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