4 Tips for Travelling with Kids and Pets During the Holidays
Posted by: Lydia on 30/11/2020
Travelling with kids and pets can be a fantastic experience, but it can also bring extra challenges. When all goes well and those challenges are managed, the memories you create with the entire family will be unforgettable. But if all goes wrong, it can risk turning a happy road trip into a miserable drive home.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have a plan in place before you hit the road. To help you out, we've compiled 4 tips for travelling with kids and pets during the holidays.
1. Get Pet-Friendly Accommodation
There are few things more frustrating on a road trip than pulling into accommodation after a long day only to discover the accommodation isn’t pet-friendly. That’s why it’s always key to ensure that you have pet-friendly accommodation before you hit the road and that you avoid any surprises at the last minute
It’s also important to check with the accommodation if you have an exotic pet or one with particular needs. After all, a labrador breed of dog or shorthair breed of cat won’t be a rare sight on road trips around Australia. However, if your 4-legged friend is a rarer breed — or you’re travelling with a parrot or python in lieu of a common canine or cat — then you shouldn't make any presumptions and inquire via phone or email before booking to confirm they’ll be welcome on the premises.
2. Anticipate Stress
It’s no secret that the family vehicle can be a tinderbox for tension on a long trip. There are long periods of time sitting all together, in a confined space, with younger family members and pets more likely to get frustrated and act out. It’s usually nothing that a quick stop to get some fresh air and reset can’t fix, but it's important to be proactive about this.
Good car and tyre maintenance is always vital for any road trip that Aussies go on, but when you’ve kids and pets in the car, a breakdown can be far more stressful. So in addition to responding quickly to any signs of stress that arise, try to find activities that can help keep the trip fun and keep stress down. Playing ISpy is a classic, or you may choose to utilize more modern methods like a mobile or tablet. Many parents may have firm feelings about keeping screen time to a minimum with kids in normal daily life, but a long road trip can be a good case for dispensing with regular rules.
3. Plan for Lower Stamina
When it comes to road trips, one of the great benefits of growing up is that your patience increases. Suddenly, a 2-hour journey isn’t long, but a blink of the eye. An all-day road trip isn’t an ordeal, but an adventure. However, it’s critical to remember that the same stamina will likely not exist for younger members of the family or pets.
Sure, some kids can be keen road warriors, and some pets may find the long drive calming and happily doze for hours at a time. But unless you know this to be the case from previous road trips, you should assume otherwise. That means planning multiple breaks throughout a trip. It may take longer, but everyone will be much happier if the long journey is broken up with intervals along the way.
4. Be Mindful of Different Conditions
Your dog may be happy to sunbake all day if you live in Far North Queensland, but if he is outside during NSW’s winter ski season, your pooch may struggle big time. That’s why it’s a good idea as you pack to consider holiday outfits and whether some pet clothing or a couple of extra blankets for their sleeping quarters will be necessary.
It’s also wise to be mindful of the environment you’ll be in. Just as anyone taking their pets out bush should be cautious about keeping them away from any local wildlife that may pose a threat, the same applies if you’re a rural Aussie visiting the city. To any dog used to the big but quiet expanse of a family farm, suddenly living in an inner-city 2-bedroom apartment for a week will be a big change. Seeking to anticipate issues as best you can before the trip and responding promptly to any that arise due to a change in conditions is always a solid approach.
Treasure Both the Good and Bad Moments
Of course, the ideal scenario is that all goes according to plan, and that your kids and pets remain on their best behaviour throughout the entire trip. However, this won't always be the case. If you find that it’s all going wrong and tensions are rising, remember that the ultimate goal is still to have fun, and that there’s an opportunity to convert that moment into something the whole family will laugh about years later.
So take a deep breath. Look to solve the problem as best as you can. And perhaps even get out the camera to take a quick snap. Road trips with kids and pets can be stressful at times, but to anyone who has been so fortunate to take a trip with the whole family in tow, it’s easy to understand why they can indeed become some of the happiest memories of your whole life.
What other tips are helpful for travelling with kids and pets during the holidays? Let us know in the comments!