Take the Kids

Ask Travel Nanny

Issue 5 - 2016
By Charlotte Radford · Illustration ben kirchner

Scott Dunn’s childcare expert Charlotte Radford shares her tips for globetrotting parents

Issue 5 - 2016
By Charlotte Radford · Illustration ben kirchner

Scott Dunn’s childcare expert Charlotte Radford shares her tips for globetrotting parents

I’d like to take the family somewhere exotic over Christmas, but our youngest is really scared of needles and persuading him to have a vaccination will add an extra element of pre-holiday stress. Is there anywhere we can travel to that doesn’t require a trip to the nurse beforehand?

It really depends what you’re looking for from your trip, and how you define exotic. There are plenty of destinations with guaranteed winter sun and very different local cultures where the chances of contracting illnesses like typhoid, yellow fever and malaria are negligible, such as Mauritius, South Africa, parts of Mexico… even the Canary Islands. If you’re committed to going somewhere tropical, make sure you check websites like fitfortravel.nhs.uk and patient.info before you leave to make sure you’re fully informed about exactly what is required.

If the vaccination really is going to be a deal-breaker with your child, and if winter sun isn’t a priority, it might be worth using some lateral thinking. You could travel north instead – say to Iceland or Lapland – for a magical, snowy sort of experience. That kind of holiday is just as exotic in its own way.

We’re travelling as a family to Florida this Christmas. Our children are old enough to cope with the journey, but I don’t want jet lag to ruin the whole trip. Is there anything we can do before we go or after we arrive to help with the time difference?

You’re right to be concerned: it can sometimes take children up to four days to adjust to a new time zone, so if you’re travelling quite far afield it’s wise to make it a longer holiday. In the run-up to your departure try altering their sleep routine by putting them to bed a bit earlier or later to match the time at your destination. I’m talking about very small adjustments – nothing too dramatic. If it’s an overnight flight, it’s vital to try to help them sleep, and the most important thing when travelling long distances is to keep them hydrated during the flight.

On arrival, be sure to feed your children at local mealtimes and encourage them to get plenty of sunlight and exercise, which should help them to adjust more quickly. It’s also important not to stay up late because you’re excited to be on holiday. Keep things regulated for the first couple of days, get them used to the time difference and then you can relax the routine a bit. For everyone to make the most of the holiday, you have to be quite disciplined.

If you would like Travel Nanny to answer your question in the next issue of Days Like This, email travelnanny@dayslikethismagazine.com

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