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Pro travel hacks for your next family holiday

Narelle (@alittleatlarge) is a travel writer and Instagram blogger who’s been lucky enough to visit locations around the world for work – often with one or more of her three kids in tow. Hear about her recent trip to the Cook Islands and get her tips for travelling with kids.

@alittleatlarge takes on the Cook Islands

Just over a week ago, I arrived home from a trip to the Cook Islands with my husband and youngest daughter, Tiah. And, as I struggle to get off island time, I thought I would share some of my favourite things about the trip – and some of my family travel hacks – with you.

Holiday highlights

Before I dive into my tips, I wanted to share some of my favourite things about this trip. The Cook Islands is a beautiful place, especially if you’re looking to disconnect from the internet seriously, even if you pay it’s patchy at best! With all the extra time, you won’t be short of things to do.

Any tropical vacation is not complete without a sunset cocktail. Add in the beach and palm trees – the perfect playground for the kids, and there is nothing more relaxing. With so many beautiful locations and resorts to choose from (and you don’t have to be staying there to enjoy them) it will be easy to tick this one off.

Black Rock beach is the most western point of Rarotonga and the local people say that they believe it is the departure place for their spirits. It is really quite a special and spectacular place of celebration. Definitely check this out.

My ultimate highlight though is flying into Aitutaki. Everyone on the plane was left speechless by the view. I will just leave this photo here and say that it’s a visit here is so worth the little extra travel time.

For Tiah, it was an amazing opportunity to get some new experiences too. From flower crown making to learning the ukulele, she had so much fun.

Tiah even took on the role of photographer when my husband and I decided to get remarried on the beach one night. No big event, no celebrant, just the three of us. The photos probably won’t make my Instagram feed or my next photo book, but they’ve made the perfect memories.

We not only left a piece of ourselves in the Cook Islands, we brought a part of it home with us.

Now for the stuff you’re really here for…

My hacks for travelling with kids

I have been very lucky; my kids have always been pretty adaptable when travelling. But, sometimes things happen that you just can’t control. So here are a couple of tricks I’ve learned that you might find handy on your next holiday.

Packing

Packing light is always a good idea, but sometimes it’s hard. I always try to pack things that can be worn for multiple occasions. For instance, when packing for Tiah I always include a little jumpsuit – it’s comfortable on the plane, but she can also wear it out to dinner.

Food

We have all had those “fussy-eater” moments with our kids when travelling. My tip: always carrying something simple that the kids love, like two-minute noodles or a tube of Vegemite. Wherever you are in the world, you can always find hot water and bread. This way you will never be stuck with a ‘hangry’ kid on your travels again!

Medical survival kit

A well-rounded medicine kit will be your key to surviving travelling with kids. It will ease your mind to have some essential items to help deal with every situation. I always include: betadine, sterile water, cotton wool, Band-Aids, diarrhea tablets and Hydrolite.

Toys, books and activities

Something like a plane delay can leave you feeling stranded. It’s boring for us, so imagine what that’s like for a little human with nothing fun to do. One of my travel essentials for Tiah is a Very Busy Bag. These were developed by an Australian company. They provide age-appropriate activity packs filled with things like Play Doh, books and colouring to keep the kids entertained. It normally keeps Tiah occupied for at least the first three hours of our trips. The best part is, you can have a refill pack with different activities to keep the entertained on the way home.

iPad

As much as I don’t like relying on them, they have become an essential piece of technology for today’s modern kid. It provides them with their own personal world from home – music, games, movies – wherever they are in the world. When you’re traveling during school time, like we often do, the iPad can also help them keep up-to-date with their school work.

What do you think? Are these all on your list?

Have you got holiday snaps you’d like to share? Why not create your own photo book now!

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