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Learningtosayno7

Expert tips for travelling overseas with 4 kids

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Learningtosayno7

I am sure there are many seasoned travelers out there who have navigated the overseas world with a large family.

 

Whilst we have traveled ourselves overseas and traveled in Australia with two kids we have not traveled with four so it is a bit daunting.

 

The kids ages are 14 boy, 13 girl, 8 boy and 8 girl. The younger two have never traveled on a plane.

 

Destinations will be Paris, Germany and Italy.

 

We are trying to limit baggage and hoping to get everything to fit into one large suitcase and 2 smaller ones plus a back pack for everyone.

 

So hit me please with all your knowledge and tried and tested tricks.

 

The kids back packs will have snacks and a homemade activity book which will include tic tac toe, dot game, colouring in sheets uno cards, writing paper a journal with stickers. Lolly pops for take off and landing.

 

I am also packing 5 dice and printed Yahtzee score cards.

 

 

Thanks so much.

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TinMan

Sort out kids spending money before you go~ some of mine like to spend on little things each day and others save it for one big purchase. We use pencil cases with the slip in letters for their name.

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born.a.girl

If you are doing any internal flights, are you going to have a problem with that large suitcase? I confess to being a rule follower, and was surprised at the number of large suitcases on a recent local flight. Then again, some airlines seem to put the bags for a group on together and as long as they don't exceed the total allowed, they're o.k.

 

Can highly recommend jackets such as Uniqlo - rolled up into their little pouches they save heaps of room/weight.

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lovedupmumma

Toothbrushes in backpacks for everyone on the plane, nothing better than brushing your teeth before descent on a long haul flight. And don't forget to take the toothpaste out to show at security, I got stopped for ages at Heathrow a couple of months ago because I missed one.

 

My kids hated the plane food, and arrived in the UK scrappy and hungry. We packed sandwiches, nuts and fruit for the return flight and everyone did a lot better. It was fine getting it on the plane, we just chucked any leftovers when we got to our destination.

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babybug15

Just be careful on the weight limits per item of luggage. Our large suitcase can easily become overweight as an individual piece, whilst we'd still have space in our total limit. We travelled overseas in July and one of the people at checkin mentioned a lot of airlines were changing rules around this.

 

Could three medium suitcases work instead?

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LUV-MY-KIDS

I would not do a large suit case, they are to hard to handle and if you are travelling and you go over weight limit for that piece it will cost you dearly. Given the ages of your kids I would go 4 pieces of luggage, then when at the airport that is a piece for you, partner and one for each of the older kids. Also then you can pack them easier, depending on who has more stuff give them their own suitcase. Then you might put all the stuff for the 8 year olds in one then you partners and teen boy (usually travel lighter than a teen girl) then one for you and your DD or 2 people per piece of luggage and all shoes and some other stuff in another. Also another thing you can do if you are staying somewhere for longer and then just moving on for a few days somewhere else is then put the clothes you need for those few days and say have 2 bags to open and then repack. More luggage will give you more options than one big piece of luggage. Also if you pack to light you will end up spending money on stuff you realise you cant do without.

 

If you are doing backpack for 8year olds make sure it can be one that can be easily folded or stuffed into your luggage as young kids get over having to take it everywhere and likely to get lost. Better there stuff goes in yours and your partners. If you just want it for the plane get a drawstring bag.

 

As there is 6 of you chances are you wont all be sitting together, so work out who is best sitting with who.

 

Just make sure you have lots of snacks. Also make sure they have enough to keep them going on the plane as you are in for a long flight and kids get board with electronics and inflight entertainment. I always travel with uno.

Edited by LUV-MY-KIDS

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Natttmumm

The only advice I have is sort out your inflight entertainment prior to going e.g do you need ipads, ear phones and do you need to download any apps.

 

We learnt the hard way on an 8 hr flight with 3 kids - no tv/ movie entertainment as DH didn't download the apps and once we took off it was too late

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Let-it-go

I don't agree with how you're doing the luggage. I hate having that much stuff on the plane and in airports and I keep our hand luggage fairly minimal. If you are on the bigger airlines, I've always found the inflight entertainment to cover most basis. The seats are so small and with 2 8yos you will be constantly repacking it and making sure everything is in there, not to mention carrying it for them through airports once they tired.

 

Our kids have a small suitcase each. DH and I have a medium sized one each. Sometimes the kids share a small suitcase. Maybe get the 8yo's to share a small suitcase and then the 13 and 14 can do a small one each of a medium one between them. You and DH could share a medium one.

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ali-song

A friend with four kids packs each day's outfit in a separate large ziplock bag, and brings enough different outfits for a week. They then have one massive laundry day and repack the ziplocks (repeat x however many weeks you'll be away).

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c.sanders

Phenergan if you are worried about them having a hard time flying. We did it for the first time with our 4yo. It was great. He slept and was well rested when we arrived. No anxiety or vomiting which is what happened previously.

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Blue Shoe

A friend with four kids packs each day's outfit in a separate large ziplock bag, and brings enough different outfits for a week. They then have one massive laundry day and repack the ziplocks (repeat x however many weeks you'll be away).

 

 

 

Ikea also has cheap packing cubes you could use. I use á double-sided one for each day - my clothes in one side, two (small) kids' stuff in the other. Makes it soooooo much easier to keep the chaos controlled.

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Babetty

Phenergan if you are worried about them having a hard time flying. We did it for the first time with our 4yo. It was great. He slept and was well rested when we arrived. No anxiety or vomiting which is what happened previously.

 

Agree with this! Most people think of phenergan as a sedative but is also good for vomiting and general sinus / allergy stuffiness.

 

After my then 4 year old vomited on a evening flight to Thailand due to a combination of over-excited and over-tired, both kids will be having some before our next night time flight! With my kids, it doesn't knock them out but makes them drowsy and easier to relax and go to sleep.

 

Also agree with 4 small to medium suitcases!

Edited by Babetty

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Bam1

I wish I could give you some tips - since we've become a large family, my one regret is that OS travel has been out!

 

I hope you enjoy your trip OP, others have given some good tips.

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Redchick2

Agree with PPs that smaller bags are better than large suitcases. If you are hiring a car or travelling by train more smaller bags are much better. We recently did three weeks in Europe (Italy and Germany). We only have two kids (9 y/o twins) and managed to put all our stuff just into two 'backpacker' type backpacks. You older kids could probably manage a smaller backpack each. Good to have free hands when corralling everyone through airports/train stations. Lots of cobblestones in Rome that are not kind to moving rolling backs any distance at all.

 

We had some small toiletries to get us through the first couple of days and then bought as we went - saved space and weight there and back.

 

Highly recommend rolling backpacks for the kids carry on. Airport transfers can involve really long walks and rolling their backpacks were much better for the kids - especially as they get surprisingly heavy with iPads and kindles. Agree with PP to make sure everything packs easily in the backpacks.

 

My kids have never got tired of inflight entertainment but we always take UNO/plain pack of cards in case it is not working or we think they need a break from screen time. Also good for airport waiting.

 

Have a wonderful trip!

 

RC

 

 

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~Bob~

Agree with suitcase advice above. We were stopped in San Fran because one of the bags was over, yet in total, we were way under. I annoyed the crap out of everyone moving stuff around the bags. So I would bring lots of light cases, the ones on 4 wheels. That way, each person can help out.

 

A good bag each (or per 2 people) for the plane is best. Think carefully about what will entertain your children for that long. Devices, books, games etc are great. But nothing too noisy or the other passengers will hate you!

 

I was surprised how well the kids slept on the plane. It was DH and myself that were wrecked.

 

Make sure you have a change of clothes in the carry on for each person, in case a suitcase goes missing or in case someone vomits on the plane (yep...got experience with that one!)

 

Lollies to suck on whilst ascending and descending. Sometimes their ears can really hurt if you don't.

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Fright bat

Phenergan if you are worried about them having a hard time flying. We did it for the first time with our 4yo. It was great. He slept and was well rested when we arrived. No anxiety or vomiting which is what happened previously.

 

Agree with this! Most people think of phenergan as a sedative but is also good for vomiting and general sinus / allergy stuffiness.

 

 

Nowadays melatonin is a better bet. In Australia you'll need to get it prescribed by a GP though (whereas in Europe it's widely available OTC.

 

Works more reliably, no issues with over sedation causing breathing issues (although less of an issue with kids your age) and some kids react paradoxically to phenergan (get hyped up instead of sleepy).

 

In terms of how much to take, do consider how and how often you'll be doing washing. If you're staying in single cities for a while and in air bnbs/serviced apartments then washing is no issue so take less. If you'll be traveling a lot and staying in hotels without self-service laundromats, it will either be catastrophically expensive or take you hours to get through it (European laundromat dryers are pretty crappy). We are a family of four and only did washing every 5-6 days when we went campervanning around Europe (off season so staying in aires rather than campsites so no easy way to do laundry), and washing/drying/folding a weeks sort of clothes took 4 hours, but a couple days worth still took 3 hours. Not counting the time spent trying to find a laundromat. So at that point it might be better to take more clothes and do it less often.

Edited by Fright bat
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LUV-MY-KIDS

Phenergan if you are worried about them having a hard time flying. We did it for the first time with our 4yo. It was great. He slept and was well rested when we arrived. No anxiety or vomiting which is what happened previously.

 

For some kids it has the opposite reaction, so try before you get on the plane as last thing you want is a kid that is jumping out of their skin.

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Veritas Vinum Arte

I have used phenergan on my kids for allergy at home.... No way would I want to be on a plane with that hyperactive resultant child.

 

Melatonin is wonderful.

 

Like PP have said, although I had a 80kgs luggage limit between 4 of us, my individual case at 22kgs was too heavy and not allowed. I had to change everyone's shoes etc to get it under 20kgs.

 

Medium cases with 4 multidirectional wheels are your friends plus packing cells.

 

 

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beccaj

Essentials for us

Carry on

Noise cancelling headphones.

I make snack bags for each kid in a ziplock - vegetables/fruit for the first leg a sandwich muesli bars

mini lollipops for landings (I pack the extras in the checked luggage for return trip)

 

game book - sudoku or word search

novel

tablets and ipods - used for stopovers and rarely on the plane

a warm blanket

1 kid loves a neck pillow the other a flat pillow

a packet of jelly lollies

I also pack nausea meds, change of socks, a change of clothes for my chucker and sick bags.

 

Checked - use packing cells a different colour for each person. try to split each persons gear across all bags so if one is missing everyone still has something.

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Fright bat

Packing cells? What's wrong wit throwing it all in together???

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Let-it-go

I don't even know what a packing cell is and I've taken the kids to Europe twice and Asia twice not to mention more holidays in Oz than I can count. Occasionally I salvage a plastic bag from my shopping for the dirty washing - does that count?

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Let-it-go

try to split each persons gear across all bags so if one is missing everyone still has something.

 

One thing I have learnt about travel and packing is that everyone and their needs is different. I actually couldn't think of anything worse than the above advice. The thought of getting to a cramped hotel/apartment and tripping over each other and going through each other's bags to get our stuff would drive me MAD. I can hear it now 'mum, where are my shoes/red socks/pink leggings?' I'll just go with shopping if someone loses a bag.

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Learningtosayno7

Awesome thanks for all the words of wisdom. In my haste to post I actually made an error and it is a medium suitcase not a large which is good.

 

I will add the following to the list

 

sick bags

change clothes

love the idea of mixing clothes just in case bag goes missing

lots of snacks as they could eat a horse when they are bored

 

purchased the phenergan today so that is good and was going to test it this weekend just in case there is a reaction

only packing a weeks worth of clothes and washing

have UNO already in suitcase

 

Keep the tips coming they are very much appreciated. :)

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born.a.girl

One thing I have learnt about travel and packing is that everyone and their needs is different. I actually couldn't think of anything worse than the above advice. The thought of getting to a cramped hotel/apartment and tripping over each other and going through each other's bags to get our stuff would drive me MAD. I can hear it now 'mum, where are my shoes/red socks/pink leggings?' I'll just go with shopping if someone loses a bag.

 

Same here, and that was just with two adults.

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