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Travelling with children

The top 3 benefits when travelling with your work family

  1. Getting to see many parts of the world you may never have seen before.

  2. Staying in 5-star resorts and flying first class which of course you may not be able to afford.

  3. Getting to spend time with your charges in different places which is not the same as the normal four walls of your workplace.

The top 3 drawbacks when travelling with your work family

  1. Being on call 24/6/7 with no breaks; but remember this is not your holiday, just a different environment to work in.

  2. Being away from home for long periods especially if you are married or have a partner or even your own children.

  3. Living out of a suitcase, believe me, you will soon become accustom too.

What types of changes do you need to make in your work contract when you travel?

You need to make sure you have insurance that covers you working for the family outside of your normal workplace and this is not the same as travel insurance (which you should also have).

You will also need to discuss the hours and days which you are expected to work. You will also need to agree on who pays for everything whilst you are away, from your food to snacks, drinks and places you visit. This is best to sort out well in advance and have it as a separate part of the work agreement.

You may need to share hotel rooms with the children, and this means if you are all in the same room you will not be able to make phone calls or be on the laptop or even watch the television. Life is very different!

Do you have any out-of-pocket expenses when you travel with a family? Does the family pay for everything?

Yes and No. All travelling expenses for example flights, trains and accommodation should be paid for by the family. All food and drinks whilst on duty should be paid for as well. You're responsible for your expenses on your days off, if you go sightseeing, book a hotel etc. When it's your choice to do these things, you will need to pay for it.

A different difficult situation experienced when travelling with a family and how do you manage them?

When travelling from the UK to Denver, US for a wedding with a 3-month-old and a 2.5-year-old, we were going for a weekend trip and had a 6-hr time difference. The trip went smoothly until we were due to board the plane home. Security decided that a double mountain buggy that had a sleeping baby in it needed to be folded and go through the scanner. Well of course everyone knows how big that buggy is, and it would not fit through. The parents and the toddler had gone through leaving me with the baby and buggy to deal with a guard who was at this point shouting at me to remove the baby and fold the buggy. I replied, “No, I was not going to wake the baby and the buggy would not fit”. He insisted, and I did not want a screaming baby or a broken buggy, so I calmly asked him for his supervisor who came over and asked what the fuss was. When seeing the buggy and a sleeping baby he waved us through.

What is the trick to finding a balance between being prepared for anything when travelling with kids and packing light?

Sending supplies ahead is always a good option and packing each child their bag to carry if old enough. Always research where you are going and find the nearest hospital, doctor or pharmacy and check which medicines you can and cannot bring into a different country.

Items to pack in hand luggage.

We all know that children can have their moments, and this happens also when travelling. Prepare for everything, even the vomit!

  • 3-4 plastic bags

  • Antibacterial hand gel/wipes

  • Bibs - disposable ones are great.

  • Bottle of water for you (once passed security)

  • Bottles

  • Fold up/disposable changing mat.

  • Muslin squares and a blanket

  • Nappies/cream/sacks/wipes

  • Pacifiers/dummies

  • Ready-made cartons of formula milk

  • Snacks or food pouches

  • Spare clothes for children and you

  • Toys or books

Have fun and be prepared for everything that is thrown at you.

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