Traveling with small children. Evident? Not always. But with these tips you can leave well prepared.
Austria is an ideal holiday destination for families with children, large or small. Since we have 3 children aged 1, 3 and 5, I give tips for traveling with small children.
For families with older children, the offer in the Hochrindl area is also very extensive. When booking a holiday with us, we are happy to give you all tailor-made tips!
Travel insurance? Cancellation insurance? Corona insurance? How do I best prepare when booking my trip? We will provide detailed information about this later.
The road towards it
We have not yet traveled by train towards the mountains. This seems like a very big challenge with small children. This means of transport is still on our to do list, as there is now a night train running from Belgium to Innsbruck and Vienna. More on this later.
With the plane
Personally, we prefer to take the car for travel within Europe. Positive: more climate-friendly, you can take a lot with you and you have everything close by. You also go from point A to point B, at your own pace, without being dependent on predetermined times. You do not spend extra costs on a rental car + extra insurance. Obviously for long journeys this cannot be otherwise, please send me a private message on facebook or instagram 'Sonnenhof Hochrindl' and I will give you our golden tips for a (distant) flying holiday.
If you don't have a car trunk that is too large, a roof box is ideal. Don't want to buy this yourself? Then you can rent this, there are universal rails to attach this case to your car. Or ask around with friends? We also lent our roof box when we did not need it ourselves.
When to drive?
We prefer to drive at night. Why? The children sleep, we alternate, little traffic, hardly any traffic jams… We usually leave for Austria around 5 pm, we make 1 pit stop just before the children are sleeping and then we alternately drive to the final destination. We plan a quiet day the first day of arrival and all go to bed on time.
Leaving at 2 a.m. can also be a solution for those who find it difficult to spend the night. Then you have a little more energy to drive and you can also enjoy sleeping children for a few hours.
Are you not night riders? Then I recommend driving in periods of 2.5 hours, providing enough entertainment for the children and possibly booking a stopover with overnight stay… just to make it as comfortable as possible for yourself.
Children in the back seat?
Crumbs everywhere, footprints on the seats, etc. Your car is dirty, very dirty. But this is part of it, so you let it go. Arrange a visit to the car wash the day when you return home to take care of your car inside and out.
What is provided in the car?
- New (hard) books; the books and pages fly around. So take books with solid pages. Unless you have no problem sticking back some pages after the trip.
- A hand puppet, with which you can entertain your children. He can tell stories, sing songs and ask the children to calm down (they accept this more easily from a nice hand puppet than from a parent)
- Your son or daughter's favorite toy; cars, dolls, barbies etc.
- Window stickers are my favorite
- IPad with apps that also work without internet.
- What I bought myself is a kind of plastic shelf, which you place on your child's lap and attach it behind the car seat. This was very nicely presented, but it was not that convenient. It didn't fit nicely, so the toys were just a bit too far. It is also not quick and easy (while driving) to put on and take off. But especially the firmness was what bothered me. This rests on children's legs, so they are not that long. The shelf was always a little downwards, so the small toys kept falling off.
At your fingertips : Disinfectant gel, napkin, spare napkin, cuddle cloth, bib, diapers, wet wipes (hands and bottoms), bag for all waste, bottles of milk, changing mat, spare clothes baby, drinking bottles, loose (non-breakable) pots, every child a different color. You use these jars every time you give them something to eat… this limits the crumbs. Plenty of food: small snacks such as raisins, dried apricots, banana chips, nuts (from 5 years old!), Biscuits, sandwiches lubricated in advance, fruit and vegetables. My favorite biscuit is a cracotte or rice cake… they nibble on this the longest.
Extra tip: I always make a quiche before departure. The children like to eat this cold. So we don't have to stop to eat and they still have something nutritious inside.
All-inclusive hotel, camping, cottage, apartment… we have already done it all with our little pagadders. But whenever we try something new, we remember why kid-friendly apartment houses are our favorite.
A must ; small-scale, min. 2 rooms in the apartment, its own kitchen with all the trimmings and a children's play area inside and outside.
- You see other people; this is nice for yourself to have a chat + if children of the same age are present, they entertain each other. Sitting quietly reading a book, with small children around you… is a utopia for us.
- No mass events, no late parties, no crowds in and around the building ... so you can also enjoy the peace when the children are asleep. There is also usually baby monitor coverage in and around the building.
- 1 room apartment is possible, but it still gives a little more luxury for yourself to be able to separate the children.
- Cooking while on vacation, I personally have no problem with that. Sam then takes the children to the play area and I cook at my leisure, with fresh vegetables that we bought in the (super) market. If we do want to go out for dinner, we just do that. But then I know for sure that my children don't get to eat chips with a schnitzel every day.
Extra plus :
- Travel cot on location
- Dining chair on location (if not available; bring your own ikea dining chair)
- Fenced garden; safety above all else!
- I always have my doubts between a bath and a shower. I don't think a bath is hygienic and a shower is not very practical with a baby. That is why I recommend that you join an inflatable pool on vacation, so you can easily wash your baby. As an aside : you do not have to purchase this inflatable bath to come to Hochrindl. We provide a bath for the little ones.
Sonnenhof Hochrindl will fully meet these requirements from summer 2021, so that you can enjoy all these benefits without any worries.
Participate in a buggy yes or no?
We can discuss less about this. Every now and then we take a folding buggy with us on a trip, but every time we hardly take it off. Even when your child is still in a maxi cosi, it prefers 'carrying'. We feel less flexible with a buggy.
We are carriers, real carriers: wraps, baby carriers, baby carriers. Nothing is unknown to us.
If you are handy with a sling, I recommend this when you are doing a quiet walk in the mountains. Your baby sits nicely close to you, in an ergonomic position. If it is a bit colder, choose a thicker sling with stretch fabric (tighten well so that it does not loosen up while walking). When it is warm, the bamboo baby carriers are ideal temperature regulators.
Tip : Make sure that your sling is properly tightened and that your child is nicely in an 'M' position. There are many good youtube videos that can help you step by step. Practice makes perfect!
Baby carrier on the stomach
For brisk walks, but your child is still too small to sit in a baby carrier, I recommend an ergonomic baby carrier on the stomach.
- Not: the Babybjörn, it is not sturdy or ergonomic for parent and child (unless they have already adjusted their range, but I am talking about baby carriers from the last 5 years)
- Do: brands such as Ergobaby. Ideal with a baby pillow and neck support, for the very little ones. These baby carriers are perfect for longer trips. Tip : your child is always looking at you. This is the only way to carry your child ergonomically. When your child is sitting with its back against your stomach, the legs are not in the ergonomic 'M' position.
Wear on the back
I have two favorites in the baby carriers. This is because there are plenty of adjustment options for yourself and your child. Otherwise you will carry the weight incorrectly and it is very difficult for yourself to maintain and this is ergonomically not OK.
Which back carrier do I recommend?
- Deuter is a good German brand; lightweight and easy to transport flat. We have the Deuter Kid Comfort 3.
- Baby carrier Poco Ag (Plus) ; here there is a lot of reinforcement, so you can wear it on your hips + you can make it just a little longer than the Deuter, ideal for big dads (or mums)
Both have a sun shade and a rain cover. They are provided with extra storage bags; so that you can easily take pampers, drinks, food, spare clothes ... on a walk. In terms of weight, we were at a maximum of about 20 kg (child of 16 kg + baby carrier + water and drink). If you are not used to carrying it, start with short hikes to see if it is physically feasible.
Let children walk themselves
Austria is an ideal hiking area. There are also several hiking trails adapted for children. With animation and assignments. Then they can just walk enthusiastically.
Provide sturdy shoes, because the hiking trails are not nice and tight. I am a fan of Quechua hiking boots. You can buy them in low, medium and high format. Our daughter has high demands for new shoes, but she really likes to wear this walking shoe. It is sturdy, very easy to put on and take off yourself, and it also looks nice + they have already been tested here for water resistance.
Always allow for longer walking time when the children are walking themselves. The pace is a bit slower and in between you stop a bit more to eat, swim, pee ...
Go for dinner with children
In the beginning, we looked at all the menus thoroughly and only sat down in a restaurant when we liked the children's menu. Fortunately, these times have changed. Where we like it, we enter, we ask if there is a high chair available and we take a seat. Since I cook myself most of the time on vacation, it doesn't matter at a restaurant what the children eat, as long as they like it… and that is usually just eating from our plate; tasty fish, vegetables and bread or chips. Our children are not really spaghetti or chicken nugget eaters, but if they want to… no problem, as long as there is some rest at the table.
Bad purchase : The minimonkey minichair; this is a kind of harness that you attach to a normal chair, so that your child is 'safely' attached. I bought this to be able to go to a restaurant in places where there was no high chair. But maybe I should have asked the question, are children really welcome? And I don't find it convenient. If they move around a lot, they will fall with the chair and all… Or if they are sly bastards, then they see it as a challenge to 'free themselves'.
Take with you to a restaurant for toddlers : a bib, coloring book and crayons, cars, puzzle, possibly iPad with apps that do not need internet.
You're on vacation, go with the flow. Just do your thing. Not every day needs to be filled from morning to night. Be gentle with yourself. A family vacation is there to fully enjoy each other and the environment.