A few Easters back we packed a baby and toddler into the car and my maniac husband drove pretty much straight through from Sydney to the Mornington Peninsula. It was 12 hours of pure hell and I class it a near death experience. Lucky for me I've met a new super mum who takes the hassle out of travelling with little peeps. Laine Yates runs online store ickle Kids and has two well-travelled boys aged six and three.
What is ickle Kids? Basically a one-stop online shop for entertaining your kids during travel — whether that be out and about around town or going on a car, plane or train trip. There’s ready made themed packs or individual bits and pieces for you to choose from.
Why did you start your business? We used to live in the UK and travelled a lot around Europe and Asia. Over there travel toys are available in a lot of shops but when we came back to Australia to live I just couldn’t find suitable products and so I thought why not start my own online shop.
What’s the best way to keep toddlers amused during car travel? When we take car trips I always make sure I’ve got food containers and drinks and take extra food supplies with me to top up their little snack boxes along the way.
I have a car organiser that holds all the games and I always have a bag in the front with me that has more games so I can rotate toys if it’s a long trip. One of our favourite games at the moment is Spot It — the little eye-spy type card game where kids circle the pictures of the things they see out the window.
What are your essentials for plane travel with kids?
- Spare clothes for EVERYONE, not just the kids. Friends of ours took a long haul flight and their baby was sick all over them and they had clean clothes for bub but not for themselves. Not pretty.
- Organise your bags. I pack a bag of activities for each child that can be placed under the chair in front of them and easily accessed. I also have another toy bag that I keep in the overhead locker to rotate their toys to keep them amused.
- When you book your plane tickets think about the seating you require and ask for it. Things to keep in mind are where the toilets are, if your kids prefer aisle or window seats, if they need to move around frequently, how you want to configure the whole family.
- Talk to as many people you can who have been on plane trips with kids and learn from their experiences.
What’s your top tips for planning a family holiday? Again planning ahead is the best advice I can give anyone. I use a spreadsheet and checklists every time we travel. I like to make a list for each member of the family and divide their list into categories like eat, sleep, play so I can jot down everything they need for each situation.
What’s the best things about travelling with kids? The enjoyment on their level is so nice to be a part of. And it’s a great learning experience to travel with kids. Because they are so inquisitive you discover so much more about places and cultures.
Where are your fave destinations for the under-five set? I am a huge fan of Disneyland and of course so are our kids. We’ve been to the Paris, Hong Kong and LA ones. They really do family entertainment so well, right down to the perfect queuing system.
San Fransisco was a great trip for us. It’s such a family-friendly place and so easy to get around.
Asia is great for kids because it’s a completely different culture but so welcoming of children.
What are your fave picks on ickle Kids at the moment?
Hide & Seek Pirates is a great brain teaser that kids can play themselves during travel and then can be played with the whole family at the other end.
Sticker Playscences which have reusable stickers are great for in the car.
Pull the String is a threading/drawing game that is so much fun for kids three and up to take anywhere. It's a good one to have in your handbag while you wait for appointments.
Laine has loads more travel tips on her site and is only too happy for people to email her with specific questions. If you are planning an Easter family getaway head over for a little looksee now.