Wow – where do I start?! It can be exciting, daunting and a whole lot of fun, or a whole lot of stress, but it needn’t be, as having been a travel agent for over 15 years and now a mother of 3, I have become the go-to for family travel putting many a parent fears at ease.

It’s all in the planning and being realistic in what you want and what you are comfortable with, and understanding how you travelled prior to having children may not necessarily work now – and learning to be ok with that!

First are the flights, how long are you willing to endure, how old are your children and how will they handle a flight???  Are you going to be the passenger with the screaming child that won’t sit still and terrorising the flight, or do you have children that are up for the adventure and excited for the journey?  As we all know too well children can be unpredictable, especially when they are in new environments.

So, tips you ask, give me some tips!!!

  • For long haul go the night flights. They are great with children, especially if they are a reasonably good sleeper as there is a good amount of sleeping that can be done. Throw them in their PJ’s and make it an enjoyable prospect of “Guess what, we get to sleep on a plane tonight!”
  • Always try and time flights around check in and check out times, or hotels that offer late checkout, as it limits the waiting around time carting luggage with tired and cranky children.
  • If you have a long haul day flight, take along low sugar snacks, snacks and more snacks and be armed with things for them to do – activity books, colouring books, reading books, devices loaded up, mini board games… anything that will limit them saying “Are we there yet?” (something you don’t want to hear 1 hour into a 14 hour flight!)

Family holidays are like anything in a child’s life, there are stages and growing pains and each holiday will be different depending on age.  When we are first parents, its like get me to an island with the shortest travel time, taking the grandparents with you or hiring a nanny so you can sit by the pool, cocktail in hand and recover from the shock of becoming a parent.

Then as we become more confident as a parent and as our children grow the world opens a bit more and the adventure becomes bigger, the destinations become more interesting, the journey longer and before you know it you have become a travelling with kids pro and a multi stop Europe itinerary with planes, trains, boats and automobiles is there for the taking!

Till next time my fellow travellers…

Colleen Tukino

Colleen Tukino  

I had a very active childhood on the Gold Coast, chasing after my two older siblings, entrenched in the surfing and Surf Life Saving community - I even represented the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia on a number of occasions! While I spent my younger years sharing the local and world stage with other well-known Gold Coast athletes, travelling and competing locally and abroad, I turned to my love of travel after retirement and became a travel agent with Flight Centre. I had to learn from the ground up. Obviously, I caught the travel bug, and while travelling through Europe I came across the picturesque town of Lugano, Switzerland, where I ended up living, working and travelling for 18 months as a nanny for three beautiful children. I eventually returned and met my husband Hoani (John), and we’ve done a LOT of travelling during our 14 years of marriage. We settled (briefly) in Melbourne where our first child Minka (now 10) was born, finally returning home to our beloved Gold Coast to have Koa & Jack (now aged 5 & 2). When I am not conjuring up new travel adventures, you'll find me hanging out with the family at our favourite (and our local) beach, Currumbin.