Fighting fatigue on the road: tips for family travel

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There are moments when we travel that all we ever feel is fatigue. This post is a fabulous solution for the travelling family. Mmmmmm peppermint foot balm!

It often seems people associate having children with giving up travelling until the kids leave the nest. Some of these reasons are perfectly legitimate — too much money, too much hassle — but I find there is so much to be gained from witnessing my children discover new places.

Okay, I would agree that hungry, thirsty and tired children are truly exhausting. So it’s vitally important to take care of some of the basics before we can tap into the joy of travelling as a family. 


Kids tend to want the quick fix that sugary treats can bring, but we all know the misery and the grumpiness of the sugar low that follows is not for the faint of heart. Energy drinks that are low in sugar and high in vitamins and minerals are a great on-the-go thirst quencher, followed by a handful of nuts and dried fruit, and can carry you far. Look for granola bars that pack that health punch—dried bananas, pumpkin seeds, dates— but have the packaging that will convince your younger children it’s a sweet treat. 

We parents know that the logistics of travel can be stressful and tricky, but keeping everyone well-equipped through the long days of bus, train and underground travel will ensure you can all stay on your feet for longer. Good footwear is essential, and make sure you pack the kid’s walking shoes, as well as slip-ons for the pool. If it’s a hot destination, sandals with good grip and foot support are like gold-dust to a travelling family and mean less ‘when will we get there?’ and more ‘let’s go!’

This said, plenty of rest stops are a must. The key to successful travel with kids is to move slowly and not try to pack in multiple sights in one day. Pause and enjoy the surroundings with your kids and encourage them to keep a travel journal, so they get the most out of the experience, too. I know I’m much more likely to remain calm if I factor in extra time for wandering, exploring and finding the nearest toilet!

At the end of a long day of roaming streets with weather worn maps tucked in back pockets, it is the little comforts that allow us to reflect with fondness on the day we just shared. My personal favourite is a shower followed by peppermint foot balm. There is nothing quite like tingling, relaxed feet and the sense of accomplishment that comes from being a member in a family who is exploring the world together.

Wendy Ames is a freelance journalist who’s carted her own family from Australia to more than five countries including Thailand. No-one is showing signs of homesickness (yet).

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