When the chance came up for me to review a copy of Travelling With Children : A Parent's Guide, I was intrigued to see what nuggets of information I would uncover in its pages but was slightly worried that it would be a bit like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs ! After all, we have three children aged 9, 6 and 20-months and are well used to 8-hour drives down to the grandparents in Brittany as well as regularly jumping on the ferry across to England to see the other grandparents. We've also been to Tunisia and Turkey with the kids, last time when Pierre was just a year old. Would it all be a bit basic and patronising for us ?
I needn't have worried. The book, which is written in an easily digestible form with short paragraphs that get straight to the point and regular summaries, covers all the obvious choices like camping, package holidays and staycations, but also has options for the more adventurous travellers, such as safaris and backpacking. There are also some really interesting alternatives that I would never have thought of, such as staying in monasteries and convents, university halls of residence in the holidays or house (and car)-swapping with another family.
Most of the best pieces of advice come from people who have been there and done that and come up with solutions to real problems on the way - for example, my two pearls of wisdom are to always load up the car with a change of clothes, old towels and ziplock sandwich bags in case of travel sickness and, when in a hot country with a baby, to store the baby sling (much more practical than a pushchair if you want to go out and about gallivanting) in the hotel room fridge so that it's lovely and cooling for mum and baby when you first step out into the searing heat. The book is bursting with testimonials and comments from real parents, some of whom I recognise from websites or on twitter, so it feels like having a good gossip and advice session with well-travelled friends. Some of the advice, like emailing yourself a scan of your passport and tickets, is so obvious and sensible that I can't believe I hadn't thought of it before.
The book is a great starting place for nervous parents planning a holiday with their child for the first time who have a million question and worries fizzing around in their heads, but is also an interesting mine of information to dip into for those who have travelled many times before. It proves that there are always new tips to pick up and travel ideas to consider that you may never have thought of by yourself and is very reassuring as it quotes so many happy travellers who have lived great adventures with their little ones in tow.
The final part of the book is an informative help list full of useful websites and addresses to help you organise your trip in greater detail. All that's left is to pick a place and start creating some fab family memories together. Don't forget the sun cream !
info about the author : Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist specialising in writing about travelling with children. She has written for The Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, Practical Parenting and several airline magazines, as well as other publications. She has written about the travels with her own children, including stays in luxury hotels, trips to Butlins and camping in the UK. Catherine now lives in the South of France.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £9.99
Paperback: 100 pages
Publisher: Need2Know (1 Jan 2011)
Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 19.4 x 1 cm
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