How to Make Travelling With Young Kids a Happy Adventure

The lovely Amanda Kendle is taking over Style for a Happy Home today to talk about travelling with young kids. Please make her feel welcome! x

When I was pregnant with my son four years ago I was so determined that I would still be able to travel a reasonable amount, and travel happily and not stressfully. I didn’t mention this to many people, because when I did people would immediately start telling me all these tales of woe about how you can’t take young kids on long haul flights or share horror stories of friends who took babies on trips to different time zones and it messed up their sleep patterns for months and all this other negativity. I decided it was better not to listen.

How to Make Travelling With Young Kids a Happy Adventure on Style for a Happy Home

Instead, I booked his first flight months before he was born (I had to ring back later with a name and birthdate!) and got his passport when he was four weeks old. We have been using it ever since, and I have figured out some of the secrets for making travelling with kids a great adventure for everyone involved:

  • Expect them to love travel. Talk to your kids about travel as though it’s a normal part of life and then, just like going to swimming lessons or visiting grandma, they will think travelling now and again is simply expected and nothing to worry about.
  • Help your kids learn to entertain themsleves with whatever is available at that moment – which is not always flashing and beeping toys. I was a bit of a stickler for “no noisy toys” when my son was really young and I think it paid off! On our last trip to Penang (aged three and a half) he put in a request for some colourful paper, scissors and sticky tape, and he turned out hotel room into a race track. (It was tricky tidying it up for housekeeping to clean our room, but worth it for the hours it occupied him!)
  • Keep a balance of kid-focused activities and “normal” travel activities in your day, and find a way to turn them all into stuff your child will enjoy. I wasn’t sure my son would be that enthralled with visiting a bunch of temples in Malaysia but we talked a lot about the colourful buildings and all the different styles and he was always keen to go to more. In Ireland last year, we spent hours walking the countryside looking for new animals to talk to.
  • Let go of the reigns a bit to make travelling fun for everyone. I’m a bit mean about screen time but when we’re travelling, my son is welcome to the iPad; I’m also less fussy about the food he eats and the time he gets to bed, and because we’re all in holiday mode and don’t have to fit to a school or work timetable, it really doesn’t matter, and because we’ve travelled regularly enough he knows that the rules go back to normal as soon as we get home.

Of course, this is just my experience with my son, and it is definitely easier with one than more, but I still think that a lot of parents talk themselves out of travelling with their kids and really miss out on some great adventures, and building some brilliant family memories. Be brave and go adventuring – you can do it!

Amanda Kendle is a travel addict, blogger, social media consultant and parent to one travel-loving four-year-old son. She has blogged about the benefits of travel at NotABallerina.com for almost a decade and has recently taken her interest in reverse culture shock a step further by starting the site FixReverseCultureShock.com to help people fit back into their home countries after spending time abroad.

Pinterest Saturdays: 6 Cool Tea Towel Gifts for Adventurers

Hello! Happy Saturday! This week I’m still following the Adventures theme but I’ve been thinking a little differently. These great Pinterest finds are all tea towel gifts you could buy an adventurer friend or treat yourself to, from the places you’ve visited. Tea towels make for great wall hangings as well as their practical application!

Pinterest Saturdays: 6 Cool Tea Towel Gifts for Adventurers on Style for a Happy Home

  1. Berlin This is a very cool design! I love that it’s not too touristy but very fun! Get the Tea Towel HerePin It Here
  2. New Zealand This is another beautifully designed tea towel and would look great framed too! Get the Tea Towel HerePin It Here
  3. Sydney This one is great for picking out all the landmarks and would be fun to have in a kids room on the wall Get the Tea Towel HerePin It Here
  4. London This town is known for it’s gifts, and this one doesn’t disappoint! Get the Tea Towel HerePin It Here
  5. Paris I love that this one is a bit more subtle, but still really lovely! (and handmade too) Get the Tea Towel HerePin It Here
  6. New Mexico This one is a little left of field, but would be great for lovers of New Mexico Get the Tea Towel HerePin It Here

Do you collect tea towels when you travel? I collect postcards, but am thinking of adding something like this!

You can follow my Oh the Places You’ll Go Pinterest Board and my Travel Pinterest Board for more inspiration! And you can also follow me here, if you’d like!

Mini Makeover: Make Your Own Polka Dot Travel Tin

One of the things I like so much about adventures, both close to home and far away, are the little things we collect along the way. They may not be fancy or expensive. But they do hold a little place in our hearts that remind us of a day or an adventure and allow all the great memories to come flooding back, right when we need them to. I thought it would be fun have somewhere to keep those little things we collect on our travels. Today’s mini makeover is a repurposed tin that would be perfect for that!

Mini Makeover: Make Your Own Polka Dot Travel Tin (before) on Style for a Happy Home

What you’ll need:

  • Old Tin This was given to me from a cousin who no longer wanted it. It’s a great size for a travel tin!
  • Spray Paint in two colours I chose Satin White and Gloss Cherry Red from Bunnings ($7.95 each) for this project
  • (Removable) Sticky Dots We’ve had these forever so I’m not sure their price, but they are 14mm removable labels
  • Drop Sheet for over spray

How To:

  1. Wipe down the metal tin and make sure it’s free of dust or oils
  2. Prepare your spray paint by following the instructions on the can – for these it’s shake the can for 1 minute to charge it up
  3. Prepare your spraying area by putting down a drop sheet and make sure you’re wearing clothing that you don’t mind getting covered in paint or wear a painter’s suit. Also consider gloves for this as I have bright red paint stains on my hands (classy ;)) For this I added a large piece of cardboard over a wheelie bin so that the tin was at arm level and I didn’t have to hurt my back spraying the sides
  4. Take the tin and place it on your drop sheet. Get the White (the colour that will become the polka dots) and start spraying from what feels like a little too far away and move in until you get a reasonable spray. Try not to go in too close as you will get pressure spray marks. Lots of sweeping short sprays are better than one big one
  5. Go around all 4 sides until the tin underneath is no longer visible, and then cover the top.
  6. Leave to dry. For this one you will need to leave it to dry completely, not just to the touch dry stage (Check the times for both of these before buying the can if you can). This was a 1 hour complete dry, though as the weather was a little chilly, it took about 15 minutes longer.
  7. If there are any major bits of the tin underneath showing you will need to spray again and leave for the complete dry time again. Try not to get impatient with this process. I did and ended up making twice as much work for myself when I got finger prints in the paint.
  8. Optional step: If it’s for a gift or you just like it to be completely covered, you can also spray the tin underneath. (If you do, make sure that the top is completely dry first or you will need to repaint it where it stuck to the drop sheet whilst you were spraying the base.) This will need to be completely dry before you turn it back up the correct way.
  9. Once it’s completely dry and you’re happy with it, now take the sticky dots and add them in a pattern (I chose a haphazard ‘pattern’) over the top and across the sides of the tin where your white paint will show through. If you have any imperfections in the white paint layer put your polka dots around them so the red layer will cover them
  10. Press down the dots once more to make sure they’re secure, and now start spraying with the Red (outer layer) spray paint. As in step 4, start a little too far out and move in until you get an even spray. Don’t go too close or the spray will run and it will make you sad and annoyed (yep, I got impatient and went in too close, even I need reminding sometimes). Spray the sides and the top until completely covered. Once you’re happy with the coverage, leave to dry completely.
  11. Check it over. If it doesn’t need any touch ups and is completely dry, you can start to carefully peel off the sticky dots. There may be a little bit of paint chipping if it’s not completely dry, so I recommend going slowly. If you need to you could use some needle-nose tweezers, but be careful not to scratch the paint surface with them.
  12. Once they are all peeled off you should have your finished polka dot travel tin! Now you can add some travel trinkets to it or gift it as a gift!

Mini Makeover: Make Your Own Polka Dot Travel Tin After on Style for a Happy Home

Thoughts on the project:

This was a little trickier than any spray paint project that I’ve undertaken before (my first with two colours). It takes more time and more patience than the others, so it’s not one to try whilst in a rush. You could do this as an activity with school aged children, though I would use brushes and tin paint rather than spray paint. The tin will need an enamel paint, so a CFC free non-chroming enamel would be better. Enamel is a bit stinky too, so it would be better in a well ventilated room or outdoors.

I enjoyed making this and I loved how it turned out. I do need to remind myself not to get impatient and spray too close to the tin, but sometimes it still gets me and I make the mistake. I love having the little imperfections that remind me that it’s been lovingly made, but it would be nice to not leave fingerprints in the paint because I momentarily forgot it was wet!! haha

The tin could be used for anything, but I do love having a special place to keep trinkets and other things that are travel related and this would look great on a shelf as a memory box too. Next week I’ll show you another cool way to use a tin like this.

Do you have travel tins? Would you like to try your hand at this one?

If you do try this, I’d love to see a photo or hear about how it went! Tweet me your pics at: @danniellecresp or instagram me at: @dannielle with the hashtag: #styleforahappyhome

P.S. This weekend I’m having an adventure of a different kind – I’m running my first race of the year the 15km run 4 the kids! That runs right through the heart of Melbourne and across the Bolte Bridge!! Eep! Wish me luck, I think I’m going to need it! x