Those special family experiences that pull on a heartstring not only influence your future travel decisions, but also show you how travel can enhance a child’s development and understanding of the world.

By Michelle Hespe

Oh, the long-haul flight. Most of don’t look forward to them, and when they’re tackled with children, they can hurt. However it can be the smallest of things that stewards do on planes to help parents in distress, that create lifelong memories and feelings of gratitude for strangers.

“We were flying from Vancouver to Honolulu and had not prepared for travelling with little ones. We were actually terribly unprepared,” says TWK specialist travel agent Adela Backhouse. “We were down to our very last nappy with a nine-month-old child, that’s how bad it was. Luckily, we were on board an Air Canada flight with amazing staff, and they did everything they could to help us, including giving us a spare nappy! From that experience, I learnt the hard way — pack the baby’s or kids’ bags, and then double what you put in there. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. When it comes to adults, pack the bag and then halve it — you’ll be much better off. Less, is more, for adults.”

On the flip-side (and on a more merry note) travel is something that can bring so much joy to people’s lives. Adela was recently on a famil with a group of other travel agents, where she was fortunate enough to experience one of those moments that could easily have been turned into a small film. And even though she might have been squirmish, there was no turning back when she was asked to jump into a lake in Palau, in the Micronesian islands, with thousands, if not millions, of jellyfish.

“It’s called Jellyfish Lake, and I was quite afraid at first, of swimming with them, but I jumped in with everyone,” says Adela. “The light shining through them was amazing and yes, they felt like jelly, but it was kind of peaceful, swimming amongst them. It was one of those experiences that you should have, if you get the chance. I can imagine that children would love it.”

Moving on to more cool climates, Adela is a big fan of Canada. That’s no surprise as she lived in Montreal before moving to Brisbane. “Montreal is wonderful for a family ski holiday, as there is so much to do with kids, such as dog-sledding, sleigh rides, ice-skating, and so much more. My favourite place is Mont Tremblant in Quebec — I’ve skied there many times. When you have kids with you, it’s best to stay somewhere where it’s ski-in, ski out. Then you don’t have to worry about all the drama of carting around ski gear.”

If you ever skied with kids, then you’ll know that they’re usually not fond of carrying boots and skis for more than a few metres! Some of the best advice from agents such as Adela, is to pack snacks when on the slopes, as sometimes it’s not easy to get a big family with tired kids, sometimes with sore limbs and bruised egos, into a busy restaurant on the slopes. It’s a load of fun, but never easy.