Feeding Kids Abroad
Travelling with children can be fun. There is no one more excited to explore new places than a child, and few things more pleasurable than watching one’s children jump into a pool, ride a plastic, inflatable crocodile, or play hide-and-seek with their new holiday friends.
But finding appropriate accommodation with all-inclusive, child-friendly food options in locations like Asia, the Caribbean etc. can be a bit of a worry. Some children are fussy eaters, and when they are faced with an array of unfamiliar foods on a journey abroad, parents should be prepared for a range of reactions: anything from delight (discovering deep fried calamari or exciting new ice cream flavors) to disgust, and even upset tummies. Here are a few useful tips:
Child-friendly hotels – if available at your chosen destination – should be one of your first choices when travelling with children. totstoo.com is a site dedicated to searching for hotels with family orientated amenities, such as crèches, kids’ pools (where no one minds getting splashed!), and catering facilities, throughout Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, Africa, and the Middle East.
A key tool in keeping your small travellers fed and happy is restaurants that offer a buffet. These are great for several reasons: buffets usually offer a wide range ‘international’ food options, which means that – wherever you hail from – your children should be able to select something that looks familiar to them. Moreover, buffet restaurants do not tend to have fixed seating arrangements for their guests, so kids can sit with new found friends at dinner – giving you a well-earned break!
Cruises are in many ways the perfect option for family holidays. Child-centered, supervised activities and amenities like pools, crèches, and restaurants, can be paired with parent-pleasing day trips and relaxation. Asian and Caribbean cruise lines are especially attractive in this regard, as they offer a safe, yet mobile haven from worries about poor hygiene or suspect food.
Fail-safe & Emergency Foods
The very best of these is fruit! Hotel buffets usually include an array of different fruit, ranging from apples and bananas to cactus fruit, and restaurant staff – more often than not – allows parents to take pieces away for later. There’s nothing more useful than a saved buffet banana or (washed!) apple, produced later to satisfy those pre-lunch, pool-side cravings.
Travellers with very small or especially fussy children might also consider bringing food from home. Sites like so-baby.co.uk offer travel food packages. You might also think about bringing staples like porridge and pasta to provide lunch alternatives. For absolute emergencies (i.e. having run out of baby formula), tinytotsaway.com offers baby- and child-friendly food deliveries to hotels abroad.
Foods to Avoid
This is actually a lot less worrisome than you might expect: food poisoning caused by hotel or restaurant food is extremely rare, and most children are unlikely, anyway, to want to try the seafood or extremely spicy dishes that could – in large quantities – be difficult for their stomachs to digest.
Hand luggage essentials
The most important of these is also the most obvious: hand wipes. Whether you’re planning to eat crepes in town or an ice cream on the beach, making sure that your children’s hands are clean beforehand will eliminate many of the most common causes for upset stomachs. In terms of travel medicines, you may want to pack indigestion tablets (to alleviate acid reflux) and a small supply of child-appropriate painkillers. Bottles of water or juice and, of course, a packet of biscuits can also be handy, since children should be kept hydrated when out in the sun, and beach-based fun means they will probably work up quite an appetite too!