Ferry travel with young children

Ferry travel with young children

We love taking the caravan to France and that involves getting the ferry. This Summer will be the fourth time we have done the journey. We have done it with the children at all different stages this time we will have a 4 year old and 10 year old to entertain which I am hoping will be easier than the toddler stage when she just wanted to keep moving all the time.

Without a doubt the worst journey we had was getting caught in delays near Dover. Stuck for hours and hours I had never been so happy to actually get onto the ferry. Any snacks, dvds, games that I had put by for the ferry crossing had long been eaten or played with before setting foot on the ferry but we were so relieved to be out of the car that it didn’t matter.

I have put a list of tips together for travelling on ferry’s, this covers some of the main tips that should help.

  1. Consider a overnight ferry. Depending on the age of the children this can work really well. No issues with keeping the children entertained as they will or should be asleep.
  2. Book a cabin. I never saw the point in doing this until we got talking to a couple on one ferry crossing who had done it. They took it in turns sleeping, I was so envious of them having the quite private space whilst we took it In turns to visit the dreaded soft play area.
  3. iPads, tablets, DVD players or any other device you don’t mind putting on for the children. This is generally my last option but when you have walked the ferry 10 times, and covered all the other entertainment it’s good to have to give yourself a break.
  4. Remember once you have left the car you can’t go back to it so take everything you should need including a coat or something warm for taking a stroll on the deck and if you have a baby that may need it a stroller or carrier.
  5. The food on the ferry in my opinion is not over priced and it’s a good quality. We have only ever used Brittany and never had any issues but it is always worth throwing some extra snacks and drinks into a bag.
  6. The cinema is on board and can obviously kill the time but it is expensive. I guess it depends on how you feel you can manage your time without making use of it. We used it the once and in some ways I missed the extra time we had to wander around and check out what else was going on.
  7. Split up the time. Don’t rush around to quickly. Take time for eg to have a look around the shops then sit and look out of the window’s and just chat before rushing straight off to another part of the boat.

We head off again in a couple of months. I will update on our ferry adventures on return. Let me know if you have any ferry travel tips too.

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