Off to Disneyland with the kids? Or are you more the safari type? Family holidays abroad can be very rewarding – and, probably, what most of us look forward to throughout the year. To reap the rewards of an exciting family adventure or a relaxing getaway, though, you need to plan well in advance, especially if you’re travelling with young children. Here are some of our top tips to help you plan your next family holiday.
Crafting the Master Plan
Our mantra when it comes to family holidays is to book as much as possible in advance. If you put in the time before you set off, you won’t have to stress about your itinerary and the journey while you are travelling.
If your holiday involves a car journey, sort your parking as soon as possible, as popular spots, for example at airports, tend to go quite quickly. On websites like www.looking4parking.com you can compare different parking options at your airports to find the best deal. Booking in advance can also save you some holiday pocket money, as well as the hassle of driving around trying to find an appropriate parking space (and we all know how easily the young ones can get agitated in the car!).
Booking your flights to your destination is a given, but make sure you also get any other transfer tickets you may need well in advance. Whether you are travelling by train or simply need a bus connection to the airport, pre-booking your tickets helps you plan your schedule more efficiently, which can prove really important when travelling as a family. Depending on your budget, it might be worth buying open return type tickets, so you won’t have to worry about any delays or sudden changes in your plans.
On the Road: How to Stay on Top of Things
While you might know exactly what you want to pack for your destination, don’t forget to pack some extra clothing for your journey there and back, especially if it’s a long one. Even if you are travelling towards a warmer climate, always have a jumper or additional layer for each member of the family with you. We all know how prone kids are to accidents with food or drinks, plus temperatures can vary greatly between home, the airport, and your destination, so be prepared to protect your little ones from catching a cold.
When dressing for the journey, bear in mind that security checks can be quite thorough. So, make sure you all wear shoes that can be easily taken off to speed up the process. Try not to wear metal accessories on your travel day, if possible, to avoid unnecessary checks. Also check the airport’s website before getting there – some airports allow families with young children to use the priority security lane.
Last but not least, when packing your hand luggage keep your little ones’ toys or tablet at a place that’s easily accessible. Queueing or being on a plane for hours can be very dull for children so keeping them entertained is crucial. Put a smile on their face by giving them their favourite toy/book/game without having to unpack the whole bag every time.
Holiday is Prime Family Time
Although planning is essential, it is important to make your daily schedule as flexible as possible. Use resources like https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk to prepare a few activities for each day (like museums, parks, local attractions). Don’t neglect to look into what free activities you can include in your schedule, too!
We all know that everything takes a little longer with children (even if we hope it will be different this time), so having an activities list that can easily be adapted can give you inspiration without limiting you, if you need to change your plans entirely when the time comes.
Travelling with your family is about getting to spend quality time together and experiencing something new. However, it’s still important to maintain some of the children’s routine during your holiday, so they can adjust to the new environment more easily, be it their favourite bedtime story or their regular meal times.
Making the most of your holiday with your children is not about running from one place to another in an attempt to see absolutely everything. It’s about experiencing your destination with your family and spending time together. Your children might not remember all the sightseeing spots you took them to when they’ve grown up, but they will still remember the amazing feeling of going on a family adventure together. To sum up – plan well, stay flexible and enjoy every second of it!
What’s your best tip for family travel planning? Where are you going this year with your family? What’s your dream trip?