The family holiday can either elicit feelings of joy and excitement, or they can muster up fear and anxiety. However, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy your next family holiday, or at least increase the chances. Plan carefully, ensure you have everything you need, and consider involving the kids in the planning and preparation stages.
The family holiday represents a great way for adults to relax and unwind after working hard for months at a time. They also allow you time to connect with the kids, which can be especially important for the working parent that only gets home as the kids are being put to bed. It can be challenging to find an activity and location that all members of the family will enjoy, but the rewards are potentially great. With careful planning, you will be excited about your next family adventure, rather than dreading the time away from home.
1. Choose An Appropriate Location
You might want to spend your holiday being pampered with spa treatments, and relaxing by the pool, but will this type of holiday keep the children entertained? On the other hand, you don’t want to be stuck at a holiday park designed primarily for kids. Find a balance so that there is always something for the kids to do, and opportunity for you to plan excursions, eat out, or do whatever you enjoy during your holidays.
Similarly, long haul flights are possible with kids, but they will take careful planning to make sure that they have something to do. It will take them some time to recover from a long flight, so if you are only going away for a short time, think twice about a 12 hour flight.
2. Encourage The Kids To Help With Planning
The more the children help with planning, the more excited they will be about the holiday. Get the kids involved, give them some options of where they might go, and research locations as a family. Not only could this help ensure that you have a more enjoyable holiday, but it may also ignite a desire to travel in young ones.
Find events, locations, and attractions that are close to the area you’re going to stay. Ask the kids if they want to visit any of these.
3. Pack Basic First Aid Provisions
Whether you’re travelling to the wilds of the Lake District or half way across the world, injuries are a very real possibility, and they always seem to happen in the middle of the night, when pharmacies are closed, and in a location where it is seemingly impossible to get to a town or village that has provisions. Pack a first aid kit, include plasters because they have amazing restorative and healing powers when applied to a child’s injury. Add sterile wipes, antihistamines, and pain-killers.
Don’t just assume that last year’s first aid kit will be enough; unpack it, check dates, make sure there are plasters left in the box, and buy any extra items you need.
4. Let Kids Pack A Small Bag For Themselves
It might seem like a bad idea to let the kids loose packing bags and choosing their own clothes, but you can allow them to choose some of their own things. If you’re flying to your destination, you could let them pack their own hand luggage with games, books, and toys, although you should obviously monitor exactly what they’re choosing and what is going in the bag. Make sure they have their favourite toy, or it could become a major gripe throughout the holiday and cost you plenty in replacements.
5. Get Passports In Plenty Of Time
There are a lot of rules surrounding passport photos, and if you’re travelling abroad, you will need to make sure that everybody has an up to date passport. Gone are the days of including children on their parents’ passports. You will need to apply for a separate passport for every child.
Start planning early, because you will need to get photos taken and signed, forms sent off, and may have to wait several weeks to get the passport back. Locate everybody’s passports and place them somewhere safe and memorable.
6. Take Photos And Copies Of Documents
As well as your passports, you should get all your travel documents ready and prepared. As well as keeping them somewhere safe, and planning to have them readily available and on hand when you need them, take photos of them on your mobile and take your mobile on holiday with you. You can also give a copy of them to a friend or family member.
If you plan on renting a car, be aware of the rules before you travel, and get your driving licence code so that you aren’t refuse the rental when you land.
Also remember that you might need adoption papers and even birth certificates. If you are taking a friend to accompany your child, you may need to prove that you have parental consent for the child to travel, so check the rules in the country you are holidaying.
7. Make Sure You Have Travel Entertainment
The excitement will likely reach fever pitch on the day you travel. Even a short flight, or the drive (especially in terrible weather) to your hotel can seem like an eternity with excited kids in tow. If you are travelling in the car, a portable DVD player could be worth every penny it costs. Not only will this keep the kids entertained while you travel to your hotel, it will prove useful on any journey that takes longer than a few minutes.
If you let the kids pack their own entertainment, consider the length of the journey and make sure that the toys they pack will actually entertain them. Will their favourite doll really keep them entertained for 10 hours?
8. Make Sure There’s Options For Rainy Days
It is always a good idea to have an itinerary. You don’t have to stick rigorously to your daily plan, but an itinerary lets you plan something for every day. Always have some alternatives ready. If you’re planning a day on the beach, or down by the lake, have a backup plan, just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Look for local indoor play centres, or amusement parks, or educational visits to museums and science centres; attractions that are indoors and dry, but that will still keep the kids entertained. If you think bad weather can ruin a day, it is nothing compared to bored and expectant children.