If going on holidays conjures up images of lying on the beach for hours on end, chewing through a few choice novels and drinking cocktails into the wee hours, get serious. Most parents can forget about a total switch-off holiday until the kids are well into adolescence. Instead, plan fun activities that the whole family (including adults) can enjoy. Organise some time out from the kids, with your partner, family or travelling companions, so you can indulge in a little ‘me time’. It will make you enjoy your family time together even more.
Make sure you do your homework. Research your accommodation so you know what facilities you can expect. It would be disastrous turning up to discover you are one bed short. Likewise, you don’t want to leave the porta-cot at home and find there is nothing for bubs to sleep in. If you have young children, make sure the property and grounds are suitable and that all the furnishings and appliances you need are included.
Some say travelling is about the journey, not the destination. Make your journey headache-free by packing ample books, toys, music, games and snacks to keep the kids entertained. Too much screen time is frowned upon, but iPads can be a godsend on a long road trip or flight. Think of games you can play to pass the time and keep the kids amused.
Get the kids involved in planning your holiday weeks before you depart. Let them help you research fun things you can do as a family once you arrive and the attractions and sights you can spot along the way. This way your children will be excited about the holiday and there won’t be any surprises, like discovering on arrival that they have to share a room.
There’s a fine balance between packing light and taking enough clothes to avoid doing mountains of washing while you’re away. Pack sensible items that are versatile and hard-wearing. Layers are great for variable weather conditions – the kids’ Sunday best isn’t (they are on holiday and will want to explore). Don’t forget sunscreen and insect repellent.
Stick to your Budget
It wouldn’t be a holiday if you didn’t loosen the purse strings a little, but set some rules so you don’t blow the budget. If that means capping souvenirs, or having picnics most days instead of cafe lunches then make sure your kids know the deal. If you can’t afford to do everything, take a family vote to decide what makes the itinerary. .
Research your destination so you know what services you can expect. Will you need to bring nappies, formula or other little-people paraphernalia? If you have a child prone to ear infections, is there a pharmacy or doctor nearby? And don’t forget the fun stuff… If there’s a tennis court or pool make sure you pack togs and racquets.
Be aware of your surroundings. Always keep your eye on kids by the water, watch out for unfamiliar wildlife, and keep the little ones clear of hazards. A trip to the emergency room isn’t the kind of experience that makes your holiday bucket-list. Have a great trip!