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Let’s face it, planning a family holiday is a bit of a headache. Holidays are meant to be fun and relaxing, and they are, once you’ve arrived at your destination! There are a range of stresses that come with planning a family holiday, from picking holiday activities to packing, taking away any pre-holiday excitement. In light of this, we have pulled together some tips to help make your planning process that little bit easier.
Involve the kids and ask them to pick a/various destinations they want to go to (include a price limit or you may end up disappointing them when you say no to a luxury Caribbean holiday). Challenge them to do a presentation convincing you why the family holiday should be at their chosen destination/s. This helps teach the kids organisation and planning techniques while getting them excited about the holiday (and saving you arguments and research time).
Sit down and have a chat with your kids about where you are going, including maps and possible activities to make the trip into an adventure (more suited for those with younger children). This can cut down on the amount of tantrums between home and your destination, and it gives them time to settle into the holiday idea as a whole.
Wherever you decide to go, establish a separation back-up plan (buddy system, walkie-talkies, meeting points etc) with the kids early on. This way they know exactly what to do if they get separated from you and you can keep reviewing the plan before the holiday so they won’t forget!
Try not to fit too many activities into the plan - things take longer with children and if you’ve packed too much in, you won’t have time to relax and enjoy. One way to plan the activities is to have each family member choose something to do, and then everyone has to join in with a smile regardless of the activity(including parents). This ensures that there aren’t too many planned stops and everyone gets to do an activity of their choice.
Check the weather forecast, and then have rainy day back-ups planned anyway.
Invest in some cheap outdoor kit (rounders & cricket bats, beach toys, badminton etc), especially if you’re road tripping in the UK.
Number one tip this summer: Break-in the kiddies’ summer footwear before you go on holiday so there are no blisters or tears.
No one really likes to pack and it always falls to parents to pack up the entire family (you are the adults). However, you can actually use packing as the perfect opportunity to teach some life lessons.
Ask your kids to pick outfits they want to take and put them on their beds. If there are too many items, work with them to cut down the amount of clothes and then when the contents content is ready, show them optimal packing techniques. If you do this for a few holidays, before long, they will be packing on their own and all you have to do is check they have everything. Essentially, you are teaching them two skills in one, how to pack and how to travel light!
If you’re going abroad, don’t forget to check passports and travel documents are up-to-date (E111 etc) - try this acronym – PMMMT – Passport, Money, Medicine, Maps, Tickets
Organise all your documents, flights, and bookings with the Tripit app. Any emails you receive that confirm bookings or journeys, Tripit will automatically pull that information into an easy-to-read itinerary with all the legs of your journey. It means you don’t have to think about bringing everything together and all the essential information you need is one place rather than spread across a collection of emails. For further useful travel apps, take a look at our post Home or Away: Top Ten Apps.
Pack a camera to make a scrapbook for the family, or go digital and do a video diary of the trip!
Holiday entertainment is key when travelling as a family, a bored child is an unhappy one! Here are a few travel activity ideas:
- Audiobooks for the car/plane
- Travel goodie bag - you can make it an exciting treat and include books, puzzles, activities, sweets (or healthy snacks) and pens.
- Holiday music playlist created by the whole family
- Portable DVD player and DVDs
- Pack of Cards – simple but effective
- Travel versions of your favourite board games
Don’t forget: Essentials
There is always something that will get left behind, below is a list of the most common forgotten items.
- Sun Cream
- Babywipes - useful for practically everything, from sanitizing surfaces to cleaning grubby hands.
- First Aid Kit
- Passports (if needed)
- Medications (including Calpol)
- Adaptors (if needed)
- Bug repellent
- Phone Charger
- Glasses (if you need them)