We all know the stress of planning for a family holiday; what with choosing the destination that is right for everybody (including children), buying plane tickets and reserving the right accommodation early so as to avoid the high prices of the tourist seasons, and preparing your (and the kid’s) luggage, it can be overwhelming for anybody. Add to this financial considerations- and the priority of planning a fixed budget for a trip that will allow you to see all the places you and every member in the family have chosen for your holiday—and things start getting really stressful.
So, for the occasion, here are some suggestions that may help you plan your trip more effectively and make sure everyone comes home with memories that last a lifetime.
The first thing is choosing your destination; this is the crucial part of the whole operation and everybody must be involved in the decision. Of course, if you have young children or toddlers then they will surely go along with any decision the adults make- as is often the case—so that takes care of that problem. For older children or teenagers the situation is different: they expect to have a voice in the family decision, so that is one consideration that should be respected, because after all it’s supposed to be a holiday for everybody involved. The choice of the location remains the issue: is it going to be too hot or too cold, and what clothes should you bring? Worse still, what to bring for the children to keep them cool during a summer day and warmer during those breezy summer nights (which can be cold depending on the location)? Another question you should resolve is do you wish to travel overseas or stay close to home (in which case your pockets will not suffer as much), maybe go for a road trip to the country or the beach?
Choosing a familiar location you know and have visited in advance (or researched thoroughly online) is a great idea to get acquainted with the activities and events that are available in the area for kids and adults. Or you can hit your favourite online search engine and look for specific answers to your questions, for example, are there fun activities or play areas available at the hotel, or is the accommodation pet-friendly if you intend to bring your pet along (which is another sure way of keeping your kids entertained and the whole family happy without having to leave your furry family member behind in the care of strangers). Reading the reviews of other users is always the best way to find out about the cost of living and for local activities if you are travelling overseas, and that will help immensely reduce your budget.
How do you keep your kids entertained during the flight/road trip? Puzzles, comic books, game apps and word association games are always popular, and word games especially help relieve the stress of travel for the whole family. If you need to you can always ask the hostess or the airline if they have any games for kids. Security is also important, so keeping your hand luggage to a manageable amount will make it easier to keep an eye on the kids and prevent them from wandering off. If you take your pet along, make sure to consult with your veterinarian for any needed vaccinations, and especially research the right carrier, a company which specialises in travelling with pets as they will be able to provide you with everything you need to know and do to ship dogs to your holiday destination safely and comfortably.
Feed your kids regularly. Let them eat when they want to especially during the trip or waiting in line at museums because their blood sugar level drops quickly as we know, and so make sure you always have a snack available to keep them from going into a frenzy! Experience is also key here; holidays are a great opportunity to introduce your kids to new things, which they will appreciate despite their repeated refusals. Take them on a hot air balloon trip over the French countryside of Auvergne for example, or to an adventure park in Sicily, perhaps that one spectacular day will be one they remember forever.
Lastly, enjoy the trip and your time there. If you do not have time for everything or get tired from all the sight-seeing, then take a break and relax (that’s what holidays are for), and accept the fact that you may not be able to see everything you planned, but what you did will be rewarding enough.
Written in collaboration with Mary J