Dreaming of your next family holiday? Beyond the thrill of escaping the daily grind, there are a lot of things to consider when jetting off with kids.
Travelling with kids introduces a unique set of joys and challenges to every journey. From accommodating varying interests to planning around routines and keeping the ever-present need for snacks in mind, it’s a delicate balance that requires a bit of strategic planning.
From picking the ultimate destination to learning the art of packing like a pro, discover how to get your next family holiday off the ground.
Tip 1. Choosing the destination
Picking the perfect holiday destination can be a juggling act. Not only do you need kid-friendly activities (to prevent the tears and tantrums), but you also want to make sure the adults will have plenty to do, too.
First, you’ll need to determine whether you want to go global or keep it local. Travelling long distances in a car versus boarding a plane with your kids in tow will present very different challenges.
With your travel radius locked in, consider your interests, budget, and the ages of your kids. Then, spend time researching areas that offer an array of activity options capable of catering to everyone’s needs.
While a teenager might be raring to go for a more adventure-packed vacation, you don’t want to overwhelm any little ones with a jam-packed schedule.
It can be helpful to get the kids involved in the initial planning stages, too. Not only does this make them feel valued, but it also ignites their excitement for the journey ahead.
Tip 2. Deciding what to pack
Packing for the whole family often depends on how you’re planning to travel. Air travel comes with stringent weight limits while road trips necessitate careful consideration of space constraints.
Once the essentials like clothing, toiletries, and personal care items are in order, you can turn your attention to the extras.
When journeying with little ones, remember to bring along their comfort items to keep them settled. Don’t forget to pack a selection of toys and books to engage and entertain them throughout the trip. For younger children, consider the practicality of blackout curtains and noise machines to ensure smoother nights.
For older kids, introducing age-appropriate electronics (like wireless chargers, iPads and headphones) can be a smart move. If you have tweens in tow, anticipate potential picky eating habits by packing an assortment of snacks that can preempt tantrums.
Tip 3. Keeping kids entertained during travel
Travelling with kids can come with its challenges, but there are a few things you can do to help you prepare and make the journey a little smoother.
When travelling by car, it’s important to plan your pit stops ahead of time. Plenty of bathroom breaks where you can stretch your legs and let the kids burn off some energy will be helpful for keeping moods high when you’re back on the road.
When travelling by plane, a strategic plan may be depending on the age of your kids.
For babies, feeding them during takeoff and landing can alleviate discomfort caused by air pressure changes. It’s a soothing measure for their delicate ears. When travelling with infants, strive to maintain their routine as consistently as possible; familiarity can be comforting in an unfamiliar environment.
As for travelling with older kids, entertainment takes centre stage. Equip yourself with a device loaded with their favourite shows, and don’t forget to pack cherished books and toys. These items will keep them engaged during long flights and layovers, making the journey much more enjoyable for both them and you.
Tip 4. Selecting the right accommodation
Choosing where to stay comes with a few extra considerations when travelling with kids.
If you’re on a budget, you may want to consider renting a house or serviced apartment. This will allow you to take advantage of the kitchen, and cook your own meals instead of splurging on eating every meal out.
A larger space can be extra handy if you’re travelling with tweens and teens, as it affords the room necessary for everyone to enjoy separate activities in a secure and comfortable environment.
On the flip side, if your budget allows for a bit more indulgence, you might consider a hotel or resort stay. Seek out accommodations with enticing amenities like a kids’ club or a pool with exhilarating waterslides. These features are sure to keep your children entertained while granting you and your partner some much-needed alone time.
Tip 5. Perfecting your itinerary
Did you know that studies have shown that even the act of planning your holiday can give you a boost of happiness? Why not spread the joy, and get everyone involved?
For families with tweens or teens, involving them in the decision-making process can be incredibly empowering. Allowing them to choose activities from a list not only sparks excitement but also makes them feel like valued contributors.
Travelling with younger children calls for a different approach. It’s important to avoid overloading the itinerary, instead keep a balanced approach. The sweet spot may be dedicating half a day to planned activities while leaving the other half free. This ensures relaxation and decompression, preventing overwhelming the little ones.
The most important thing when it comes to planning an itinerary is to stay flexible. Sure, you may have put a lot of effort into it before you even got to your destination, but if something isn’t working for everyone, it’s probably best to let go of your preconceived idea of your dream vacation and focus more on family fun and bonding, wherever that may happen.
Above all, remember that a family vacation will always be full of bumps and hiccups, but these are just part of the adventure, and you’re on your way to creating memories that you will cherish forever.