Travelling with the family is a pastime we have all enjoyed as children, and so it’s natural that we want to recreate this magic when it comes to raising our own family. What you might not remember from those rosy memories is all the planning that went on in the background, as any parent will tell you that these trips don’t just happen on their own. If you want an unforgettable big trip away with your family, then listen up because we have the tips and tricks that will get you prepared for a picture-perfect holiday.
When planning a family trip, not only does booking your flights and accommodation ahead of time save you money, but it’s also going to save you the stress and headache that can come from planning a holiday. If you have a preferred airline provider and accommodation option, you can sign up to their email newsletter and book your holiday when they are on sale. If your destination is a popular one that’s close to campsites, it might also be worth buying attraction passes to avoid disappointment and give your holiday some structure with some days accounted for.
Another great tip is to involve your little ones in the planning, as they will be more engaged in the holiday and it’s a great opportunity to teach them about research, forward-thinking and even geography and logistics. You could even set them a task like finding the best hiking trails. You can even dedicate a day to each sibling and can find restaurants and tourist spots that will speak to their unique personality, as these are the moments that are cherished and recreated for generations to come.
Consider the size of your party
Whether it’s one week or one month – a family holiday can at times feel like an eternity! This is where intermediates can be a great addition to your family holiday, dropping in from time to time or meeting up with others frequently. If you have some family friends with kids the same age, it might be worth teeing up a central holiday destination so that you can enjoy each other’s company (kids and parents). You might also want to invite grandma and grandad along, or some school friends to join you for a few nights. Be careful to make sure that these cameo appearances don’t happen throughout the whole holiday – as you never know how these social dynamics might exclude your youngest, eldest or even middle child who might be left without a buddy. These fresh faces will really transform a holiday, and will make it feel even longer… in a good way!
Think about your mode of travel
What’s driving your choice of transport? It could be price, time or convenience – or perhaps you just hadn’t thought to consider any alternatives. A family trip will be a lot of fun if your mode of transport becomes part of the novelty. Sure, you could easily choose an airline provider for your destination, but you might miss out on stopping at those roadside cafes and local tourist spots and some great photo opportunities. You could also use a few different transport methods, like using a bus carrier to get to a central spot where you pick up your rental car or jump on a barge or cruise. Your kids will appreciate this added layer of exploring, and these options are always more affordable than the most direct route so your wallet can also enjoy this one.
If you plan on travelling with your dog you will need to adjust your mode of transport to accommodate this family member. Another consideration is if you haven’t identified any of your family members to have motion sickness, hopefully, you have the same findings on the other side of the journey.
Prepare for the downtime
You won’t be on the go every minute of every day, as it’s a holiday after all. What you want to be prepared for is the downtime that will come after a big morning or even day of adventures. We all need to recharge our physical and social energy so pack a container of colouring books, crochet, novels and anything that will allow each of you to plug into a task and get some rest time. You might also want to bring some movies along too so that you can all enjoy these moments together, but be wise in choosing what devices come on holidays with you as you want to unplug and get back to basics throughout the holiday. If you are light on space, then simply bring a laptop or iPad so that you can fire up Netflix or your streaming service of choice, as this will save you bringing and losing DVDs, the inevitable holiday casualty.
If you want to get really clever, you could even find some movies that were filmed or based on the area you are travelling to. This will really get the little ones engaging with their surroundings when they are trying to figure out what was filmed where, and it’s a great opportunity to act out those scenes again!
Head to the doctor first
This might not be the most exciting part of your holiday preparations, but it’s the most responsible and might get you out of a bind or two. A quick visit to the doctor will ensure that everyone is up to date on their shots and that any cough or itch is inspected and cleared. After all, who likes getting sick on holiday? If you are headed to a bright and sunny holiday destination, it might also be an idea to get any dark spots and freckles looked at by your dermatologists, as you want to be practising sun safety and not exacerbate anything that could be more sinister down the track. Also, take the time to ask your doctor what sort of first aid kit you should be pulling together for your trip, and the more information you can give them about where you are going and what you are doing will allow them to give better advice.
The most important part of any family holiday? Having fun! This is the chance for the whole family to really enjoy the close company and get back to exploring and relaxing – without a chore quarrel in sight! Be sure to bring some disposable cameras along too so that you can give one each to your children and allow them to document the big family trip in their own eyes.