Heading off on the annual family holiday doesnt have to be stressful or cause anxiety about always keeping the kids entertained. With a little bit of forethought and planning, your family holiday could become exactly that once again – a holiday. Here’s our ultimate guide to holidaying with kids.
Find the right accommodation
Always book appropriate accommodation that caters for kids, and book in advance. It’s nice to stay in luxurious, elegant surroundings, but it’s not quite appropriate when you have kids running around being noisy. Consider a cabin in a holiday park – holiday parks are loaded with facilities and activities for kids to do so they will have hours of entertainment, all within the safety of the holiday park.
Involve the kids
Involve the children in planning the trip. They may have specific ideas about what they’d like to do or see. Where possible, let everyone plan a day. The more involved the kids are in the planning, the less likely they are to complain or fight against your own plans.
If going somewhere where kids may be exposed to harsher environments, make sure you have packed enough medication for while you are away, including antihistamines, children’s panadol, a first aid kit and insect repellant.
Pack enough clothes that you don’t have to wash for at least three days. For babies and small children, double that figure, as it’s rare to make it through a day without at least one change. This includes careful consideration of shoes also, as you’ll need at least one day pair and a nice set for night time outings. You don’t want to wear the morning’s sweaty socks or dirt crusted sneakers to dinner!
Think carefully about toys, games, and activities. No matter where you stay, you’re going to need something to keep your kids amused between the holiday activities. Pack a few of their favourite items as well as a couple of DVDs to ensure everyone has a little quiet time. Remember to make a checklist or take a photo to keep track of what items you’re taking with you.
Always keep a good supply of pre-made, packaged, snack-type foods to fill in the gaps between meals. This is handy, not only for travelling in the car, but also reducing the cost of food as it stops you from having to duck down to a takeaway store every night.
Encourage the kids to keep a travel diary. Collect random objects from your daily adventures such as leaves, feathers, fliers, pamphlets, ticket stubs, and anything else they may want to remember from their holiday, and stick them into the diary. Photos can be added later, and if your kids are at writing level, encourage them to write a daily entry. Another good idea is to get the children to help you record the holiday. These days most kids have access to lots of technology (camera/phone/tablet) and these are a great way for kids to record their own memories.
Keep meal times as routine as possible. Kids tend to get excited when they’re away from home, so keeping mealtimes regular can help keep some routine into your holiday.
Involve the whole family
Choose activities that all family members can participate in. Going to a theme park is no good if the rides aren’t age appropriate. Make full use of the visitor’s information centre ( or ask the front reception at the holiday park you are staying in) as they will have good knowledge on local attractions and events that may be of interest.
Plan for rainy days
Make sure you think ahead and have things to do on the days it’s too wet to go outside.
Take equipment appropriate for the setting. A beach holiday is not complete without a bucket and shovel, while a caravanning or camping holiday requires reliable, child-sized flashlights. Think about what would encourage your child to explore while on holiday, and pack them with you. The goal is to get your kids interested in getting out there, and not so much at keeping them cooped up inside the caravan or tent.
Pack emergency bags
You might like to take an emergency bag when you go out for the day. This may include basic first aid equipment, medications, a change of clothing for smaller children, and any other essential items that you’d need if you happened to be stranded for the day.
Try to pack light to have as much as space as possible in the car, and remember to keep some room in your suitcase for all those holiday memories!
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