Travelling with kids on Holiday
Travelling with kids doesn’t have to be stressful!
Family holidays should be a source of enjoyment and relaxation, a way to make memories and spend some quality time together as a family.
Equally, they can often be a source of arguments and stress.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. With the right preparation and mindset, travelling with children can be a stress-free and memorable adventure.
Reminisce about Past Holidays
Think back to previous holidays – what worked well, and what didn’t? If you have older children, you could ask them about their favourite holiday memories. Often it’s the days spent outside together that children have the fondest memories of and not necessarily those that are highly organised and cost a fortune.
Try and choose a holiday that meets the needs of all family members. Choose your destination wisely and check that it has your key requirements. It’s a good idea to make a ‘wish-list’ for each member of your party so that everyone is taken into consideration. It can also be a good idea to take time to speak to other like-minded families and get some personal recommendations.
Planning and booking in advance is a valuable strategy for parents, enabling you to save a significant amount of money. This approach is particularly beneficial when it comes to flights and accommodation, as prices tend to skyrocket during peak seasons. By making early arrangements, you can avoid the escalating costs that result from delaying your holiday plans.
Pick a date
Once you have decided on your destination, the next step is to select your travel dates. It’s important to consider any work or school obligations you may have, as they will greatly influence your flexibility. However, if you need some assistance in determining the ideal time to visit your chosen destination, you can use Google by searching for “Best time of year to visit ‘destination’.” This resource will provide valuable guidance and results to ensure you make the most out of your holiday experience.
Your first consideration for the younger members of the family is safety:
- Does the accommodation offer a secure environment for your toddler?
- If there are stairs, does the property provide stair gates?
- Is the pool enclosed or does it have an alarm?
- And is there a safe outside space for your child to play in?
Secondly, does the holiday provide all of the necessary equipment that your child needs?
- A cot?
- A highchair?
- A steriliser?
- Child-friendly plates, cups and cutlery?
- Toys for the pool?
- Some garden toys?
- Make a list of everything that your child needs and see which holidays provide the most. You can never travel light with young children, but you can ease the load with careful choices.
- Something for Everyone
When travelling with mixed ages, space is essential – the more space you have, the more chance there will be of everybody being able to relax and enjoy what the holiday has to offer. Older children usually prefer to be away from younger siblings (and nagging parents) so if possible, give them their own room. Mobile homes/caravans and self-catered homes work well, as you have more choice in the number of bedrooms and can tailor your choices to fit your family’s needs.
A holiday with access to other children will make it more fun for everyone. Choosing accommodation on a site gives instant playmates and keeps children of all ages busy (and happy!). Kids clubs are also a good extra for younger children, as they provide a structured place for them to play, and they also give you and your older children some valuable time together. If you can find a larger property it can be a good idea to travel with a family who have children of a similar age or allow your older child to take a friend along.
When booking your accommodation, it is crucial to use a trusted website and provider to ensure a secure and reliable experience.
Here are some reputable resources that can be helpful for parents:
- Booking.com is a widely trusted platform that offers a vast range of accommodations worldwide. It provides detailed information, user reviews, and competitive prices to help you make informed decisions.
- Airbnb is a popular online marketplace that connects travelers with hosts who offer unique accommodations, including entire homes, apartments, and even family-friendly options. It’s known for its diverse selection and personalized experiences.
- Hotels.com is another reliable platform that specializes in hotel bookings. It offers a wide array of choices, competitive rates, and a loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights. TripAdvisor:
- TripAdvisor is a comprehensive travel platform that provides user-generated reviews, ratings, and recommendations for accommodations. It offers valuable insights from fellow travelers, helping you make informed decisions. Remember to read reviews, compare prices, and check the amenities and policies of each accommodation option to ensure it meets your family’s specific needs.
By using these trusted websites, you can confidently book your accommodation and enjoy a worry-free stay during your trip.
Research the Local Area
Once you have booked your accommodation it’s definitely worth taking some time to research the local area and find out what it has to offer. Before you go, plan some days out that the whole family will enjoy; a quick look online will reveal lots of places to visit and things to do such as local hidden gems, restaurants and places to eat, beaches and much more. This is a good opportunity to get your children involved in the planning process and let them have some input into what you do.
Some great websites and apps to use to help plan this out are:
In addition, it is highly recommended to reach out to friends and family who have previously visited the area you are considering. Their firsthand experience will be invaluable in familiarising yourself with the destination and discovering the best activities to engage in.
Furthermore, exploring reviews on platforms such as TripAdvisor will provide you with insights into people’s opinions about various places, landmarks, and beaches within the local vicinity. To gain a visual understanding and further inspiration for your family break, consider browsing YouTube and social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. These channels offer visual examples and personal experiences shared by others, which can help you envision and plan your upcoming trip.
Enjoy the Journey
Try to make the journey a fun part of the holiday and treat it as an adventure, not a chore. Packing small snacks, toys and games can keep children busy along the way; toys like Travel Learn To Draw are good for keeping little ones busy, while puzzles like Penguins Pool Party are ideal for older children. You may also choose to play a fun game such as I Spy or I Packed my Suitcase.
When you go on a family holiday it feels like you need to pack the kitchen sink: shorts in case it’s warm; coats if it rains; toys to keep the youngsters entertained indoors; toys to keep them entertained outdoors. The list could be endless. So here’s a guide to packing light, with some tips for handling the necessities, and being as prepared as possible for your break away.
Children will need an outfit for each day of the holiday – an outfit and a half for younger children in case of any accidents. A great tip is to pack each day’s set of clothes in a separate zip lock bag; it saves rummaging around every morning and can be used to pack wet or dirty clothes too. If you’re going for longer than a week you can use another zip-lock bag for some washing powder and give last week’s clothes a quick clean in the sink. When packing toiletries, save space in your child’s suitcase by using mini travel bottles, and a mini first aid kit can be handy. Including stickers or temporary tattoos to reward well-behaved patients is a nice idea, and hand sanitiser is always useful when you’re out and about. Remember to leave the scissors out of the kit if you will be flying and carrying it in your hand luggage.
Toys and games
It’s always a good idea to have something to keep children busy at the beach, or quiet in the evenings. Variety is nice but you don’t need to pack the whole toy box. The more versatile toys that children can use to make up their own games will have a longer life than more prescriptive toys. One or two games that you can play as a family will make for some fun quality time together. Card games such as Chicken Out Card Game and Frenzi can easily be slipped into a bag or pocket to entertain the kids at the restaurant in the evening.
For active outdoor play, there are lots of travel-friendly options like small bottles of bubbles or a skipping rope. An inflatable ball is a good choice and won’t take up much room at all. We like the Ollyball which can also be used inside, as it’s very lightweight. It is also covered in pictures that can be coloured in, so can double up as an activity to do on the journey.
When you’re settling down for the evening, waiting in a restaurant, or travelling around to see the sights, it’s handy to have a few toys and games for bite-sized entertainment. Activity books are ideal for keeping children busy, such as the ones in the Galt Travel Activity Case, and plastic travel soap dishes are perfect for transporting small pencils or crayons. Some small favourite toys can distract children for a while and they will love taking their Sylvanian Families set to the beach, or driving their fastest car around the caravan.
It can be risky to take precious toys or security blankets on holiday in case they get lost (although many parents will have a few spares!), but children will still need something to comfort them in the strange new place they are visiting. If you can, persuade your child to bring their second favourite toy along for an adventure, while their special toy stays at home and looks after their bedroom. Let them sleep with the new toy before it goes on the trip with them so that it gets that comforting scent their favourite toy already has.
One big question when packing might be whether or not to take a tablet device. On the one hand, going on holiday could be an opportunity to get the family away from screens and spending some quality time together. On the other hand, apps can be a good way for parents to get some peace. We believe that as long as screen time is managed and children don’t miss out on other activities, you needn’t feel guilty about packing a tablet. Apps such as Dr Panda Town: Holiday and Let’s Go See are particularly apt for children to play while on their travels.
It is well worth putting in the time and effort to plan your perfect break; research conducted by the Family Holiday Association (a charity that helps struggling families to have a break) found that 49 per cent of British people said their happiest memory is being on holiday with their family.
Travelling creates lifelong, happy memories that people treasure and revisit often. In fact, a survey by Hilton implies that 95% of Americans are missing travel right now, and 89% agree that their travel memories are some of the happiest ones of their lives
And remember, it’s your holiday too! Take some time to yourself and don’t feel like you have to be constantly occupying the youngsters – it’s good for children to get bored and learn how to entertain themselves!