Nothing can quite compare with the excitement we felt about going on holiday as kids. The freedom, the sunshine… lots of larking about with brand new friends met on the beach or at the hotel. When we become parents, we naturally want our children to the same thrill for travel.
On the other hand, there are so many more things to consider when you’re travelling with kids than when you were tripping around Europe as a carefree couple. Lots more to plan, lots more to pack… lots more personalities and needs to satisfy. Family holidays can seem a daunting prospect!
Still, you can set the scene for freakout-free family holidays with a few simple preparations – whether your plans involve cheap holidays abroad in the sun or classic British staycations.
Things to do before you go
Depending on where you’re going, your family may need vaccinations. Check with your GP about these, as well as any health precautions for your destination. Your GP will also be able to tell you what’s suitable for your child’s age. Try to do this at least 8 weeks in advance of travel to give any vaccinations time to activate before you arrive at your destination.
Things to pack and carry on
Now that you’re packing for a family, your essential luggage list has expanded way beyond swimsuit, trashy novel and sunglasses! For the smoothest of family travels, you’ll need these basics:
- Plenty of distractions – For little ones, keep toys at hand during transit, and don’t forget their favourites. Pack a spare comfort blanket if you’ve got a double, in case the precious is lost! Distractions are also important for older kids, and easy-to-carry books and games will help ease the ‘are we there yet?’ blues.
- Any medications your family needs plus prescriptions and potentially a doctor’s note if you need to carry these onboard. Call our friendly customer services team if you’re not sure what you can carry with you
- A first-aid kit – make sure anything sharp or liquid is packed away in your hold luggage though
- Snacks – On journeys, food and drink can help ease grumbles and settle unsteady tummies. If you’ve got kids with fussy palates, bring some of their favourites in case you can’t find the exact brand at your destination
- Travel sickness kit – If your children are prone to travel sickness, or you’re taking them on their first trip abroad, consider putting sick bags and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag. You may also want to have a stash of over-the-counter travel-sickness medications or wristbands to hand.
Of course, holidays should be carefree for both kids and parents. But add just a little common sense into the mix, too, and you’ll help the freewheeling fun continue. There are a few things you shouldn’t forget to do:
- Keep up routines – help kids settle on arrival by getting them into a regular eating and sleeping pattern as soon as you can
- Be sun smart – whether in Malaga or Munich, broad spectrum sun cream (SPF 30 or higher) is a must. This applies whether it’s sunny or cloudy, and it’s especially important to reapply sun cream after swimming. Don’t forget to pack hats, sunglasses and cover-up clothes, too
- Stay cool – avoid prickly heat rashes and blisters by keeping kids in the shade and dressing them in loose-fitting clothes (breathable natural fibres are best). Also make sure they drink plenty of fluids during the day
Share your tips on planning a stress-free holiday with your family!