Regardless of how well-traveled you are, going on a vacation with your children is an entirely different experience from exploring the world by yourself or as a couple. Family holidays can range from a dream come true to an absolute disastrous mess, and the only thing that makes a difference between a good and a bad experience is some thoughtful planning and advanced preparation.
So, here are some of the best travel tips that will help you ensure your next family vacation turns out to be a pleasurable and stress-free adventure:
Choose your travel destination wisely
Choosing the right travel destination is the key to a successful family holiday, which is why it’s essential to take both your interests and your children’s needs into consideration. For example, while a spa resort might feel like heaven for you, it will leave your kids bored and restless. So, try to opt for a destination that offers lots of family-friendly activities and attractions, alongside some adult-oriented fun in the form of bars and restaurants, for instance.
When traveling with small children, it might also be wise to choose a closer destination, or at least one that offers direct flights, as layovers, delays and long-haul flights often turn out to be too stressful and demanding for the little ones.
Make a detailed plan far in advance
While traveling without a concrete plan and simply living in the moment might have been wonderful when you were going on a trip with your partner, it’s not such a good idea when you’re going on vacation with your children, as this travel style can easily make your kids feel uncomfortable and uneasy.
So, do the whole family a huge favor and make all the necessary reservations in advance, including booking accommodation and transportation options, in order to avoid any unnecessary frustration once you reach your destination. Never assume that your accommodation will have all the needed amenities, such as cribs or high chairs, either, and always call ahead of the trip to confirm availability.
Pack your bags lightly and smartly
If you pack too much luggage, your family holiday can quickly turn into a nightmare, not only due to the weight and the size of your bags, but also because it can take ages to find items you need at any given moment. So, apart from essential toiletries and something to keep your kids occupied, such as a favorite toy or a tablet, try to pack as lightly as you can, keeping your clothes to a necessary minimum.
When you’re running around the crowded airport, carrying children and dragging luggage around, the last thing you want is to rummage through your bag searching for your phone. That is why it might be a good idea to invest in quality skeleton dial watches that will help you keep time and stay on schedule.
Research your destination beforehand
Even though being a bit spontaneous and adventurous on your family holidays can help you make some wonderful lasting memories, it would also be wise to have a plan set in place, to ensure smooth sailing. So, research your destination in advance, look for any concerts, festivals or special events, and plan ahead, so you don’t miss out on any fun and interesting activities.
Another good idea would be to pre-book tickets and entry to attractions, in order to save on early bird prices, while also avoiding crowds and skipping long queues. That way, you will have more time and money to spend on your vacation, with less moaning and fuss to enjoy the whole experience.
Don’t forget about necessary downtime
Dealing with jet-lag can be incredibly draining for anyone, especially small children. That is why it would be best to plan a few gentle explorations and mildly entertaining activities once you arrive, in order to tire your kids out during the day, allowing them to rest properly and prepare for the holiday ahead.
When planning out your vacation days, don’t forget to schedule in an hour each day for naps or simply relaxation, which will allow the whole family to recharge their batteries. For example, you can go exploring and do more tiring activities in the morning, rest in the afternoon, and then leave sightseeing and dinner for the evening, to ensure everyone has enough energy and motivation to enjoy the family holiday to the fullest.
With just a bit of careful planning and thoughtful preparation beforehand, every holiday can turn out to be a fun, enjoyable and stress-free experience for the whole family.