Holidays are meant to be times of relaxation. When you can really let your hair down, get your legs out, and frolic about under a blue sky and almost permanent sun exposure. It’s the dream a lot of us have when we’re working for about 260 days a year, and it’s something we can very well arrange and achieve when we need to. But if you’re at the head of a young family, the reality can work out a little differently…
When you’ve got your family with you, and not everyone in it has reached their 20s yet, there can be a lot of hassle and stress on your plate, and you know it! Even getting through the airport can be tough, and having a baby on a flight automatically makes you the most unpopular traveller there! But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your holiday, as long as you’re doing it in the right way.
Whether you’re someone who always aims to travel light, to make sure you can move as freely as possible with a toddler on your arm and a teenager speeding off ahead, or you like to pack the suitcase to the maximum and make the hotel your home for the week, holidaying as a family requires a special touch. And when you’ve got some tips on your side to make sure you’re travelling in the best way, and staying in the right digs, you’re going to have the time of your life every time! So read on to give your family holidays more substance.
Try to Stick Close to Home
If you’ve got a thin schedule and subsequently some very thin patience, you’re probably going to want to stay as close to home as possible whilst still counting yourself on holiday. Of course, you want to get away from home and all of its responsibilities, but even just staying in the same country and going a couple hundred miles away would be perfect here!
If your country or home town is known for its tourism industry, make sure you put it to good use. Make a summer itinerary and go around all of the hotspots, and cast a judgemental eye over all of the ‘tat’ tourists can buy from the gift shops. Similarly, there’s a lot of campsites out there, and no matter where you live, there’s going to be one in your area. You should take advantage of this! There’s always plenty to do on a campsite, and plenty of people to meet, meaning neither you nor the kids are going to get bored with a week away. There’s nothing like going for a hike in the woods and learning all about the literal birds and the bees!
And don’t worry, even the camping aspect doesn’t have to be too hard, if you’re not one for putting up a tent and them cramming your entire family inside of it. There’s plenty of alternative accommodation, rather than a tent, to look into here. And you can even hire out some trailer transport if you see a caravan (static or otherwise), that would be perfect for you all the way up North and don’t have the time to go get it and bring it down yourself.
Have a Family Bag to Always Take with You
Whether you’re going on airplane and can have a carry on, or you’re taking the car and there’s some room in the boot, if you have a bag with supplies in it that anyone in the family could or would need, you’re going to have a much better time. But what to pack it out with?
Well, you’re going to want to include some first aid items most of all; bandages, plasters, some wet wipes for cleaning scrapes and grazes, and some painkillers in case those stress headaches hit you. Now you don’t have to worry if you’ve got a strip still left in your handbag!
Then you’re going to want to include a water bottle that’s empty, to make sure you’ve always got something to refill if you’re out and about in the heat for the day. And then make sure there’s some travel games in there (and on your phone as well), as you’re not going to want to let your kids get bored in the car or on the plane; snakes and ladders, chequers, a bit of monopoly… They’re a good distraction, even if they’re usually boring!
Make Transport Easier On You
And that means if you’re headed away for the week or the weekend, no matter where you’re going or how you got there, have a hired car waiting for you when you arrive. It’s hard to get around on public transport or just using your legs when you’ve got little ones to account for (and their lack of attention span or energy levels in the mid afternoon), so cut out the complaints and get inside a vehicle of your own.
It can be a little nerve wracking to drive when you’re in a foreign country, but if you know the general rules of the road where you’re going, you should be fine. Not to mention you could just follow the local in front of you when you don’t know which turning or which traffic light you’re meant to be queuing up at! But you’ve also got the maps function on your phone, and you should have a good satellite signal as well, so getting around will be a piece of cake.
Now’s your chance to take some good time out. If you’ve got a family holiday coming up soon, make sure you’re properly prepared for taking it on. You never want to add more and more stress onto your shoulders and come home worse off than when you want; everyone needs to have fun on holiday, no matter how old they are!