Going on a holiday with young kids can seem daunting, but with some planning and preparation, it can be a wonderful experience for the whole family. Here are some tips for making the most of your next vacation with children.
1. Choose the Right Destination
Carefully consider where you want to go on holiday based on your children’s ages, interests, and energy levels. A beach holiday or trip to a theme park might be ideal for younger kids, while older children may appreciate exploring a new city or going on an adventure holiday.
2. Book Accommodation Wisely
Look for family-friendly hotels or apartments with self-catering facilities, kids’ clubs, adjoining rooms, or interconnecting doors so you can keep an eye on the little ones. Having access to a kitchen can make mealtimes easier.
3. Pack Smartly
Make a list and start packing well in advance. Essential items include swimwear, sunscreen, hats, comfortable shoes, rain gear, medications, favorite toys, and books. Pack a first aid kit, extra clothes, and nappies if needed.
4. Schedule Down Time
The excitement of a holiday can be tiring for young kids. Make sure to build in breaks during the day for naps, relaxing at the pool or beach, and early dinners followed by quiet activities in the evening.
5. Food and Drink
Find out if your accommodation has a kids’ menu or nearby supermarkets where you can pick up child-friendly snacks and meals. Bring their favorite sippy cups, bowls, and utensils to make mealtimes easier.
6. Entertainment for Kids
Load tablets and phones with games and movies for downtime, and bring traditional toys like coloring books and card games. A lightweight stroller can provide transport and mobile naps.
7. Stay Flexible
Try to squeeze only a little into each day. Go with the flow based on your children’s moods and energy levels. It’s ok to skip activities if needed.
8. Capture the Memories
Bring your camera and have older kids take photos too. When you get home, gather maps, tickets, and brochures to make a scrapbook.
9. Prioritise Safety
Use child supervision services at your hotel. Have kids wear a wristband with your contact details when out and about. Explain safety rules for swimming pools, balconies, roads, etc.
10. Enjoy Family Time
Make the most of this rare opportunity to spend quality time together. Play games, read stories, and create magical memories to cherish.
11. Research Attractions
Do your homework before the trip to find fun kid-oriented attractions and activities at your destination. Consider amusement parks, interactive museums, shows, and performances.
12. Plan Activities
Have a loose schedule of daily activities, balancing fixed plans with free time. Include indoor and outdoor options in case of rain. Check costs and opening times in advance.
13. Handle Transport
Work out how you’ll get around – stroller, baby carrier, public transport, or child car seats if hiring a car. Schedule direct flights, and bring entertainment for the journey.
14. Special Needs
If your child has special needs, contact your hotel, airline, and activity operators well in advance to discuss requirements. Bring familiar items and any necessary medications.
Take out travel insurance covering the whole family. Ensure it includes medical emergencies, lost luggage, trip cancellations, and other incidents. Have relevant phone numbers handy.
While holidays with children require more effort, they offer lasting memories you’ll cherish forever. With the proper preparation and planning focussed on your kids’ needs, you can ensure a fun, safe, and relaxing vacation for the whole family. Don’t overschedule; go with the flow, and enjoy spending precious time together. The extra effort is worth the chance to travel and explore new places as a family.
Q: What are some tips for flying with young children?
A: Pack carry-on bags with snacks, favorite toys, and screen devices loaded with games/movies: request bassinets and kids’ meals in advance: check-in strollers/car seats at the gate. Bring a change of clothes in case of spills or accidents. Prepare bottles for takeoff/landing to help to pop ears.
Q: Should we follow our routine on holiday?
A: Sticking to regular mealtimes and bedtimes can help little kids adjust to a new environment. But be flexible – they may need naps or sleep earlier than usual. Make familiar comfort foods and bring your favourite toys or books from home.
Q: How can I keep toddlers safe in the hotel room?
A: Request a childproof room with balcony doors that lock and furniture bolted to walls. Bring outlet covers, monitor the bathroom, and keep small objects out of reach. Keep doors closed and use baby gates. Never leave young kids alone, even for a short time.
Q: What should I pack in my first aid kit?
A: Essentials include children’s medications, thermometer, bandaids, antiseptic cream, an antihistamine for allergic reactions, rehydration salts for diarrhea/vomiting, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, scissors, and gloves. Also, pack any regular medical supplies your child needs.
Q: Are there any precautions I should take against COVID-19?
A: Follow current public health advice on masking, hand hygiene, and social distancing based on vaccination status. Pack ample sanitizer and face masks. Check entry requirements and infection rates at your destination before traveling.