Holidaying with kids? Here are tried-and-tested tips you shouldn't leave home without
Let's call a spade a spade here, guys.
Holidaying with kids in tow is a far cry from the way holidays used to look back in the child-free years of yore.
I mean; for starters, there'll be less stumbling home after one too many cheap tequila shots, and more sipping a few Aperol Spritz on your balcony as the kids sleep (or watch iPads) inside. Which, let's be honest, isn't so bad, really.
And pool-side, your body won't really touch the sun lounger as you chase your eager toddler around the water, and you'll be so busy making sure everyone is topped up with SPF you'll never get to finish that paperback you picked up in the airport, but still – you're on holidays and the sun is shining and life is good.
However, studies have shown that taking a family holiday is all sorts of good for us – and has a large impact on our children's future happiness, even, so what are you waiting for – go back those bags, there are family memories to be made.
We recently sat down with Travel Counsellors Ireland’s Cathy Burke, who, with 40 years of travel industry experience and expertise, offered up some great tips that will help you avoid stress and make the most of your family holiday.
Before you go
- When booking a family holiday, try to avoid peak holiday times, especially if your kids aren’t in school yet. Everyone else will want to book their holiday when school is out. If your family are able to go when others are still in school, Travel Counsellors would recommend booking your holiday for that time. You will escape the crowds and it will also save you money.
- While on the subject of booking and saving money, when holidaying with your family, you should try and book self-catering accommodation. Buying at the local supermarket and sorting out your own meals will save you money on food. Make your own breakfast and lunch, and if you like, you can splash out and go somewhere nice for dinner in the evenings. Alternatively book an ‘all-inclusive’ hotel where everything is included so you don’t have to budget while there.
- We know it’s easier said than done, but try to pack light. The kids don’t need three hoodies each when going on a sun holiday. If your stay is short, try to only bring hand-luggage. This will avoid the endless waiting around the baggage carousel with a family who are dying to get out of the airport.
- Pack plenty of savoury snacks for the journey. Food in the airport can be really expensive. Be prepared with a mix of savoury and healthy treats and keep the hunger at bay while also saving some money for the holiday itself. Don’t forget to keep your little ones hydrated whilst flying – invest in a new water bottle especially for holidays to encourage them to drink H2O whilst they are in the sunshine.
- Make sure to bring your family’s personal essentials that you may miss whilst abroad such as baby formula, sun cream for particularly sensitive skin, a small first aid kit and your child’s favourite soft toy or blanket to help them sleep better.
While you’re there
- When holidaying with your family, choose activities everyone will enjoy – and that includes yourself too. Waterparks are really fun and they cater for kids of all ages. Some resorts have waterparks onsite which will save you money on entry tickets. Holiday resort-hosted kids camps are a great way to keep your children entertained while you get a chance to soak up the sun and relax.
- Try to stay active and avoid screen-time as much as you can. Your holiday is a time to make memories and your kids can use their apps at home any time. If you stay active, maybe the kids won’t miss their tablet. Try cycling one day, swimming another (or every day), crazy golf the next — find out what activities are available before you go and plan your trip. Your Travel Counsellor can help plan fun activities and outline details about your holiday destination before you fly.
- While staying active is important, don’t forget normal routine and keep some down days for replenishing the energy levels. Be sure to eat at the normal times your family are used to and keep your family’s sleeping routine the same as it is at home. Children love excitement, but they also need routine, even when on holidays.
- Take lots of videos and photos to capture those special moments with your family. Remember too, that whilst travelling with kids might seem like a lot of hard work, they are only young for a very short time and you will have the happy memories forever.