Holidays can be tricky when you have the kids in tow, but with careful planning and preparation, you can make this year's holiday your best yet
How does the average Brit spend their summer?
Currently, the average Brit takes a ten-day holiday to Spain and spends £617 (per adult) - this is based on figures from Travel Supermarket.
Everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a holiday. Regardless of whether your destination involves culture, history, sport or sun; a trip with the family poses a few more questions than a couple's weekend getaway or a week with friends.
Below are a few tips on how to make this your best holiday yet!
How to enjoy your family holiday
Get clear on your intention
Work out what you want out of the holiday before you go, and make sure everyone in the family is on the same page. Is it about spending time with the family, or is it about catching up on sleep and getting some time to yourself? Once you know what you want, do some research into holidays that will fulfil that goal.
Get the extended family involved
We know that everyone is living longer and many are having families later, meaning that there are often many generations around come holiday time! If you are looking for a combination of family fun and R'n'R, why not invite everyone on a family holiday? Knowing there are more hands on deck to help take care of the children means you might get an hour to read a book in the sunshine or swim a few lengths without interruption.
Pack lightly for yourself and your partner on the flight
Think about what you absolutely need to have with you on the plane and save as much of your hand luggage as possible for what the kids need. Remember how many hands you will have and pack accordingly - rucksacks can be a saving grace as you chase small children around the airport, hands-free. They also double as a daypack if you decide to go exploring when you reach your destination.
If it is your first time travelling with children, do not underestimate how much time and attention, you will need to spend on them during your trip - it is unlikely you will have the time to catch up on your novel reading whilst on the plane. While children do not need that much 'stuff', it is good to know that you have enough to keep them entertained. Do not forget to pack a few extra plastic bags and wet wipes - you never know when sticky hands or stinky nappies will throw a spanner in the works! For younger children, make sure you have a change of clothes for mega emergencies.
Preparation is key
It sounds boring, but knowing you have all the right equipment with you will make the holiday a lot less stressful. There is nothing like trying to find hypoallergenic formula milk in a remote Portuguese village store. Spend some time thinking through all the different scenarios that might arise, make some lists and get prepared. It may seem geeky, but you should be over prepared.
Get your paperwork sorted
Sort out your holiday insurance, check you have the right names on passports and tickets, and check your passports are in date. It sounds obvious, but so many families have ruined their holidays by not getting on top of the paperwork. Double check the times of your flights, trains or ferries, and give yourself plenty of time to get to wherever they are. Arriving late means booking new tickets and, as friends of ours learned on a recent trip, getting to the airport late is not covered by insurance! Getting new tickets at the last minute is costly and stressful.
Relax and enjoy!
We spend so much time planning - and then looking after the kids - that we forget to kick back and enjoy our own holiday. Once you have done your preparation, focus on being in the moment and enjoy your time with your family. This is what it is all about! If your children are old enough, work together to take photos, collect souvenirs and write a holiday book that will create memories, which you can reflect on for years to come. If your children still take naps, make sure you and your partner take this time to read a book or take turns going exploring. Alternatively, you could organise one day on the holiday where you take the kids and your partner has a childfree day, and vice versa...Remember, it is your holiday. You are in charge - enjoy it!