How to Plan a Family Holiday

Posted : Wednesday, March 13, 2019
travelling with children 

For people of all ages, the mere mention of the word ‘holiday’ evokes feelings of happiness and excitement. It’s great to get away from the duties of professional life for a short while and spend quality time with the people who mean the most to you. Also, the prospect of going somewhere new for a few days is one that will greatly excite the kids.

Holidays require planning, though, and family holidays will have certain considerations that don’t apply to other getaways. You’ll need to find somewhere that all the family will enjoy and that has enough attractions and activities to keep children occupied, while also allowing the adults to have a bit of time to themselves. Also, when travelling with kids, you’ll need to know how well they’re likely to cope with long car, boat or plane journeys. Best hope there aren’t any unforeseen delays!

Family holidays take careful planning, and it goes without saying that things can go wrong unexpectedly, but if you’ve planned every part of the holiday as best as you can, you’re almost certain to have a memorable family vacation! For those planning a first family holiday, here are some nuggets of advice that are worth following.

Choosing a family-friendly holiday destination

When selecting a travel destination for a family holiday, there are many extra considerations you will need to make. In addition to all the usual criteria, you will also need to think about the child friendliness of your proposed destination in terms of safety and fun. You will also need to factor in the journey as travelling can be quite draining for the little ones.

As a starting point to your research, we recommend that you reflect on previous getaways and think about what worked and what didn’t work. Jot down a few bullet points about what the highlights were, what everyone enjoyed and what you wouldn’t do again. Once you’ve whittled down your options, why not ask your kids for their opinion on where they would prefer to go? You can get them into the holiday mode by showing them books and movies about various places that you have in mind.

Choosing family-friendly accommodation

Now that you’ve settled on where to go, your next big decision is to choose accommodation. You will want to minimise travel time by selecting accommodation that is within walking distance or a short drive away from the nearest attractions. In Killarney, hotels such as The Europe Hotel & Gardens are very near the town, while also being quite close to a tremendous range of outdoor attractions that are perfectly suited to families.

Your needs will change depending on the age of your kids. For example, parents of infants and toddlers may want to know about the stroller friendliness of the accommodation, whereas parents of older children may show more interest in kids’ entertainment clubs and childminding services.

If you have decided to stay at a hotel, consider spacious family suite options and don’t be afraid to get in touch with the hotel staff in advance of your stay. Tell them about any specific needs your family may have so that they can have everything just right for you upon your arrival. Some enquiries you might wish to make could include:

  • Babysitting services
  • Connecting/adjoining rooms
  • Kids’ clubs
  • Bathing/shower facilities for babies and infants
  • Provision of baby supplies
  • Laundry facilities

Holiday checklist for families

As you get closer to your departure date, there may be a few extra things you need to tick off your checklist:

  • Double check that everyone’s passports are valid and in-date. Don’t forget that passports for children need to be renewed more frequently than adults.
  • Locate the nearest hospital.
  • If you are a European travelling within the EU, check if you have a European Health Insurance card (formerly E111 card). This will allow you to get healthcare for free or at a reduced cost.
  • Make sure you have a good travel insurance policy in place.

    First family holiday

    How to make travelling with children stress-free

    Getting from point A to B can often be the trickiest part of a family trip. Fortunately, by making a few simple preparations, it’s possible to make your journey much easier and enjoyable for all.

    General travel tips for families
  • Travelling with kids can be a slow process, so be sure to leave more time than you usually would for each stage of the journey.
  • Inform your children of what to expect as part of the travel and tell them in advance how to behave on each leg of the journey.
  • If you are going on a long journey, catch up with your kids each night about what you enjoyed that day and discuss what will happen the next day.
  • A bored child can be a naughty one. Prepare a variety of entertainment options (e.g. colouring books, movies, games, etc.) to keep the kids occupied while travelling.

    via GIPHY

    Travelling with children by plane 
  • If possible, try to book your flights around bedtime so that your children will sleep through most of the journey.
  • When choosing a flight, avoid journeys with layovers. If a connecting flight is unavoidable, be sure to leave a good amount of time to navigate the airport.
  • Research the airport terminal to see if there are adequate facilities such as nursing rooms, toddler-friendly play areas and baby changing tables.
  • Many international flights offer the option of a free baby bassinet. Reserve this as early as possible and call to confirm your reservation at least once before the flight.

    During your holiday

    Now that you’ve reached your destination and settled into your accommodation, let the holiday begin! While planning activities, allow each family member to pick an activity, and ensure everyone joins in with a smile regardless of what it is. Always check the weather forecast the night before and prepare rainy day backup plans just in case.

    While it’s always good to have a plan, take things slowly and don’t overstuff your itinerary. Remember that things typically take longer with children and if you’ve planned too many activities, you won’t have time to relax and enjoy. Also, little ones could get tired quickly so schedule some time in the day to rest.

    Don’t forget that it’s your holiday too! Look into childminding services or supervised activities so that you can carve out some relaxing personal time at the spa or for a romantic dinner for two.

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