Summer holidays are what we all look forward to throughout the year. They’re the break we need from the everyday grind, and they give us time together as families, to relax, to play, to eat great food and to see somewhere new.
Travelling with children can be tricky though, so here’s some things to remember when getting ready for your holiday this year…
Make sure the holiday is family friendly
Whatever age your children are, double check that the place you choose has the things you need. This is especially true if you have younger children e.g. do you need a highchair or cot etc.? Find out exactly what’s provided on your holiday.
Research what you’ll do
Look at what’s nearby and how long it will take you to get to places that the children will enjoy, such as the beach or the park, or places to cycle etc. Putting time into figuring out how your children will spend their time whilst you’re away can save you headaches when you get there (especially if you have restless kids, like mine).
Check your booking details
When I had a 3yr old and a 10mth old I was somewhat sleep deprived. My husband asked me to double check the flight time two days before we were leaving and it’s a good job that he did; our flight was leaving 24 hours earlier than I thought it was! Children (especially young ones) are exhausting and so it’s easy to get confused about details like this. Triple check all your booking details weeks before leaving for your holiday.
Bring distractions for the journey
A lot of adults get fidgety and irritable on journeys, and it’s so much harder for children. Bring plenty of things to keep them busy, such as books, music, colouring, games, a DVD player or tablet. Also, bring plenty of snacks, food and water for everyone, and if you’re driving, think about where you will stop for a break.
There is a fine art to packing, especially with children. If you’re staying somewhere that has a washing machine, then pack just a handful of outfits each. You can wash them and hang them out if you’re somewhere warm. Don’t forget the essentials; sun cream, medicines, plasters, antiseptic cream, sun hats etc.
Make sure you bring comfort items
If your child is used to going to sleep to lullabies, or cuddling a blanket or teddy as they drift off, then bring these thing with you.
Plan how much money you can afford to spend on holiday, and how you want to spend it. It makes sense to use a credit card abroad, but keep track of how much you’re putting on it each day. Bring some cash, as you’ll always need a bit, but you can use ATMs abroad too.
Always get holiday insurance before travelling. You never know what could happen, so it’s well worth being covered so you don’t have to fork out hundreds, or thousands, should something unexpected happen.
If you’re travelling in Europe, then make sure you apply to receive a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) for each of you before travelling. It will ensure you get free, or reduced cost, healthcare should you need it.
Weigh your suitcases
You can buy small battery-operated scales that aren’t expensive to weigh your suitcases before going to the airport so you don’t end up paying fees. Bring the scales with you for the return journey too, and make the most of your hand luggage allowance. We always end up swapping things in and out of different cases to get the right weight.
You may think this is obvious, but it’s completely worth double checking that everyone’s passport is within the expiry date so you don’t get caught out.
If you’re flying, check what items you can bring on board
Most airlines allow you to take a car seat for your children as well as a pram/buggy for infants and toddlers, but check this before you go.
Take time to plan your holiday, but try not to get too stressed about it. You can buy most things in most places if you need to. Take a deep breath, and just enjoy the freedom of being away - have a great holiday!
Jo Murricane is a freelance copywriter and blogger, based in Leeds. Read all about her food and lifestyle investigations on her blog, jo-blogs.co.uk.