Family Travel Tips

Family Holidays

For parents and guardians going on holiday with their families can be a stressful time. They worry about planning the holidays, where to go, what to do, how to entertain the children, safety and security concerns etc. In fact it can seem like more stress to go on holiday! Our concise family travel tips guide highlights some useful advice and tips for parents to consider when going on a family trip. Following some tried and tested tips can help reduce stress and anxiety on holiday.

Family Travel Advice & Tips

Before You Begin Your Trip
Car & Road Journeys
At The Airport
On The Flight
On Your Trip

Before You Begin Your Trip

Think carefully about where you are going to go, whether you are considering going somewhere in the UK or abroad. Is the holiday geared up for accommodating children? Is there something in the holiday or destination that will appeal to everyone coming? Sorting this out early on can help avoid going to a place that does not offer what you or the children were looking for.

Budget wisely and ensure you have sufficient budget to enjoy your holiday. If you are going to a theme park but do not have funds for the children to go on the rides, it is not much fun and defeats the purpose of going. Consider the total cost of the holiday including all costs of travel, accommodation, entrance fees to attractions, food, drink and other spending money. If it all seems too steep, then consider a cheaper alternative that you could enjoy instead.

Research the holiday area/resort/region/country that you want to travel to and learn more about the area, what it offers, what there is to do, what it offers families, whether there is childcare available etc. The more information you have the better you can make an informed decision on where to go and what to do.

When booking at a resort or hotel make sure first that children are welcome, they provide family rooms, childcare (if you need it), check if there are activities for children and if there are any child discounts, child meal discounts, family room discounts etc.

As with all trips ensure you check the latest country news and travel information before you go, familiarise yourself with the local laws, culture and customs. Ensure you are a very informed and knowledgeable traveller before you set off.

Do not rush your booking, it is better to take your time and not miss anything important.

Leave the full details of your itinerary with a trusted family member or friend including contact details.

Use airline seat booking services that allow you to choose your seats, do this in plenty of time as it will fill up closer to departure date.

It can be a challenge to ensure the whole family gets ready on time especially with early starts, one way to reduce stress and the chances of be late is to allow approximately a one hour buffer getting everyone up and ready as if your had to leave an hour earlier. This means even if you are running late for any reason you have built in extra time.

Ensure you take everything you need in your luggage and do not forget your important travel documents such as your passport, tickets, Hotel Booking confirmation and your travel money and valuables.

Leave plenty of time to lock your house properly, do not leave in a hurry that is when it is so easy to miss something.

Car & Road Journeys

Check the Journey Planner before you begin your journey, familiarise yourself with the route and check the Traffic News for the latest road and traffic information.

If the children or any adults are prone to motion sickness ensure the medication is taken by all before you start your journey and you have enough medication to last for the duration of your trip.

Ensure the car is in good working order and has been serviced.

Check you have enough fuel for your journey.

Ensure you have a first aid kit in the car, warning triangle, working spare wheel and other associated equipment.

Make everyone in the car adults and children are wearing their seatbelts. For safety periodically check the children are keeping their seat belts on.

Make sure you always take a warm coat for each person in the car/vehicle, this is very useful in case you breakdown or have other unforeseen circumstances.

Take food and drink with you, children can become irritable if they are hungry or thirsty.

To entertain the children consider having travel games such as travel board games, electronic games, portable DVD and multimedia machines such as Portable MP3 & MP4 players. Having these means children can watch films, TV, listen to music & even do electronic learning games to pass the time. This can help keep the children occupied for hours and make them less prone to become irritated. Make sure you take extra batteries for the electronic devices.

At The Airport

Arrive at the airport in plenty of time to reduce stress and the possibility of missing the flight.

Check in early as soon as you can and reconfirm any special requirements for seating arrangements and for dietary requirements. Checking in your baggage means you when have one less thing to worry about and it reduces the chances of losing the baggage or it being stolen.

Once you have checked your baggage in it is good idea to go in to the secure zone for passenger only and leave the public area, there is restricted access in this area and reduces the chances of children wondering off outside.

Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times, be aware of where the children are and do not let them wonder off.

Do not leave your luggage unattended for any reason.

If your children are older you can involve them as an extra pair of eyes, ask them to check no one takes your baggage and that you do not leave any of your important travel documents behind when showing them to the authorities. This is of course in addition to the adults watching and ensuring everything is okay. Your older children can help you make sure you do not leave anything behind and they can feel involved as though they are part of the decision making process.

Make sure everyone takes their motion sickness medicine before you get on the flight.

Keep medicines for motion sickness, headaches, stomach upsets, diarrhoea and other common ailments anyone in your family may be prone to in your cabin luggage so you can get to it quickly on the flight.

Make sure everyone especially the children go to the toilet at the airport before you board the flight.

On The Flight

Make sure the children have things to do to keep them occupied and amused. Bring the travel games, MP3/4 players, tablet, laptops and their favourite books to keep them from getting bored. On the flight encourage them to watch the children’s TV channels shown on board, this can all help in passing away the hours. For older children they be more interested in watching movies or listening to music, make sure they bring their media players with them.

Keep sweets and other little rewards for the children and give it to them when they are well behaved. Of course if they are not well behaved you may also need to give them sweets and other treats to encourage them to be better behaved.

If the children are sleepy on the flight encourage them to go to sleep, this means not only are they rested, it gives you more peace and less worry.

It can be very trying travelling with children on flights, you will need plenty of patience, understanding and hope using all the tools at your disposal to encourage the children to behave well, have the desired affect!

On Your Trip

Be vigilant and alert of your surroundings, environment and those around you at all times.

Ensure children are not allowed to wonder off alone and keep them where you can see them.

Do not show any valuables in public and ensure the children do not show any valuables either.

Keep a low profile on holiday, make sure your family to not attract unnecessary attention to yourselves.

When you arrive, make sure you have a plan of action to stop the children from getting bored. Find out what you want to do, what the children would like to do and what is available and feasible, this way you can try to make the best of your trip and the time you have there.

For any trips you may book or anywhere you visit, always check if children are welcome, any special requirements and if you can get any discounts for children, families and if you have older children students. You may find there are savings on these.

Be careful with food and drink, do not eat anywhere that has dubious hygiene standards or your feel unsure about. Use bottled water from trusted sources and check to see if the seal has been broken.

It is all too easy for children to feel unwell on holiday by sitting the sun too long and eating or drinking too much etc. Try to minimise the chances by ensuring they do not over eat and eat and drink only at places you trust.

Make sure the children are given the maximum factor sun cream and it is put on and reapplied as necessary. Stay out of the sun from 11 to 3 when the sun is at its strongest, go out before and after the times to lessen the chances of being unduly affected by the sun.

The tips and advice outline in our guide on family travel tips helps to provide you with practical steps you could take to help make your family holidays, a pleasant more stress free experience. There is a lot of planning, preparation and things to remember on family trips. If you plan well and you go well prepared, making sure you are informed and knowledgeable about the places you are going to, you can enjoy a great family holiday that will leave great memories for yourself and your children.

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