Tips for travelling with children
But rest assured there are a number of things you can be doing to make sure that your extremely well-deserved holiday starts off in a very relaxed manner.
- Sign up to receive newsletters from your preferred airlines, accommodation places or tourism bureaus so that you are one of the first to know about special rates and offers in the market place. This is a great way to help keep costs down, especially if you have a large family.
- If you're happy to go anywhere on your holiday, unleash the explorer in you and make the most of the cheap airline rates. It's also a wonderful way for children to learn about local destinations and faraway cultures that they might not have experienced otherwise, plus see a bit more of our wonderful world.
- Just like you would when planning a big party, draw up a time line of what you need to do and when. Some of those mundane tasks, such as cancelling the paper and organising the mail, can all be done weeks in advance so there's no need to leave them until the last minute.
- If your children are old enough, give them the task of packing for themselves (although a quick check while they're asleep to guarantee the tooth brush is packed is a good idea). This bestows the child with a sense of responsibility and also puts the onus back on them if they forget something. Guaranteed, if they forget something the first trip and are disappointed, the next time they go away it will all have been worth it as they won't forget anything.
- Let them decide what clothes they would like to take, along with the toys and games they might like to have with them. Although you may have to cull this list quite dramatically when it comes to actually getting it all to fit in their little backpack, it will be a life lesson they will relish forever. Remember, it is their holiday too, so don't be critical when it comes to what they have packed. If your 3 year old wants to wear his Spider Man outfit all week, then so be it. And at least you know he'll be happy!
- This is an oldie, but we know it works. Get the kids working on a Bob-a-Job basis in the weeks leading up to the trip - on top of their pocket money, if you're already on that track. Not only will they earn some extra money to spend while they're away, but they will also learn the value of it when it comes time to part with their hard earned cash. Again, another life lesson they will love you for later in life.
The whole point of going on holidays is to get away from the monotonous, sometimes dull, daily grind - whether it be at the office or the home, day care or school. On that basis, it is important that everyone gets some quality time to do just what they want to do.
- Take the kids to the movies, letting them pick what they would like to see. You can shout the tickets, but let the kids treat themselves at the candy bar with their own money.
- Let each child pick an afternoon's activity for everyone to do. If your children are still young, enjoy the afternoon just focussing on them with no distractions.
- If you're staying in an apartment, you can save a lot of money by preparing your own meals. But do you really want to have to find the local supermarket and then head off to do groceries when you're holidays? We think not! So go online and order what you need. Not only will it save you a trip to the shops, but they will even deliver it to your unit on the day you arrive.
- Book yourself in for a massage or facial at a local day spa. It may cost a bit, but go on ... you know you're worth it.
- If a massage is not your cup of tea, why not head off to the hairdressers and get a new do. Remember, there's only 10 days between a bad and a good haircut!
- Don't forget Dad needs his time out too! If fishing or golf is his passion, book him a tee off time or a trip as a surprise. You can always hire the equipment so don't stress about how to hide a set of clubs in the packing! Besides, if he doesn't perform well on the day, he can always blame it on his tools!
Holidays are the perfect time for couples to reconnect. Work commitments, constant needs of children and busy lifestyles in general mean that many couples find little time to truly spend together these days.
- If available where you're staying, book the children into the Kids' Club so that you can feel confident about leaving them where they are being stimulated and entertained in a safe and child-friendly environment.
- Hire a babysitter for a couple of nights so that you can go out and enjoy dinner, a movie or just a spend time together. If you're staying with family or friends, ask them to watch the children for you.
- If the kids are kept busy during the day, they're sure to hit the hay early in the evening, so plan some special activities for just the two of you after they've gone to bed. Perhaps a candle-lit dinner, a game of Scrabble or simply enjoy the time to sit, unwind and chat about what ever takes your fancy.
When it's time to think about coming home ... and that always comes around way too quick ... don't get stressed out. Again, plan everything along a time line and do everything on holiday time ... very relaxed and slowly. You know the washing will wait. The cat's probably having a great time. And the papers? Well, you've not read one over the past 2 weeks so another day or two won't matter, will it?!
want to know more?
For more articles, local directories of shops and services, checklists, calculators and more visit our...:: family travel info hub