Are you planning to get away with your family this year? Organising a holiday can be stressful at the best of times – but it’s especially true when you’re travelling with children or other family members. But families with young children took the most holidays in 2018, so here are five ways to keep the stress to a minimum, and plan a vacation the whole family can enjoy:
1. Choose your destination wisely
This is one of the most important decisions you will make during the planning stage. Getting the destination right is the first step on the road to a stress-free family holiday.
Think about the people you’re travelling with. How old are they? What are their interests? What activities are they likely to enjoy? Consider everyone’s needs –both adults and children – to make sure there will be something to keep everyone happy when you get there.
2. Take the essentials with you, but don’t overpack
Although it’s not usually a big deal if you forget something, ensuring you have all the essentials with you will save you time and stress at your destination. For example, make sure you have enough of any medication you may require – and know where to get more once you’re out there in the event of an emergency.
But think carefully about your packing list. You do not need to take the entire house with you. The kids will get by with only a handful of toys – and you can always wear items of clothing twice, washing them if necessary. Packing light will make both journeys much easier – hopefully leaving you with hands free to tend to any small people.
3. Leave extra time for everything
This one is so important. If you’re in a rush, you can almost guarantee something will go wrong. A child will get sick, all traffic lights will turn red as you approach them – and you’ll arrive at the airport feeling flustered, disorganised and with little time to spare.
This is stress you don’t need. Factor in more time than you think you need for the journey. And remember: holidays are supposed to be fun.
4. Get mobile
When you’re organising a trip with the whole family, you need to make it as simple as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to plan the entire trip on your mobile.
You can now do pretty much everything from your phone, making in-app purchases as the tap of a button. Many airports now even allow you to use e-tickets on your mobile phone, which will save you from rummaging around in a backpack for your boarding passes.
Research suggests more and more people are doing this too, with 48% of smartphone users in the US happy to research and book their entire trip using a mobile device.
5. Plan well, and book activities in advance
Once you’ve booked flights and accommodation, it can be tempting to leave the rest of the planning when you get there. Although this can sometimes work, and you might get some last minute deals when you arrive, it can also add to the holiday stress.
Instead, take control of the planning and get everything booked before you go. Let other family members have some input in coming up with the final list of activities, but make the final decisions before you leave. That way, you’ll be able to switch off and enjoy everything you’ve already arranged. Doing it this way will reduce any family squabbles on the trip – as everyone already knows what’s happening on each day.
As always, however, this is a delicate balance. Plan, but don’t over-plan. Make sure you leave some free time to relax, explore, and enjoy any new discoveries at your leisure.