13 Oct 12 Tips on Planning Your First Family Holiday
Family holidays create some of the fondest memories we have from our childhoods. These include memories of adventures in beautiful locations and time spent together as a family, among others. But travelling with kids can be difficult, especially for the first time. That’s why we’re sharing some help and advice to help you with planning the perfect first family holiday!
Choose the Right Location
When it comes to family holidays, it’s about finding the perfect location whether you’re looking to go away at home or abroad. Choose from lazy beach trips, city breaks, camping trips, skiing holidays or maybe somewhere like Disneyland. The choice is up to you as a family so just make sure you choose a trip that you’ll all enjoy!
With very young children, think about how long your flight will be. Babies and toddlers may struggle with long-haul flights, however the entertainment on board is much better than it used to be so you can keep them entertained. Just make sure you can sit together as a family to make life a little easier.
Choose the Right Time of Year
The date of travel when planning a family holiday can have a huge effect on the cost. Trips during the school breaks are subject to price hikes, especially during the summer period. If your child hasn’t started school yet, avoid these times by at least a couple of weeks to help keep your costs down.
With school-age children, half term and Easter breaks can be cheaper than the long summer break. If you do go in the school holidays, flying mid-week can help to cut the cost.
Finally, be aware of when the hottest seasons are before booking. In the summer months, some countries can be too hot for children during the heat of the day and can really limit what you’re able to do. Keep this in mind when booking sunny beach holidays.
Whenever you decide to go away, compare the costs for the cheapest option so you can get the best value for money.
Triple Check Your Passports
It’s better to be safe than sorry when planning a family holiday! Check your passports before booking, after booking and a few weeks before the trip. Make sure each one is valid and that your children have the appropriate type of passport.
You should also see whether a visa is needed for your trip. If so, make sure to complete this ahead of time.
Book Your Accommodation
Over the last few years, the different types of accommodation you can stay in while on holiday has expanded. These include hotels, private apartments and villas, resorts, and of course Airbnb. Check out the location, amenities and facilities available and choose somewhere that has everything you need.
Keep an eye out for safety aspects. If your child is very young, it might be best to avoid tile floors and open staircases.
Some resorts will offer entertainment to keep your kids busy and even provide childcare. If this is something you’re looking for, hotels and resorts will often be best. Check out the reviews for a better idea of the quality of these services.
Learn Some Basic Phrases
Does your country of choice speak a different language to you? Learn some basic phrases to make your trip easier! Locals always appreciate it when you make an effort, especially when ordering food and drinks. With these types of phrases, a little goes a long way!
Try to learn at least the following:
“Can I have a table for X please?”
“Can I have a glass of water please?”
“I’d like X tickets to X please.”
“How much does it cost?”
“Do you speak English?”
“Can you take me to X please?”
You can also use a phrasebook or phone app to help you when you’re out and about.
Arrange How You Can Get Around
When planning a family holiday, it’s important to think about travel. Depending on where you’re going and the transport links they have available, there will likely be three types of transport options: walking, public transport and connections or renting a car.
Renting a car has some of the biggest pros and cons. The main draw is you’re given the freedom that isn’t available with any other option. However, if the country you’re visiting drives on the opposite side of the road, some drivers may not be confident. If you do opt for driving, take your time and get used to the controls in a quiet place before you drive on busy roads.
Public transport and taxis can be great options for visiting places, especially in a city. Just make sure to do some research into ticket types and how to ask for them!
Research the Local Cuisine
If your child is a fussy eater, it’s recommended you research the local food before your holiday. If the chances are high they’re not going to like it, make sure you know where a local supermarket is so you can pick up something they do like.
In some cases, it’s possible to carry some food with you, even if you’re flying. Dry and non-perishable food will be your best bet. Contact the airline ahead of time for more information so you can make the journey easier.
Plan Some Activities
When you’re planning a family holiday, try to find some suitable activities for you and your kids to do ahead of time. Websites like TripAdvisor let you see the best things to do in an area and look at what previous visitors thought.
Paying for your activities before the trip can help save you money and free up the cash you have with you. Just make sure you take a copy of your reservation documents along with you!
Check for Immunisations
Depending on where you’re from and where you’re going, you and your family may need to be immunised before your trip. The time you have to get the immunisation before the trip varies so make sure you check with your doctor or pharmacist
Pack the Essentials
Packing for your first family trip can be complicated, especially if going abroad. You need to strike a balance between covering yourself for every inevitability while sticking to the weight restrictions if flying. We’ve created a list of the essential items that we recommended taking with you for the majority of trips:
– Travel documents
– Travel plug adaptor
– Travelling & holiday entertainment
– Travelling snacks
– Sun hats & sunglasses
– Weather appropriate clothing (if you can access a washing machine, you won’t need to take as much)
– Toiletries (under liquid restrictions of flying)
– Activity clothing (swimming costumes, etc.)
– Children’s necessities (nappies, wipes, food, bottles, etc.)
Plan How to Access Your Money
Using a debit card when you’re abroad could lead to a much higher interest rate compared to what you would receive at home. To avoid these charges and keep your money safe, use a combination of cash purchased at home along with a prepaid card or card with the best exchange rate. Monzo and other banks offer preferential exchange rates without additional charges. Check with your bank to see what you’ll receive.
Before you travel, notify your bank of the dates you’ll be away. This can be done by phone and in some cases on online banking. Letting them know you’re away helps to prevent your card from being blocked.
Once you get to your accommodation, split up your money and store it in a safe place. Try to avoid taking all your cash out with you in one go.
Save the overseas number of your bank on your phone. If the worst happens and you need to cancel your card, you’ll be able to do so without panicking!
Buy travel insurance to make sure you and your family are covered for the trip once all the planning is done. You can buy annual insurance or individual trip cover. Your travel insurance should protect you against any costs you’ll incur if something goes wrong during your trip.
Comparison websites are a reliable tool for both annual and one-off cover. You can find the cheapest price for the highest level of cover with quick and easy comparisons. Make sure you’re at least covered for the basics for every trip abroad!