We recently went on a family holiday to Florida, including the grandparents, and we had such a lovely time. We got to explore new places, spend some quality time together and we’ve also had a chance to really relax (yes, even with 2 small children!).
I think I’ve learned a thing or two when it comes to planning a family holiday, so I thought I’d share a few tips with you:
1. Pack the essentials. I know the urge of packing extra (‘just in case’), but travelling as light as you possibly can with kids makes moving around far simpler. If you happen to find yourself missing something, you can buy or rent it at your destination! We rented a cot and high chair when we arrived and bought things like wipes and nappies when we were there.
2. Book airport transfers and car rentals well in advance, and ask what kind of car seat they can provide – because you don’t always have to lug your own. This really helps to avoid stressful situations filled with bags, prams, car seats and more. We bought a little portable playpen at the local K-Mart, and it was genius for the beach, providing shade and a safe play area for the baby. At the end of our trip, we donated it to a local women and children’s shelter.
3. Pick evening flights. It can be a huge help. Many parents recommended it and it actually worked quite well for us. Kids are more likely to fall asleep and we usually try to mimic their usual evening routine so that after dinner and one (or two!) bedtime stories we can all enjoy some sleep.
4. Buy travel insurance for the family. Make sure to get one as soon as you’ve booked your holiday. Many credit card companies offer complimentary insurance, just look into your coverage a few weeks before your trip and you’ll be good to go!
5. Find a family-friendly location. We usually look for playgrounds, parks to stroll or ride our bikes around, interactive museums to pique the children’s curiosity or a farm to spend some time with animals. Mackenzie is also militant about checking reviews of places in advance. As much as I often laugh at him for doing this – it has been a real help in finding out if places are kid friendly or not!
6. If you’ll be there for an extended period of time, consider local babysitters – you can vet them online ahead of time – or you can look into your hotel’s childcare service. If it’s somewhere I know a friend or two, I will always ask them for advice. For example, we are planning a trip to Barbados, where a friend of mine used to live, and I’m picking her brains for a trustworthy babysitter. I’d always rather start with a trusted mate’s advice, and Google things second.
7. Plan activities ahead. We don’t have a schedule on holiday, but at the same time, we like to have one activity planned for each day to explore or do something special. Especially in peak season, restaurants can book up, and buying tickets to theme parks on the day is a lot more expensive than seeking out a discount deal in advance.
I’ve curated a list of my essentials when travelling with the fam. You can find it here.