Despite being fraught with the additional responsibility of keeping children safe, happy and
engaged while abroad, family vacations are one of the most genuinely rewarding parts of
parenting. Whether jetting off for a week in the sun or getting abroad a cruise ship to sample many
different destinations, the best way to ensure these trips are hassle-free is to plan every detail
adequately. This includes both the holiday and the adjustments you’ll make for your children so
that you’re never left regretting a lack of foresight. Here are some things to bear in mind while
planning your next family vacation.
Destination and Route
If you’re a parent who was used to adventurous or ‘adult’ vacations in the past before you had
children, you’ll need to adjust your expectations and planning specifications when there are little
ones in the picture. This much you’ll know instinctively, although there is a chance you may still
end up in a distant land as the sun is setting, without a hotel booked in a busy and confusing city,
with your children crying at your side. Ironing out any possibilities like this is an important step to
planning a successful and memorable family vacation.
You may also want to think of new types of holiday in different types of destination then you used
to visit as a young adult. Backpacking around India is simply too difficult to achieve with children in
tow. Likewise, a tour of European castle towns might be exactly what you’re excited to do next time
you fly off for a holiday. However, you’ll need to bear in mind that children will get bored and need
some things in your holiday plan to keep them interested, whether that be a trip to a waterpark or
simply the inclusion of some child-friendly activities.
What to Pack
Your children won’t be able to pack for themselves; you’ll need to make sure that all the stuff you
take on your trip is packed in advance and with your children’s and family’s needs in mind. Often,
this will mean no particular adjustments to your own packing regime, though you may find that your
kids’ wardrobes are lacking in comfortable summer or holiday-type clothing. If this is the case,
head over to Nickis to purchase some stylish kids’ clothing for their upcoming holiday, ensuring
they’re going to be comfortable and photogenic while you travel.
Other than clothing, it’s a smart idea to pack some essentials that get frequently used at home,
perhaps wet wipes, toilet roll, ketchup for fussy eaters, or night lights for kids’ sleeping. Also
include some games or activities for your children to do in the inevitable downtimes in your trip, like
waits in the airport or trips in buses or on trains that are boring and irritating for children. Pack a little more than you expect you’ll need, and make sure there’s enough to keep bored kids occupied.
Nearly all holidays require some form of a medical kit, whether it be just a few painkillers and
plasters or something more substantial, but when children are in the picture, it’s best to pack a
large assortment of emergency medical materials, and especially those that apply to children. For
example, if you are heading to a sunny climate, ensure the correct sunscreen goes with you, and
one who will protect your little ones delicate skin too.
Medical kits vary from holiday to holiday but knowing your children and the risks associated with
the country you’re visiting will dictate somewhat the contents of your pack. You may decide to take
some anti-inflammatories if visiting a country with stinging or biting insects; anti-histamines for
heavily-pollinated countries; or pills to help with dodgy tummies if you anticipate that your children
might not take too kindly to the food.
As with any trip taken abroad, you will need passports for all travelers. Children’s passports go out
of date faster than adult ones, and so it’s crucial that ahead of time you check the validity of your
documents to avoid disasters just before you fly. That’s as well as sorting out some reliable and all-
encompassing insurance to keep you and your family safe in the peace of mind that, in the worst of
eventualities, you’ll be able to get medical support without breaking the bank.
Then there are visas to sort out, with photocopies of passports, visas, passport photos, and all
other documentation stored reliably in a documents wallet to avoid any disastrous losses caused
by theft or damage by rain. It’s no fun being all at sea when it comes to holidaying with children, a
time when you’re meant to be showing your adult parenting prowess, so make sure you’re
watertight on your documentation to avoid embarrassing and disruptive slip-ups.
Try New Things
Having children can open you up to a host of new experiences that you wouldn’t have really
considered when you were a single young adult or even when you traveled with a partner or with
friends. You may have once turned your nose up at heading to waterparks or theme parks, or to hit
up lovely family-friendly hotels and child-friendly restaurants, but now that you have children, you
might find that trying all these things actually comes as something of a pleasant surprise.
The best family holidays have the right balance of what the parents want to get out of it and what
the children need to keep them entertained and engaged. There is simply no use taking young
ones to see some 14th-century cathedrals or some Pacific island battlefields; you can’t expect
them to be all that interested. However, if you research a place you’d like to visit, you’ll easily be
able to plan some adult excursions with child-friendly rewards dotted around them, so that the
whole family tries new things and enjoys them, too.
Family holidays go off best when there’s little stress or disasters involved, from start to finish. Use
these tips to plan your next unforgettable excursion with your children, making memories for the
whole family to reminisce over.
This post was written by Bill Clark. Bill is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about culture and the arts, however will write about anything that piques his interest including business, travel and lifestyle. He can be reached on Twitter @BilboClark01.