Going on an adventure with all the family in tow can be a fantastic, fun-filled experience but there’s certainly a chance that things could go awry if you’re not fully prepared. Wherever you go, keeping everyone in your clan happy can be a bit of a balancing act.
That’s why we’ve asked our favourite family bloggers for some help, and they were more than happy to provide us with tips, advice and last-minute pointers to make sure your little ones are content when on holiday.
Why Holiday with Young Kids?
There’s nothing quite like a great family holiday. Everyone’s together creating new memories and having all sorts of fun along the way, whatever far-flung destination you’re travelling to.
Jenny, A Travelynn Family
For Jenny, holidaying with the kids is all about starting the travel bug early. They’ll soon grow up, so to her, it’s a must that families see the world when they’re at a young age.
“Now is the time to travel with your kids! Don’t leave it until they’re older – family travel is all about spending time together, bonding and creating memories to last a lifetime.
“Once kids are in the school, travel can become inflexible and expensive! Do something adventurous that you’ll remember and cherish. Just ensure you travel slow, allow for downtime, play every day and pack LOTS of snacks”.
Planning & Before You Leave
Thorough planning and packing is essential on any holiday. Add some little ones into the mix, and your list of what to pack and where to go dramatically increases. Here’s what our bloggers recommend.
Claire, Tin Box Traveller
Use the packing and planning stage as a way of letting them learn about decision-making like Claire does. It’s a nice method of instilling some independence in them when they’re impressionable.
“I allow my girls to pack their bags as I believe it’s a good opportunity to think about the number of days we are away, how hot or cold it might be, and what activities we might be doing in the place we visit.
“We recently got some LittleLife wheelie suitcases for the girls, which they love as they feel like ‘big luggage’ but are easy for them to pull round. They also hold an extraordinary number of kids’ clothes as well as the odd toy”.
Jo Addison, Kiddie Holidays
Ensuring they’ll be happy during the holiday goes without saying, but make sure you’ve read up on where you’re going just in case. Jo recommends being as thorough as possible when doing so.
“Do your research, and make sure you stay somewhere really family friendly! If you’re travelling with babies and toddlers, make sure you book somewhere which offers all the essential items including travel cots and highchairs – see if they provide things like pushchairs and bed guards too!
“Book a cruise that’s child-friendly. In my experience, happy kids mean happy parents so if there is a soft play, onboard cinema or kids pool, they’re content and you’ll be able to relax, too. Spend the first day onboard looking for quiet areas or lounges for when they need a change of scenery, or for smaller children to let off steam.
“Eating is important too; often children want to eat earlier than adults. I’d recommend having a look into food options beforehand to find a place which either offers a Children’s High Tea or is open early. Try to avoid the combination of a tired, hungry child!
“Finally, I never travel anywhere without my trusty portable blackout blinds. They fit windows off all size and they keep the room nice and dark, so I get a bit of a lie in!”
Marta Correale, Learning Escapes
For Marta, it’s all about having the right storage at hand, especially if the kids start to get a bit fed up.
“Invest in a good travel backpack. It’s incredible how much they simplify getting around. Your hands are free to hold your baby or run after your toddler without fear of leaving stuff behind.
“They work great as carry-on bags for plane journeys too: some models are cabin-approved, and you can have them with you at all times. The best ones, in my opinion, are those that open like a suitcase because you don’t have to rummage for ages to get what you need. You know how it goes: the toy your child is demanding is sure to be at the bottom of the bag!”
While You’re on Holiday
You’ve packed everything, made the journey and now you’re ready to enjoy your holiday. Keep these things in mind and make the most of your time with your loved ones.
Ting, My Travel Monkey
Stress levels tend to be high while you’re away. Ting recommends letting go – you’re on holiday so the usual schedules and rotas don’t apply.
“Relax and go with the flow. Rigid routines aren’t going to work when you’re away. Being tied to a baby’s nap and feeding times on-the-dot will only cause you stress”.
“The whole point of getting away is just that – so bear with one or two weeks of unusual eating habits and sleep times. It’s not great, but I’ve been known to let my eldest son live on chips when he’s being particularly fussy on holiday!”
Lisa Jane, Travel Loving Family
Lisa always heeds three tips when she’s cruising the seas. These excellent rules of thumb ensure the kids don’t get agitated while you’re on the move.
“Avoid the crowds at peak dining times when cruising or holidaying with kids to make your holiday much less stressful. During breakfast and lunch, we would go to the formal dining rooms which were usually very quiet. In the evenings, we would go to the buffet restaurant, when they were much less busy, and it didn’t matter if our kids made a bit of noise.
“Make friends with your cabin steward. I tipped mine well and in return, he brought us milk for our mini bar fridge, snacks, extra towels, etc. He even showed my son how to make towel animals. He truly did make our cruise; my son would go over at every opportunity to chat away with him.
“If sailing from Southampton, make sure you take some warmer clothes. The first and last sea day can be breezy going through the Bay of Biscay. Take wetsuits so the kids can comfortably use the pools on these days too.”
Nell Heshram, Pigeon Pair and Me
Nell recommends the element of surprise. There’s nothing like seeing their faces light up when you treat them, and this top tip definitely helps to create a sense of fun from the start of the holiday right til the end.
“Family trips work well when you combine the familiar with a few exciting surprises. Top of the packing list – under passports, cash and spare underwear – has to be that favourite cuddly toy, or comfort blanket. A forgotten comforter can be almost as disastrous as a mislaid passport.
“At the same time, make sure there are some little surprises lined up, to keep youngsters interested. For a long journey, prepare by gift-wrapping a few inexpensive toys or stationery. Then the kids can open the parcels along the way.
“Believe me, a simple colouring book holds their attention a lot more easily when it comes wrapped in sparkly paper! And, to beat those back-to-real-life blues, why not do a ‘secret Santa’ of souvenirs? Buy small gifts along the way, it’ll make for a fun afternoon reminiscing the day after you get home.”
Clare Nicholas, Emmy’s Mummy
Keeping it varied is key to Clare’s holidays. Something that both parent and child can enjoy is an important factor too, so see if you can strike a balance between fun and learning, even if it’s just a day out.
“As a family with two young children, we love adventures – and just because the kids are young doesn’t mean it has to all be about beaches and parks. When travelling, we try to balance out the time with things for us and things for the kids – something fun and then something where they can learn, too.
“Some of our favourite days out are to castles, forts or nature reserves. The plus side is those are often cheaper, too – but we all have lots of fun.”
Elizabeth Callaghan, Wander Mum
Similar to Ting, Elizabeth stresses the importance of chilling out. Chances are things might get trying or difficult, so it’s important to let a cooler head prevail.
“When travelling with children, take it slow and have patience. Be prepared to stop when needed (ice creams are always a good distraction) and if you have young children, take a pushchair or baby carrier when out and about so they can rest their legs or have a sleep.
“I like to let my daughters contribute to the itinerary too, whether it’s their choice of attraction, restaurant or favourite beach. It’s good to get a balance so everyone in the family is happy and gets the most out of the holiday”.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article. If you’re looking to get away with the family, head over to our homepage to see our latest cruise deals today, or give our friendly customer care team a call on 0808 2746 777.