This is a collaborative post
Planning your first family holiday is exciting for everyone. But there’s a lot to think about — and that causes stress, especially for us already frazzled parents. We have been on holiday with the little ones a few times now, so here are some easy steps that you can take to ensure your trip is a success — and most of them can be carried out before you’ve even set off!
Plan in advance
Research potential destinations to find out what will suit your family best — will they prefer a chilled out beach holiday, a city break, or an outdoorsy trip where you can all go exploring?
Once you’ve narrowed your choices down, get children involved if they’re old enough to voice their opinion. They’re more likely to enjoy the holiday and behave themselves if you’ve listened to their input, which is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
If you’ll be travelling with very young children, be sure to make a list of all the equipment you’ll need to pack. Some accommodation may provide cots and highchairs; check with the owner and you may be able to save on luggage space.
Don’t travel too far
The stress of being in transit can make everyone tired and irritable, so the less time you spend travelling, the better. Keep it straightforward — travel from an airport or station which is close by, don’t set off very early or very late, and include transfers in your booking to avoid waiting around for a taxi.
A sunny destination only a couple of hours away should fit the bill nicely. It’ll be different enough to feel like an escape from the everyday, but won’t be drastically different to what you’re used to. You never know how children will react to being on their first holiday, after all, plus being relatively near to home will give you more peace of mind should you need to come back early.
This is especially important if your family is still growing and there’s a baby on the way. Holidaysafe suggest staying closer to home the further along you are in your pregnancy, especially if you’re in the third trimester and may need to see a doctor (check out their guide for more pregnant travel tips).
If you need to, you can always consider going on a staycation for your first family holiday, and then venture abroad when your children are a little older.
Choose your accommodation carefully
As a rule of thumb, rented accommodation like a villa, cabin, chalet or cottage is better for families than a hotel room. Not only are you less likely to disturb other guests, but you’ll also have extra privacy and more space for children to explore and play.
What to look out when choosing a place to stay:
- Child-proofed furniture
- Stair gates
- Any pools are gated
- No busy roads nearby
Comfort is your number one priority here. Young children tire out easily, which means you’ll spend a big chunk of time in your accommodation. It’s worth spending a bit more and renting the best you can afford.
Keep your activities simple and fun
First holidays are a big step for children. Rather than plan an action-packed schedule and overwhelm them with new experiences day after day, take it slow and stick to one activity at a time.
There’s plenty to keep them occupied (and safe) during a day at the beach or the park, and even a short walk somewhere new will do the trick (many towns and cities have kid-friendly treasure trails you can download). Older children may also enjoy interactive exhibits at local museums.
And if it rains? Well, there’s nearly always a play centre or kids’ club nearby for hours of indoor fun!