Thinking of planning a family holiday this year and not sure where to start, where to go or what to do?
We think family holidays are vitally important. I read an interesting article recently where Britain’s leading child psychologist, Oliver James, said that ‘parents shouldn’t be wasting hundreds of pounds on toys, they should be spending their money on holidays instead. Family holidays are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterwards in their memory’.
Holidays with your kids are meant to be fun, adventurous and relaxing so sit back and have a read of our tried and tested top tips to help ensure that you book the best holiday for you and your family, regardless of the ages of your kids.
1. Learn from previous holidays
Think back over previous holidays and trips (even days out and weekends away count) and look at what worked well and what didn’t work.
When you return from a trip, why not write a brief review of your own family holiday so that you can note what the highlights were, what everyone really enjoyed and what you wouldn’t do again. It’ll be invaluable when it comes to planning the next break.
2. What kind of accommodation will suit your family needs?
Do you look at self-catering or all-inclusive? This depends on whether or not you would like to have the option to cook when you’re away. When we’re away, part of the fun for us is visiting local markets, looking at the different foods that are available and cooking together.
Self-catering is usually more affordable so budget is likely to be an influencing factor in this decision.
3. Do some research
If you have set your heart on a particular location then spend some time looking at what’s going on there at the time of year you’ll be there. For example, will there be any special festivals on which may affect the accommodation price.
What will the temperature be like there at that time of year? If it’s going to be hot, make sure your accommodation has air-conditioning.
4. Ask the kids
If you’ve narrowed down your options to a few different places, why not talk to the kids about it, get their opinion on which place or type of holiday they would prefer. Our kids often come up with very good ideas and things we hadn’t thought about.
If you have a child in secondary school, they may enjoy the opportunity to practice the modern language that they are studying.
5. Get the kids to do their own research
When you’ve finally decided on a destination, if your children are slightly older, why not get them to do a little project on where you’re going. Go to the library or look on a kid-friendly search engine researching all that there is to do in that city or area.
Maybe get them to put a little powerpoint presentation together that they can present to the rest of the family. That way, they’ll be even more excited about the trip it before they go and will love showing off to the rest of the family when you get to visit the places or things that they had told you about.
6. Consider something different
Too often we fall into what we know, the path of least resistance, our comfort zone. We go back to the same place because it we know where the shops are and the kids like it.
They say change is as good as a rest so why not try a different kind of holiday? As the Dalai Lama said ‘Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.’
What about bringing the kids on an exciting road trip, a safari or a holiday where you try new physical activities together. It could anything from white water rafting to something a little more gentle like stand up paddling.
The kids and you might enjoy something different, yo don’t know until you try.
7. Don’t forget a city break
A holiday doesn’t have to be the traditional fortnight away in the summer. Why not consider a weekend city break in one of our neighbouring European countries.
As well as being a cost effective way to travel during school time, a weekend away will create fun memories to rival any lengthy trip further afield. However be sure to consider the ages of your children as younger kids may not enjoy this type of break.
8. Consider a multi-centre holiday
If you can’t decide, why don’t you look at having two types of holidays in one. You could combine flying into a city, spending a few days exploring there and then use public transport or a hire car to leave the city and visit the countryside or nearby beaches for a further week or so.
This is our current favourite type of family holiday as we can combine everyone’s interests into one trip.
8. Embrace the local food and culture while you’re there
As part of the planning phase, get your kids to investigate what kind of foods are grown and eaten in the country you’re going to visit.
While you’re there then, help your children to immerse in the local culture by visiting markets and local restaurants and trying some of those foods. Even fussy eaters may be more adventurous and open to trying new things.
9. Go on guided tours to get the most out of your break
We were always dubious about guided tours however having been on many tours on our recent holidays, we’re convinced that they are a great way to find out more about an area that you’re visiting.
There are so many types of guided tours available, walking tours, food tours, activity tours and most of them are family friendly.
10. Get inspired by others travel tales
There are lots of great family travel blogs out there. Here’s a list of our favourites, some of which may give you ideas on where you next dream holiday could be.
What tips can you share on how to plan the perfect family holiday?