Going on a family holiday can be a great way to decompress and connect with your loved ones. But depending on the size and the age of your family members, certain challenges may come up. However, with the right preparation, it’s always possible to avoid the worst and make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible. Here are a few simple tips every family can follow to make sure they avoid a disaster on their next trip.
Research as Much as You Can
With all the resources available, there is no reason to arrive at any destination unprepared, especially if you’re travelling with children. You can look at travel blogs, family friendly forums, YouTube or review sites online. Try to get information from other parents, as well as other demographics, to get new ideas and different opinions on your destination of interest.
Choose the Right Accommodation
You have to make sure that you choose accommodation wisely when travelling with children. If you want to enjoy some sleep and enjoy maximum comfort, you should think about getting sleeping arrangements with separate rooms. Try to go for something with a one or two-bedroom suite instead of a regular hotel room. It might cost a little bit more, but at the end of the day, you don’t want to wake up every five minutes either. The more sleep you get in, the more energy you’ll have for activities during the day.
Furthermore, if everyone has to stay in the same small room, then you have to synchronise sleeping times as well. That means that if everybody is knocked out cold at 9 PM, you have to go to bed too. But if you want to read a book, watch a movie or have a drink before you go to bed, a separate room will give you more independence.
Be Ready for Travel Issues
Airports can be a nightmare for families, so make sure that you are prepared once you get there. The first thing you should do is ensure you arrive on time. If you have children, that means planning in advance, so you are ready for any last-minute problems. Deciding how much leeway you need to get to the airport on time will depend on tons of factors, like parking, your airline, where the airport is located, the time of the day, etc. Make sure that you have all the details the day before your flight, so you know what time you should leave your house.
If you’re leaving at special times of the year, like school holidays, for instance, you’ll have to be prepared for the crowds at the airport. This will add to your preparation time. Cancellations and delays are more common during peak season, so make sure that you are aware of your flight delay compensation rights. You will be happy to know that if you are eligible to make a claim, you and each member of your family could be entitled to as much as €600 if you suffer the inconvenience of a flight delay.
Get Familiar with Long-Term Parking Accommodations
If you’re travelling with a family, then you should definitely consider long-term parking as well. You’ll most likely want to get to the airport with your own vehicle and have it waiting for you once you get back. Going for long-term parking is more affordable than many might think and is a great convenience.
But you also have to know the workings of the particular parking service you’re going to opt for. They have to be able to take care of you in a timely manner, or else you’ll have to factor this in into your preparation time as well. Some services might have a shuttle service that isn’t terribly frequent, so that’s always something you have to always bear in mind.
Consider Getting a Ride
If the parking service route is too stressful for you, you can always consider asking a family member or close friend to take you to the airport too. However, you have to make sure that it’s somebody you can rely on and is familiar with the area. If their car isn’t big enough to accommodate your family, you can always let them drive yours (if they are insured).
Take Advantage of Online Check-In
You should try to check-in online if possible. This will take a lot of the hassle out of the boarding process. You’ll be able to print your boarding passes from home and expedite the whole process.
When you check-in online, you’ll also have the opportunity to choose your seating arrangements. This is handy when you are travelling as a family and would like to sit together.
Always make sure that you get the seats assigned ahead of time before booking or make a phone call before the flight, so you can make the arrangements. Priority check-ins are also a lifesaver when you have tons of luggage and have a large family.
Besides proximity, you also have to take many factors into consideration when picking flights. For instance, if you happen to be travelling with an infant, then you should consider going for a seat near the back of the plane. Most of the time, empty seats are near the back, so you’ll have an extra free seat around you, which will allow you to stretch out a little. Another advantage is, you’ll be much closer to the toilets, which will make things much more convenient if you have to make frequent trips.
You’ll also be closer to the flight attendant and have quicker assistance if you need it.
Only Carry What You Need
Luggage is another major challenge when travelling with kids. Trying to keep the essentials with you on the flight can be a balancing act. With children, it’s easy to overpack, especially if you have younger children to attend to. But don’t overestimate what can fit in that little carry-on of yours.
Consider Renting Equipment
If you want to pack as light as possible, try to see what you could actually rent once you get to your destination instead of carrying it with you. Most destinations that are very popular with families will have everything from strollers, car seats, high chairs and even cribs that parents can rent for their little ones.
Availability will all depend on the time you’ll be there, the specific location, and how long you’re thinking of using the items, so make sure you work out these details ahead of time to avoid surprises.
Get Travel Insurance
This one should be self-explanatory, but it’s still surprising to see how many people downplay the importance of travel insurance, especially when they have kids. If you have a child that happens to be prone to accidents or has food allergies, for instance, you never know when you might have to make a trip to the hospital. And you never know how much a hospital bill will end up costing you, so always take out travel insurance.
Going on a family holiday can be a fulfilling experience, as long as you plan properly for it. Make sure that you follow the advice in this article if you want your family to remember this trip for years to come.