6 Tips for a Hassle-Free Family Holiday

Planning for a big family vacation is almost as exciting as jetting off itself- but the fun can come with a serious side order of stress. Traveling with kids can involve all sorts of hassle, but – fortunately – most of these problems can be avoided (or reduced!) by taking a few simple steps before and during your time away. Use the tips below to help ensure that every member of the crew has a relaxing and unforgettable break.

1. Put Your Mind at Rest About Your Home

One of the biggest niggles that can affect our ability to fully relax on a well-deserved break is worries about whether everything is ok back home. From fears about a break-in to anxiety over the possibility of a plumbing leak causing havoc, it can be hard to put these things out of our minds while we’re away.

To this end, make home security a priority when planning your vacation. You may want to consider investing in or upgrading your home security system – holistic smart systems can take care of everything, from intruder prevention to monitoring for flood or fire. For even more peace of mind, check out home warranty companies – a home warranty policy means that, should the worst happen and one of your major home systems or appliances breaks down or develops a fault while you’re away, you’ll be spared the nasty bill upon returning home.

2. Check the Passport and Vaccination Situation Early

Check that the family’s passports are valid as early as possible before heading off on your break – finding out at the last minute that one or more family members have an expired passport is one of the biggest causes of stress when preparing to go on vacation. It can be a costly oversight, too, as if you need to use the expedited passport service, you’ll be charged an additional fee on top of the usual processing charge.

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Also, find out which vaccines – if any – you’ll be required to have for your holiday, and get these booked as soon as you can. This is a good time to ensure all the families’ regular vaccines are up to date, too.

3. Create a Schedule

The idea of creating a schedule for your trip may go against the grain – vacations are for relaxing and forgetting about routine, after all, right? However, having an outline of your holiday can mean that everyone gets to see the sights or enjoy the activities they’re most looking forward to and that the days are paced in such a way that the dreaded over-tiredness is less likely to rear its ugly head.

A schedule can also help you think ahead regarding transport, so you won’t need to waste time during your holiday trying to figure out train times or taxi options. You may want to consider deciding ahead of time where you’ll be eating for the first day or two while you check out the lay of the land to ensure that there’s no risk of hungry kids and stressed-out adults!

4. Factor in Downtime

As part of the planning, it’s also important to remember that, especially when holidaying with kids, factoring in sufficient downtime will help things remain stress-free. It’s tempting to cram every moment with exciting activities, but allowing for unstructured periods of calm during the day means every member of the family stays on an even keel!

How does this look in practice? If you’re planning on hitting a theme park, for example, it’s a good move to get there as early as possible, enjoy a morning of fun and excitement, followed by a leisurely lunch, and then the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach or by the hotel pool. This also takes into account many toddlers’ need for a post-lunch nap.

5. Preparing for the Flight

Flying with children can be a major headache, especially if you’re jetting off to a far-flung destination. The key to making this part of the trip hassle-free is in the planning. Have even the younger members of the clan pack a carry-on bag and help them fill it with toys and activities to keep them amused, such as stickers and coloring books, a much-loved teddy, and a few light snacks. Topping up a mobile device with a range of never-fail movies and other shows is likely to serve you well, too.

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Ensuring your kids are comfortable is an important part of avoiding a mid-air meltdown. Think comfy, stretchy clothes and layers that can be easily removed or added to. Flying in PJs is a great option!

6. Keep Your Expectations Realistic

And finally, the most important tip. While it’s absolutely normal to have super-high expectations for your vacation, recognizing that there is no such thing as ‘perfect’ is crucial to avoid stress and feelings of inadequacy. Accept that it’s inevitable that there’ll be some sort of incident, such as your toddler embarking on a noisy tantrum in a restaurant, a nappy situation on the beach, or a shouty family row at some point during the holiday.

Staying adaptable, and recognizing that these things are an inherent and universal part of family life, in all its beautiful chaos, is one of the best ways to have a hassle-free holiday that’s memorable for all the right reasons!