Some of you might be counting down to half term, some of you might be there already. The really tired ones might even be counting down to the Christmas holidays, or planning well ahead for a spring holiday. As the countdown begins, many families are likely to be preparing for a getaway break. Whether it’s caravanning on the British coast or jetting off to sunshine, travelling with children can often be stressful.
To help those of us preparing for a holiday with children, ABTA asked over 400 parents for their top tips for taking children on holiday. This countdown checklist includes the most popular tips to help you plan a smooth and fun filled trip:
Make sure you have travel insurance from the date of booking and that everyone in the family is covered, even if you’re staying in the UK. Read the small print- check you are covered for cancellations and to take your EHIC if travelling in Europe. You’ll need both. If you are a frequent flyer for work, you might find it useful to apply for a second UK passport.
10 days to go:
Do your research – make a note of child friendly events, craft workshops, play parks etc near your destination. You might find there are special deals if you book in activities in advance. Also if you plan on eating out, check out local family friendly restaurants – particularly if anyone has special dietary requirements.
Nine days to go:
Check if your accommodation offers the services you need e.g. do you need to hire any equipment such as cots or book childcare?
Eight days to go:
Write a check list of things you need to take such as passports (make sure they are valid long enough for your trip), money, insurance, medications, clothes, favourite toys, sun cream etc. I think personally I’d be checking passports well in advance of this.
Seven days to go:
If you’re travelling abroad and carrying prescribed medication, ensure it has the original doctor’s label with the patient’s name on it. Ask your GP for a letter to take with you if you have a lot of medication e.g.: for allergies & asthma. Some countries have restrictions on medication, check the government’s Travel Aware website to see if there are any restrictions in your destination.
Six days to go:
If you’re flying, check your luggage restrictions– the last thing you need is stress of not having enough baggage space just before you’re due to fly. Once you know how much you can bring, start packing early and avoid the last minute rush – wash and sort clothes in advance and start packing.
Five days to go:
Make travel fun and stress free for children as well as you. Prepare a little fun pack with snacks, stickers, a few crayons, a small game etc. for the journey in advance. I call these busy bags and they can come in really handy, especially if you are stuck in traffic or if your flight is delayed.
Three days to go:
Keep all paperwork and travel documents in one place and make one person responsible for bringing it – another tip is to scan or copy all important documents which makes them easier to replace if anything goes wrong. Protect important documents by storing them in a pouch or zip-lock bag.
One day to go:
Prepare your provisions – you’ll need plenty of snacks and water, and lots of baby wipes and anti-bacterial hand wipes. Packing your own food also means you’re guaranteed to be eating something you like and you’re not restricted to what’s available on the road or the plane. Carry a change of clothes for your kids and for you, you never know when there might be a spillage or an accident!
On the day:
Use technology and download your kids’ favourite films or game apps. If you’re travelling by car and have children who get a bit car sick, travelling early in the morning means there’s more chance they will sleep. Make sure you take lots of bags just in case. I’d add to that by saying a small towel and a potty if you are in the car can come in very handy!
You’re there, relax and have fun!
Enjoy every minute and make memories with your family.