Tips for surviving family holidays

May 7, 2013 by Flight Centre UK

Travelling with your family can be one of the best times of your life but it can also be hard work, especially if you’re travelling with young children. We’ve asked some family travel bloggers for their top tips to survive a family holiday and they’ve got some great ideas on how to keep make sure your holiday runs smoothly and the whole family are happy.

Family sightseeing the Hong Kong skyline at the Peak

Caz Makepeace – Y Travel Blog and Mojito Mother

One of the best tips for a happy holiday is to involve your children as much as possible in the planning and during the trip. With a bit of ownership of the holiday they will be more excited and willing to ensure everyone has a great time. It will also mean their needs and interests are also catered for. Spend time talking about what they can expect on the trip, how much fun it is going to be and ways they can overcome any potential problems. Look at websites and brochures together to get those excitement levels raised! It’s amazing what a difference it makes when all travelers and prepared and excited for what lies ahead.

Cathy Winston – Mummy Travels

When you’re concentrating on the holiday, it’s easy to forget about the journey, but a bit of planning makes all the difference. If you’ve got young children, can you arrange the flights when they’re due to sleep or nap? If it’s long-haul, switch to your destination time as soon as you board, and try to adjust their routine for a few days before you go to soften the impact. And always keep some first aid, plus spare snacks, drinks and clothes (for them and you!) in case of delays or disasters.

Then make sure there’s plenty to entertain on the way – wrap up a few new toys, pass-the-parcel style, so they can enjoy discovering what’s inside.

Create a game for older children to learn about the destination, even a few words of the local language. And downloading cartoons or fun apps is a great back-up.

Family of four building sand castle on tropical beach

Melaina – Transatlantic Blonde

The best advice I can give anyone going on a family holiday is be flexible and prepare for all eventualities.  If you have enough toys and snacks and a spare top and underwear for each of you in your carry-ons it will still suck if your flight gets delayed but you won’t be stuck in dirty clothes with a bored kid. The same rule applies for when you are actually at your destination; it is great to have activities planned but maybe if it rains or you just don’t feel like doing anything other than lying by the pool playing cards that is okay. Or maybe you drive past a funky looking restaurant or an animal farm–the things you find along the way can be better than the things you planned. If you are flexible and ready for anything you’ll have a great trip!

Emma Raphael – A Bavarian Sojourn

Tips for Long Haul Flying with Children:

  • Pack baby-wipes and plenty of them, along with spare changes of clothes for everyone.
  • Bring along snacks they don’t usually have,  include things like lollipops for take-off and landing –  little ears suffer much more with the pressure.
  • Stock up on comics, activity books, stickers, small toys and pencils to hand out throughout the flight.
  • Prevent arguments by not letting siblings sit together (making it easier for you to divide your time between them)
  • Enforce a window seat rule… One gets to sit by it in one direction and vice versa.  My two don’t even care if it’s a night flight as long as they have their turn!
  • Take empty bags for rubbish (and mucky clothes).
  • Ask whether anyone needs the loo regularly and keep an eye out for smaller queues, thus avoiding a child desperate when the seat belt sign is on….
  • Audio books, tablets etc. are lifesavers.
  • Instil a no kicking seats and no shouting rule, which will keep those happy around you!

We are all too quick to grumble about children on planes, but if you’ve been travelling next to well behaved children, tell them.  It’s the little things isn’t it?

Andrea Botham – Passports and Pushchairs

Surviving Jet Lag With Kids

Getting kids over jet lag is never fun, but a few simple tricks can help. The first rule is get outside!  The fresh air and sun are natural ways to reset your body clock and get you adjusted to local time. Go for a walk, find a playground or a park, and let them run, fuelling them up on snacks and water. Let your kids nap when needed, but don’t let them nap too long; stop worrying about schedules and let your kids lead the way; don’t let them sleep too late the first morning and remember, an exciting adventure is worth a day or two of jet lag!

If you have any more tips to add to the list, please let us know in the comments below.