Whether you’re opting for a staycation or jetting off to foreign climes, holidays are always a great way to spend quality time together as a family. However, especially with young children, it’s to be expected that there’ll be a few hiccups along the way. So, to pull off a smooth-running, fun and relaxing vacation for every member of the family, it pays to be prepared ahead of the event.
That’s why today, we’re offering some actionable advice for blissful family holidays. Covering everything from accommodation considerations and pre-booking activities to packing hacks and all the essentials to take, we’ll leave you feeling fully prepped and confident that everything will run like clockwork from start to finish.
Pack like a pro
A great starting point is to create a family vacation packing list, to ensure nothing essential gets left behind, whether that’s your child’s beloved teddy bear, allergy medication or worse, your travel documents. With a robust list to refer to, there’ll be less chance of leaving anything behind and it also allows you to pre-plan exactly what’s going into each suitcase. Although this may seem like a time-consuming task, it could save you valuable time rushing around at the last minute – leaving you free to start looking forward to your time away together.
In your list of essentials, it’s important not to forget things that will keep your children feeling settled and calm whilst traveling. Keep some healthy snacks and a few treats (after all you are on holiday) in your hand luggage, as well as some entertainment for the kids such as coloring pads, travel games, and their favorite toy or book. These comforting distractions could be the key to a smooth take-off and landing that can often be an unsettling time for children, especially younger ones.
When it comes to actually packing the suitcases, why not have a family packing night to get everyone involved and make it a fun experience? Whether you put on some music or incorporate some games to keep the children entertained while you’re packing, it can make this arduous task a lot more enjoyable. You can take this one step further by sharing the load of packing and carrying bags by allowing them to pack their own case (with some supervision from you, of course) and letting them carry lighter bags on the journey. This sense of responsibility can go a long way in reducing stress levels for all members.
Consider your accommodation
Before you book your holiday, it’s important to bear in mind that your choice of accommodation needs to be somewhere your kids will feel comfortable and settled. So, choosing a home-from-home option could be a great way to minimize disruption to kids in unfamiliar surroundings. This could be a fully-equipped Lanzarote villa or a house swap in France, either way, a space that combines both practical facilities for feeding and sleeping with some added extras like a private pool or kids play area will be guaranteed to please parents and kids.
If you do choose to stay in self-catering accommodation, you can further minimize the stress of the holiday grocery shop and give yourself some extra packing space by pre-ordering a supermarket delivery for bulky items like baby wipes, special food and nappies. If you’re unsure where to start, ask the accommodation provider for a recommendation of online supermarkets and use an online translator, if required. This way, you’ll be able to relax knowing you have everything you need on arrival, so you can all concentrate on getting settled in.
While there may be many things to see and do at your resort or campsite, it can be useful to pre-plan your holiday itinerary – this could be as simple as narrowing down a list of must-do activities or you can create a more robust timetable. However, the advantages of having at least a rough outline will ensure you fit in all the things you want to do while away without trying to cram too much into one trip. A good guide is to stick with one to two activities per day and allocate the rest of the time to relaxation and free time.
If you’re on a tight budget, your plan will also help you tally up an accurate estimate on how much things will cost against what you can afford. This way, you can then think about how much spending money you’ll need and save the hassle and possible added expense of booking activities at the last minute.
Once you have your itinerary sorted, check this alongside your packing list, ensuring you have everything you need for any extra-curricular activities. Although, be mindful not to overpack and take things you won’t use – remember there are often items you can buy or hire while you’re on holiday.
The trick to having a great family vacation for the whole family is planning ahead so you’re prepared for all eventualities – and we hope this post leaves you with plenty of helpful hints to make your next family vacation stress free and enjoyable, wherever you’re headed.
Nick Ball is Marketing Manager at Optima Villas and has lived on the island of Lanzarote since 2001.