Escape Travel's Holiday Reviewer, Bianca Wordley, shares with us her top tips for family travel. Everything from how to keep the kids entertained to making sure you pack with a purpose. Along with her husband and three daughters, Bianca is always up for an adventure, whether it's camping locally or heading to far-flung places overseas.
TIP 1 - Saving for a Holiday
It can be hard to find enough money to just pay the bills sometimes, but when saving for a holiday every dollar counts. The most important thing to do is set a goal, cut out frivolous spending and stick to your savings plan. When you’re swimming in a pool in a tropical paradise it’ll all be worth it.
TIP 2 – Holiday Healthy Eating
One of the first things you should do on a holiday is find your local supermarket. Load up on fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, bread, cheese, cereal and healthy snacks. You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also be able to make healthy meals, instead of filling up on junk food.
TIP 3 – Keeping Kids Entertained on the go
The age of your children will dictate what you can do to keep them entertained. Bringing their favourite toy, pencils and a colouring book and a couple of reading books will always help. For older kids, you can’t go past an iPad, smart phone or hand-held computer game. Don’t forget headphones.”
TIP 4 – Getting Alone Time on a Family Holiday
Family holidays can be just like being at home with a different view. As parents it’s hard to get a break. Before you travel, pre-book a babysitter. That way you get at least one night to relax. Also give each other time to go out alone, nap, get a massage or simply spend the morning eating breakfast and reading the paper.
TIP 5 – Packing with a Purpose
When I pack, I have a checklist and pack the least amount I think we can get away with. Unless we’re going camping, I know we can always buy extra clothes if we need them and the in-room washing machine is my friend. I never over pack, it means more to carry and when we’ve got car seats to bring, that’s the last thing we need.
TIP 6 – Traveling with Kids
The most important tip I have for traveling with kids is make sure you include rest days in your itinerary. Kids like to be busy, but it’s also important to make sure they have some down time to recharge - like an early dinner at the hotel, a movie and some time to themselves to play or draw or read a book.”
TIP 7 – Room Choice for your Family
Once we had more than one child we started booking two-bedroom accommodation. That way at night we could stay up later watching a movie or having dinner without waking the kids. It also gives everyone a bit of space and the kids have somewhere to turn into a playroom.
TIP 8 – Before you Fly
There are a few essentials you must take care of before taking an overseas trip with kids. Most importantly are passports and visas. They’re relatively quick and easy to obtain, but remember to budget for the extra costs. Next, make sure your kids have had all their necessary vaccinations and remember to put a first aid kit together. And don’t forget to notify your kids’ school or childcare center.
TIP 9 – It’s Not All About the Kids
Just because you have children doesn’t mean the whole holiday has to revolve around them. It’s your holiday too. When we go away we make sure everyone gets to pick an activity. Each day we do one thing that is purely for the kids and one thing for the adults too. That way everyone has fun.
TIP 10 – Getting Kids Involved
When your kids aren’t babies anymore they love to be involved in all the big decisions you make as a family. When it comes to traveling, give them some jobs, whether it be packing their favourite toy or getting friends’ addresses for postcards. Get a map out and show them where you’ll be traveling, do some research about the country and give them something to be excited about.