It goes without saying that, on a family trip you can't improvise as you can with an adult trip. This doesn't mean there's no room for spontaneity, however, - quite the opposite! Here are our 10 most useful tips for preparing for your family holiday, as well as making the most of it once you arrive...
1. Choose a destination that matches your family’s needs.
Traveling with children from an early age is, contrary to popular belief, completely possible in any country! However, destination choice is important in ensuring that you get your perfect trip without a hitch.
"The ideal destination is one where children can have interesting experiences every day, where they're involved and are allowed to have fun."
The ideal destination is one where children can have interesting experiences every day, where they're involved and are allowed to have fun. Travelers with young children who want to relax while still getting a taste of adventure should consider somewhere like Indonesia or Southeast Asia, where there is loads for children to see and do, no matter their age. Those traveling with adventurous children or teenagers will love the grass plains and interesting sites of Africa, where they can see native animals everywhere they look!
Our top tip: speak to your children before deciding on a location. For instance, you could play a game with them by asking them to write down anything that they would like see on their trip. Match this up with what you're looking for as parents, and you'll find a solution to suit everyone!
2. Ask about the availability of everything that might be useful there.
From food to equipment, like travel cots, highchairs, and pushchairs, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll have access to these things in advance, to avoid any stress once you arrive. Ask your agent about practicalities such as whether or not you will need a pushchair during your trip. If you're planning a trip to a major city like Singapore or New York, a pushchair will make your trip much easier, for you and for your little ones. If you're planning a big trek, hike or exploratory trip, or if your next destination is South East Asia, a baby carrier is the answer.
In the main tourist areas, more and more agencies are set up to cater for family travelers, making sure that pushchairs, camping beds, car seats and even bottle warmers are available to rent to those who need them. A quick internet search before you set off can be extremely useful, or get in touch with one of Evaneos’ local travel agents who will be happy to advise you.
3. What to pack? Travel light!
The idea of travelling with children, isn’t always synonymous with "traveling light", but this is truly the secret to stress-free family travel. Find out about your destination's weather conditions in advance and act accordingly, to avoid bringing unnecessary items that won’t get used at all during your trip. You'll be relieved to not have to worry about giant bags during your trip! Make the most of launderette services in hotels during your stay to avoid having to pack hundreds of clothes for your kids.
4. Health: Ask your doctor for a list of medications.
Your doctor is the best possible person to tell you which medicines, lotions, or insect repellents to pack for you and your children depending on your chosen destination. Make an appointment with a doctor for a health check and get a list of essential medication. They may take up a bit of space in your luggage, but it always better to be safe than sorry.
5. Which toys should you bring?
Just as with packing your bags, it's better to focus on keeping things light. Don't worry, two or three toys will suffice, especially since all the new sights and sounds of your chosen destination are sure to keep them entertained! If long trips are necessary during your time away, try where possible to organize overnight trips so that it's less boring for them (and for you). For very long flights, opt for airlines that offer on-board entertainment.
6. Always have two essentials in your bag: Wipes and antibacterial gel.
When you're traveling, it's not always possible to wash your children's hands. Having an antibacterial gel for hand washing in your bag will make for a quick and easy alternative. Wipes are always useful, wherever you are in the world!
"Two or three toys will suffice, especially since all the new sights and sounds of your chosen destination are sure to keep them entertained!"
7. Good medical insurance: Don’t forget it!
Shop around for a travel insurance policy that best suits your needs and covers the whole family. It will enable you to access the best medical services wherever you are. Evaneos provides exclusive travel insurance for its travelers in partnership with Europ Assistance, for example. Once again, it’s better to be safe than sorry and insurance is always a good idea.
8. Get your children involved in planning your trip.
For children, travel is an incredible source of adventure and discovery. Get them involved in planning your itinerary, show them photos and videos of where you're going, and get them interested in the trip even before you set of. This way, they'll be better prepared once you arrive, especially in areas of the world where the culture is very different from yours and a bit of preparation can prevent culture shock. Turn this great adventure into a game. For older children, give them a camera to explore and permanently capture any memories of their trip or encourage them to keep a travel journal.
9. Get advice from the experts.
Getting in touch with a local agent who will organize everything for you and give you advice, assistance and support is the easiest way to ensure that you will be able to leave with complete peace of mind. A local agent can create a trip for you that takes into account your needs, the age of your children, accommodation preferences, and above all the experiences that you want to have together as a family. This will save you time and ensure a trip fully-tailored to your wishes.
"For children, travel is an incredible source of adventure and discovery. Get them involved in planning your itinerary, show them photos and videos of where you're going, and get them interested in the trip even before you set of."
10. Top tips for parents: Relax and take your time!
Planning a family vacation with kids is difficult but, not only is it possible, it can create unforgettable childhood memories. The golden rule? Be flexible! Consider the trip from a child’s point of view, even if this means that you won’t travel at the pace you would like to. Avoid planning days that are too tiring but plan just a few hours of entertainment each day instead with plenty of downtime... have a great trip!