Wednesday, 15 August 2018

SUMMER: How to Prepare for your Family Holidays

SUMMER: How to Prepare for your Family Holidays
If you're lucky enough to be heading away as a family this summer then there is a high chance you have lists all over your house, on your phone and stuck to the fridge door with things you need to do before going away. As soon as you become a parent you say goodbye to spending hours browsing for the perfect peaceful accommodation (priorities being the number of sun loungers, minimal children around and a well stocked bar), instead you find yourself drawn towards the places that have entertainment for the children, swimming pool with some sort of sea creature inspired slide and anywhere that isn't too far away. For many of us, just the idea of flying 10+ hours with young children is enough to shut down your computer and stop the holiday searches there and then. Places like France, Majorca, Spain, Germany, Holland, Ibiza and Italy seem so much more feasible or there is always the good old staycation option.

I have to be honest I am one that loves nothing more than escaping somewhere in the UK; you can travel in the 'peace' of your own car, it's not generally too hot and we don't have to squeeze everything we need into a couple of suitcases. We have been to Iceland when I was pregnant with Poppy, which was absolutely incredible and we'd love to return one day. The flight with Isabella really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and being able to explore another country and culture was an experience I'll never forget. But that was back when it was two parents on one child, now we have two children I am nervous about the idea of flying again. Having said that we are already planning a holiday abroad for next year, as it will be the last summer before Isabella starts school and we have to be constraint to school holidays. 
Preparation is key whenever you go away as a family, whether that be in your own country or abroad. Below are some of the ways you can prepare for a successful family holiday:

Pack snacks
It goes without saying, but take enough snacks to last the whole holiday and some more. Especially if you are going abroad and have younger children, you may not be able to find suitable snacks easily so by taking your own you are ensuring that everyone is happy, well fed and they always double up as a source of bribery too. Some of my favourite more compact snacks to take away for the children are: rich tea biscuits, raisins, child-friendly bars and breadsticks. 
Write a list
...or ten! Make a list for:
  • Things to pack in advance (clothes, underwear, swim suits, camera etc.)
  • Things to pack on the day you travel (phone chargers, make-up, toothbrushes etc.)
  • Things you need for the holiday (e.g. passports, travel documents, plug adapters etc.)
  • Things to do before the holiday (e.g. convert money, read the latest reviews for your accommodation, check dates on passports etc.) 
  • Things to pack in a see-through clear bag (e.g. anything under 100ml that you want on the flight)

Make an itinerary 
Ok, so this may be a step too far for some people, but I find it really helps. I never make a really detailed itinerary where I state exactly what we're doing each day and at what times because that has the risk of taking the fun out of the holiday. However, what I do do is research days out, places to visit and restaurants we'd like to eat at while away so that we have some kind of focus. My husband and I are awfully indecisive, so having a focus prior to going on holiday helps us make the most of everyday.
Organise travel insurance 
Another piece of holiday admin, but one that is so important for every holiday you take abroad. You can either organise single trip travel insurance or an annual policy, depending on how often you go away. Places like Bupa offer travel insurance at very reasonable prices with many additional benefits including: in-house Bupa support team, U.S included as standard, many holiday activities and extreme sports covered, pre-existing and chronic conditions considered, travel cover while pregnant and no excess to pay on medical expenses. To find out more about Bupa travel insurance click here
Don't over pack
Planning out your outfits can help with this because for some reason as soon as I start packing for a holiday I panic and chuck everything in. Ask yourself if you really need three spare outfits 'just in case'?, chances are you don't. Think about what you're going to be doing while on holiday and pack accordingly, be concise and think 'holiday capsule wardrobe'.
Save children's entertainment 
Using up all of the magazines, toys, board games and books you've taken to keep your children entertained in the first hour of the flight is never going to end well. One of the most helpful tips I was given by a fellow mummy was to hide away a magazine or little toy, something that could be used on the way back from the holiday and hadn't already been played with. Having a smooth flight out on holiday is important, but spare a thought for yourself on the flight home and save some of your children's entertainment until then.


What are your top tips for preparing for a holiday?


Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :) 


Helen x


*Thank you so much to Bupa for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own and 100% honest.
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23 comments

  1. Great tips! I've been taking capsule wardrobes with me this summer, which has worked really well. We need the space in the suitcases for all the kid's stuff!

    The one tip I would add is, don't be afraid to throw out your itinerary if it's not working for your family. With our trip to the Cotswolds recently, it was clear that my itinerary of endless gardens and National Trusts was exhausting everyone, so we had to throw it out and go to the zoo instead. I think everyone had a better time once we did that!

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  2. Great tips! Thank you for sharing. Lots of new parents do have such an unexpectedly difficult time planning a trip with their kids so this really helps!

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  3. Great tips. I always make sure I pack plenty of snacks as the kids tend to get hungry often when we travel. Then the complaining starts if mummy isn't prepared.

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  4. Yep, it's all about the preparation! Then you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your hard work.

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  5. Travelling with young children really needs to be well planned and thought through. This is a really useful post to help with that. It can certainly help relieve the stress. It does get easier as they get older though. Our son went on a 9 hour flight to Florida and it went really smoothly....even not going to sleep until 1am!

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  6. These are some great tips! I always like to have a rough itinerary whenever I go on holiday so I know what we're going to be doing each day. Otherwise we end up wasting so much time trying to decide what to do and where to eat!

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  7. We always take an activity bag and hide some bits in the suitcase to switch it up a bit. They are easier to entertain the older they get

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  8. They're great tips. Holiday insurance is a must, especially when travelling with kids. We've had to use it once and I'm so glad we had it!

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  9. I'm an over packer. I do it every time and curse myself for doing so.

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  10. List are critical, I'm always making lists whenever I'm going anywhere, I hate to be left short lol!

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  11. I nodded my head to all of the above! We recently came back from Paris on the plane which is only a very short flight thankfully. Snacks is a definite must!

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  12. I think a plan is very important especially if you have kids. Some great tips here. Something to kids (and Mr W!) entertained is essential and snacks too.

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  13. These are great tips! I have one of these holidays lists up in the kitchen. I find with some great preparation traveling is never as bad as you think.

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  14. I am so bad when it comes to packing, I always end up with unnecessary luggage. Thanks for the wonderful tips xx

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  15. It's all in the preparation, so that when you get there there's nothing to worry about.

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  16. Really good tips. I always pre plan and writing a detailed list is a great way to prepare x

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  17. Travel,insurance would be a must for me as I have a illness that could need insurance in places abroad if something went wrong. I love the idea of holding a toy back for the journey home

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  18. What a great guide. I'm a serial overpacker so could learn something from this!

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  19. Schools in Edinburgh went back this week, but we did go on holiday this Summer. My parents live in Germany, which means we can have cheap holidays 'abroad' (my boys love visiting them).

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  20. This is great. I definitely think that having a plan helps, especially when you have little ones and don’t want the time to slip away. Which it always seems to do.

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  21. Amazing tips... I usually plan to the letter... We've just returned from our holiday and I didn't make any lists (soooo unlike me) and surprisingly I didn't forget anything.

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  22. These are some great tips! We went to Devon and it was like a military planned operation, with three kids we had to plan right down to the last thing x

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