Travelling as a family can be tiring, expensive and a little stressful at times but with these six top tips you should be enjoying the sunshine in no time:
Avoid tourist traps
Sometimes it’s best to go off the beaten track while abroad and explore places where most tourists don’t tread. You’ll see a different side of a country, enjoy a quieter day out and perhaps learn something new about the area. This tip can be applied in most places; you could find an authentic family run pizzeria in a side street in Rome or you might love that area in Lisbon so much you’ll end up speaking to Portugal Property and nabbing a holiday home there.
Teach your kids the basics
Locals will enjoy hearing your children saying hello and please and thank you in their language and it encourages your children to embrace and respect the culture of the country they are visiting. Spend a little time getting them to learn just a few key words and ask them to use them throughout the holiday instead of their native tongue.
Take plenty of activities for travels
If you’re moving around a country a lot, via trains or buses, or taking long flights, then it’s a good idea to carry plenty of kid friendly activities with you such as colouring in books, packs of cards and action figures (try and refrain from packing the iPad or hand held games console; while it might keep them quiet you don’t want to risk losing them and you’ll need to keep them charged every five minutes).
Check ahead when it comes to cots and highchairs
Many hotels will let you hire or even provide travel cots for smaller children but it’s a good idea to check if this is the case before you leave. You don’t want to arrive somewhere and discover the sleeping arrangements aren’t ideal, and you also don’t want to pack the travel cot or pay extra for it to be classed as luggage only to find out you didn’t need it all along. Here’s a great checklist detailing everything you might need while travelling.
Plan in naps
It’s a good idea to allocate certain times of the day to naps for little ones, whether this means going back to your hotel room at a certain time or having precautions in place that allow kids to sleep in pushchairs. A one to two hour nap a day will ensure kids are refreshed for the evening, ready to eat all their dinner with no fuss and won’t be grouchy by 7pm.
Learn the history before you go
Kids can get bored trawling round historical monuments, so it’s a good idea to learn about the place before you go and pick out some of the most exciting stories about it to recall to your kids and intrigue them. Try to be as accurate as possible but no one will complain if you add some extra details to appease them – i.e. there might be a warrior princess added to the story about a battle if you have girls.
Take on some of these top tips when travelling as a family and avoid the tantrums, tears and grumpy faces that usually come with kids while abroad.
*Post in collaboration with Jessica Foreman