Taking Your First Holiday With the Kids

Long Travel

Holidays can be a tiring and frenetic experience for even the most seasoned traveller but, when it comes to taking the children with you for the first time, it’s an entirely different ball game. With extra baggage to pack and carry, easily-bored minds to entertain during long journeys and children’s activities to plan throughout your stay, taking a holiday with the kids for the first time could rapidly become an experience you will wish to forget.

The key to a successful family holiday is careful planning and anticipating those challenging flashpoints in which nerves and relationships could become fraught.

Pack lightly

When it comes to packing for your holiday, you’ll need to carry additional luggage and, while children may receive their own baggage allowance on the aircraft, you may need to watch for excessively heavy bags that will ramp up the extra charges levied by the airline. Letting the kids pack their own bags may seem like a sure-fire way to save yourself precious time but you’ll probably end up with suitcases bulging at the seams that weigh far too much that will end up costing you extra on the plane – not to mention instant backache as you attempt to navigate your way through airports. Give your children a small suitcase each they can pull on wheels and tell them that if their clothes don’t all fit, they simply can’t take it all.

Rent a car

Whether you are going self-drive or flying abroad, car rental could be a great way to broaden the children’s horizons, cut out the energy-draining local transfers and gain extra space for your brood to travel in. Hiring a car from National car rental or one of the other leading rental companies at the airport will enable you to enjoy the flexibility to travel where you like at your own pace and give you unlimited access to your destination country, including to tourist sites off the beaten track. Alternatively if taking the self-drive option, why not hire a larger vehicle in which to spread your family for a roomier, more comfortable journey?

In-flight entertainment

Kids and long journeys, either by road or air, don’t usually agree so advance planning is essential for a more peaceful, less fraught holiday. Buy in some simple activities to enjoy when you are on the move such as travel games. Electronic devices (for example iPods and iPads) will hold their attention for a considerable time but do check the airline’s regulations if you plan to use these in-flight. Don’t forget: headphones are essential if your kids are to hear the audio above the noise of the plane’s or car’s engines. The AA website features a range of downloadable games for the family to enjoy.

Take one step at a time

When driving a distance, don’t overestimate how far the children can travel without stopping. You may find it is more beneficial to take regular, short breaks to stretch aching legs and breathe some fresh air instead of breaking your journey less often. Motorways in Europe tend to offer more frequent rest stops than in the UK, though fully-equipped services stations tend to be more distantly spaced.

Go prepared!

Make sure you carry a first aid kit with you at all times which should include children’s paracetamolas well as insect repellent (make sure, if your child is under one year, that it does not contain DEET) . Your kids may well be unfamiliar with the high temperatures of foreign climates so plenty of suncream, protective clothing and water will help to keep them sun safe and hydrated. Bear in mind that continental water can upset tummies so bottled is a good alternative. For more advice on staying healthy when travelling visit the NHS site.

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