Wed. Jun 26th, 2019

The three things all families should do to have successful holidays

Let’s not beat around the bush: family holidays – regardless of your child’s age – can be tough.

All of those, “Are we there yet?” moments, the jet lag and the cries of “I’m bored” any time you try to do something you’re interested in.

This isn’t to say family holidays can’t be enjoyed by every member of the family of course. You can come away from the experience feeling like the best mother/partner/human ever if you make the following tweaks to your planning schedule.

1. Get your kids involved from the beginning

It’s completely natural to believe that since we as parents are footing the bill for the holiday, we get to ‘pull rank’ on where we go, how we’ll get there and what we’ll do to pass the time once we arrive at our destination. I mean, our parents thought the same way, right?

Keeping our kids out of the loop is where family holidays die a slow death according to every travel expert I’ve ever interviewed over the past 20 years. Nope, while we’re waiting for our kids to go to bed so we can choose a resort and throw some activities and tours on the credit card, tour operators, travel industry customer service representatives and cruise line executives are spinning globes and getting opinions on where each member might like to go and what they might like to do.

Getting kids excited about an upcoming trip and feeling as though they’re an important part of the holiday machine not only helps you adequately plan a trip that suits everybody  in the family, but it minimises the risk of tension, tantrums and general crappy attitudes.

2. Seek professional advice

There’s no denying the joy that is browsing destinations, resorts and tours for hours at a time online, but when it comes to actually booking something, it’s worth speaking to an industry professional who can make heads or tails of what it is you’re actually looking at.

Whether you sit down with a travel agent at Flight Centre or have a Virtuoso agent Skype while you and your family are gathered around the dining table, these people can narrow in quickly on what it is you want and what you’re keen to avoid, and quickly build an itinerary perfect for your family.

Think you can save big bucks by doing it yourself? Travel agents can often get lower rates and/or throw in additional extras such as room upgrades, meals or activities for no extra charge.

At the very least you’ll avoid turning up in a resort that looked perfectly okay online but is an absolute crack den in real life.

resort kids clubs are perfect for parents who need some recharging. (iStock)

3. Have back-ups

It’s a rare parent who can holiday with a young family day after day without feeling the life slowly drain out of them.

We’re not saying dump your kids in a kids club every single day while you paint the town red, but it’s nice to know that should you need the odd sleep-in, dinner with your partner or even a day off, you have your children looked after in a place where they’re so happy they’ll barely notice your absence.

There isn’t much you can if you’re booking a private property (bringing the grandparents, AKA the built-in babysitters along for the ride aside), but if you’re looking at booking a hotel, resort or cruise, consider one that has highly regarded kids facilities and a kids club.

Solid options for resorts include Club Med, Outrigger and Four Seasons, while Carnival Cruise Lines, P&O and Royal Caribbean top the list for families out on the high seas.

A holiday where kids will have a ball and parents will also get a break? That sounds like a win to us.

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