Travelling with little ones; for some it sends a shiver down the spine, for others, it’s a part of life to fully embrace. We fall into the latter camp, I love travelling with our son and, less than a month after our last trip, I’m already sat here on the Clickstay website researching villas in Italy for next summer. I know exactly the type of thing we’re looking for; sunny with plenty of shade, safe for little ones, lots of room to explore, a pool, space for long lazy meals… our list of requirements is pretty extensive! Thankfully we’ve had some practice at knowing what’s needed to make a good holiday. Here are the top things we consider when booking a holiday with kids.
When most people imagine air travel, they think of cramped quarters and screaming babies. Often a look of mild panic washes over their face. The reality is flying with little ones isn’t always that stressful (she says, having bounced a one year old for eight hours overnight in order to mute the screams). Think about flight times and your child’s normal routine. Would the flight time fit around them sleeping? Could you entertain them for 2 hours? 4 hours? 12 hours? Are any connecting flights going to leave you more frazzled than fun? What about the transfers at either end. Both of our trips have had short 20 minute transfers to and from the airport, making that final bit of the journey incredibly manageable.
Location. Location. Location.
Are you city explorers or looking for a more laid back relaxation? Don’t be put off exploring with your family in tow, after all, children live in cities as well – there are plenty of more family friendly activities. Do your research in advance to find large open spaces for your little ones to let off some steam before delving back into city life to soak up some culture. Looking for that relaxing break? Think about hiring a car to give you both a transfer method and a way to break up those pool days. Because you’ll need to book a place with a pool… it’s practically the law.
Pick Your Accommodation Carefully
The success of your holiday depends on this choice; your accommodation can make or break your trip. Whilst hotels are lovely, I’d always recommend booking a villa or apartment. Why? Your own accommodation gives you plenty of space for family time whilst allowing you to handle nap times and bed times without then tying you to the confines of your hotel room. No-one wants to spend their evenings trapped in the hotel bathroom whilst the kids sleep! Having your own space often means you spend less as well, you can cater your mealtimes to suit your family, pack up picnics for days exploring the city or countryside and head home to eat at your own time. So not only do you get better value, you also get to immerse yourself more in local culture (who doesn’t love a foreign supermarket?!) and you get freedom that suits your family’s needs. Win, win, win.
Time Of Year
Are you looking for snow or sun? Are there rainy or stormy seasons to consider which could hamper your holiday? Don’t let a location’s ‘off’ season put you off, whilst you’d normally associate mountain stays with winter holidays, a chalet in the mountains can provide a great summer base for you and your family. Likewise, hotter locations can be that bit more bearable outside of peak times; cooler, less crowded and often more affordable. Be sure to check temperatures and pack accordingly – we’ve been caught out many times with cooler evenings and no jumpers!
In Case Of Emergency
When we’re planning a trip, I always consider (albeit briefly) the worst case scenario. If my child got sick, what would I do? Is there good healthcare available? Do I speak the language? Or am I able to communicate effectively through someone else? What vaccinations are required in advance? It may sound like I’m putting a ‘downer’ on the trip but a quick assessment now can save any concerns should the worst happen. My advice? Double check your travel insurance and make sure, if you’re travelling in Europe, that you register all of your family for an E111 European Health Insurance Card, including any dependent children.
Stop Thinking, Just Book!
The biggest thing to think about before you travel with kids? Stop thinking. The reality is, if you’ve planned your trip well, booked with a reputable company and saved enough money then you’re going to have a great time. Try not to worry about things going wrong, some of our best memories have been down to those unexpected moments!