Wednesday, February 22, 2012

18 Tips for harmonious family travels

Keeping the whole family happy and content for two solid weeks was always going to be a huge ask! But make some plans and get the ground rules in place and the toddler tantrums and teen dramas will be minimised (hopefully!)


1. Slow right down– Children work on a whole different timescale and anyway it’s not about ticking off the seen items on your to-do list. Chill out and take it slow.

2. Kids Eat Free– Save money on family meals by looking out for deals where kids eat free or two people eat for a set fee.
3. Plan ahead– Make a rough itinerary suitable for all the party, allow plenty of interesting stops for all ages and include a few rest stops too! But prepare to be flexible too as your choice of activity might not be ‘cool’ enough!

4. Take Your Own Stroller– Using your own baby stroller or pushchair at some theme parks and attractions can save you from hiring one.

5. Go prepared– Make sure you have a capsule first aid kit, a few snacks and drinks. Also pack any toiletries you might need; wipes, tissues, spare clothes etc

6. Multi Day Passes– Find out if attractions offer multi day passes or discounts and take advantage of them.

7. Focus– Turn the mobile off and enjoy quality time with your family. This is your vacation too, so enjoy it.

8. Use The Pool– If you’ve paid extra for a hotel for a pool then make sure you use it. Or consider booking a hotel without all the usual amenities if you won’t use them.

9. Child Spending– Set your children a daily or weekly budget on what they spend on souvenirs and gifts to save any bickering later on.

10. Get back to nature– Try camping and make educational trips fun, which will probably work better with younger children. Spot and identify wildlife, plants and birds.

11. Student Discounts– Many attractions offer student, children, senior and family discounts. Check in advance and carry your ID with you.

12. Lead by example– Encourage your children to explore and try new things. Try that zipline experience and sample those local ‘speciality’ dishes – adventure is the spice of life!

13. Capture the moment– Take a few photos, video or even keep a scrapbook.

14. Routine– Try to stick roughly to your home routines, such as bedtimes but do allow some flexibility as a holiday is meant to be fun after all.

15. Discount Vouchers– Many local newspapers and magazines offer local attraction deals such as 2 for 1 entry etc, which will save families money. Also look out for promotional leaflets in hotels.

16. Loyalty Vouchers– Other organizations also have offers from their partners – make sure you’re signed up to receive post from your credit card companies, supermarkets etc.

17. Make it count– If you want to go off and explore an art gallery by yourself then make sure you do it; you don’t have to be together 24/7. Likewise try to spend some quality one-on-one time with each of your children.

18. Rules– If you are going to let your children explore by themselves make sure you have ground rules in place. Make sure they know when and where to meet up with you and make sure they have working mobile phones for emergencies.

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