As I've mentioned a few times lately, we've just returned from a family holiday to Norway.
We had a fantastic time and are already in the middle of planning next years holiday, but it kind of goes without saying that travelling with children can be quite a headache - there is always so much to think about and prepare for!
That being said - as daunting as the thought of going abroad with little ones can be, there are lots of things you can do to make sure that your holiday is as stress-free and enjoyable for everybody (You included!) as possible.
Here are my top tips for travelling with little ones.
1) Plan Well
Planning really is the absolute key to making the most out of any holiday, and when children are involved it's all the more important.
From planning your route to your holiday destination, to planning where to visit and what to do while you're there - it all matters.
The most important things in my opinion are to look into local attractions and plan the ones you'd like to visit - make yourself familiar with opening times, prices and how to get to and from them.
Looking in to local places to eat is also high on my list of priorities - find out which places are child friendly, what sort of things are available on the menu - rather than turning up with hungry children in tow to find they don't serve anything that they'll eat!
2) Consider Everybody
Of course most parents priority when going on holiday is to make sure that the kids are having fun - happy kids=happy parents after all! And that is VERY important - so do look into what childrens facilities are available, whether there are kids clubs and how they operate, what childrens entertainment is on offer and so on.
But also ensure that there are things that the grown ups will enjoy too - it's your holiday too after all, and no doubt you've worked hard to make it happen - you deserve some enjoyment! Whether it's choosing accomodation with a hot tub to unwind in after the kids go to sleep, or choosing a resort with a kids club to enable you to enjoy an evening meal in peace every now and then - whatever it is that will the holiday enjoyable for you, put that on your list of Must Haves!
3) Choose the right accomodation
The accommodation is really the most important part of any holiday in my opinion. You can be staying in the most beautiful part of the world, but if you're sleeping in squalor every night then chances are you won't enjoy it all that much - well I know I wouldn't any way!
Everybody has their own ideas of what makes up their ideal holiday accommodation but I have to say that my own ideal is a holiday villa - I love the privacy and home-away-from-home feeling that a villa gives you, and companies such as Top Villas offer some absolutely stunning places to stay for such fantastic prices.
They are also absolutely ideal when travelling with extended family as it allows the whole group to stay together, but with plenty of space for everybody - and with private pools and hot tubs on offer, and prices split between families - you can really go for the WOW factor! And the great thing about going for a villa is that you do your research before hand to make sure the one you choose is child friendly and meets all of your individual needs.
I personally LOVE the look of this stunning villa in Provence, which is somewhere we're thinking of heading to next year - the nr. Aix-en-Provence 1 offers breathtaking views and this idyllic private pool and sleeps up to 6 people - doesn't it look beautiful?!
4) Be Prepared!
One thing I found an absolute god send during our Norway trip was pre-preparing activities to keep my toddler occupied during meal times every evening.
I knew that we would be eating in restaurants every night, and that he may get a bit bored with having to wait for his meals - I prepared for this by getting together a bag of fun table-top activities for him and gave him something different to do every evening while we waited for our meals.
Some evenings he coloured in with magic inkless markers, other nights he played with mini fuzzy felt sets or did some small jigsaw puzzles - every night the activity I took along kept him busy until his food arrived and it meant that we were able to enjoy our meal as a family with no tantrums - result!
This kind of preparation can be really beneficial when it comes to preparing activities to occupy the children during the journey (whether its on a plane, train or in the car) or with things to do whilst on the beach etc - whatever kind of holiday you're planning, think ahead to times when the children may be bored and try to come up with a couple of ways to combat it!
However and wherever you choose to travel, I hope you have a wonderful time and enjoy making priceless memories with your family that will last a lifetime!
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