Written by: Toni Foot
A few days in the sun can be a perfect way to relax and get away from the every day stress of home and work life whilst spending quality time with those most important to you. If you plan your holiday carefully and are well prepared, you can have a fantastic time that you and your children will remember for years to come.Choosing the perfect holiday will make the best of your time away. Make sure you consider the following things:
Depending on the age of your children, some destinations are more suitable for a family holiday than others. Whilst teenage children may thrive on a skiing holiday, a six-month-old baby is not going to get much out of it! Although some destinations may offer crèche facilities, you should consider whether you want to spend a significant time away from your child, or if the dream holiday to the peaks would be best saved for when they are a little older.
Some destinations pose potential health risks (particularly where there is a high risk of malaria), so it is important to find out if you will need vaccinations before you travel, leaving plenty of time to arrange these before you go. Very young children and pregnant women may not be able to have some of these vaccinations so you will need to think carefully about the potential risk for these members of your family.
Although an exotic holiday to Australia may sound like a fantastic way to spend time with your little ones in the sun, remember that long-haul flights can be exhausting, especially for young children who want to run around and play. Obviously each child is individual and some cope better with long journeys than others, but perhaps the longer journeys are best saved for when they are old enough to really appreciate the effort. Will 18-month-old Johnnie really remember seeing a kangaroo?
Consider the local weather where you are planning to go. Small children can find particularly hot or cold weather difficult to cope with and there is nothing worse than dragging a moaning child around the sights! Try aiming to travel to hotter places out of their peak times to avoid the extreme heat or cold – this can also be a good way to keep costs down since most destinations reduce their prices out of peak season.
Extreme weather conditions can add unexpected and unwanted excitement to a family holiday so make sure you check what the local weather is like before your travel. Some hot places have particularly stormy seasons (including hurricanes, earthquakes and monsoons) that can put your family at risk, especially if you are not accustomed or prepared to deal with it.
Bringing up children can be very costly so spend your money wisely when planning holidays. If you have children who are not yet attending school (under 5s) then consider a holiday outside of the school holidays. Travelling to Europe in April/May for example can be significantly cheaper than going in July/August and many destinations still have lots of lovely sun at this time.
If your children are at school, you must be careful about when you choose to travel since taking children out of school for significant periods of time or for regular holidays can be disruptive to their education. However, if you have no choice, your child’s head teacher can authorise holiday leave at their discretion. Also look into the school’s holiday timetable since some schools have slightly different holiday weeks to others, which may make the difference between on and off peak charges (especially if travelling in the UK).