Going on holiday with the kids and having a great break does take a little forward planning! Holidaying as a family can be a wonderful experience and we’re here to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Here’s our guide to making your family holiday as happy and stress-free as possible.
Getting the best deal
Once your children reach school age, options for holidays become a little more restricted. And of course, many travel companies take full advantage of the school holidays to raise prices substantially. So how can you still get a good deal? Here are our tips to help:
- Remember that prices don’t just go up because of the English holidays. Demand also spikes because other children in Europe are off. However, many European countries go back to school earlier than in England so look for holidays in the last week of August and first week of September, when prices will have started to drop.
- Travel in the middle of the week, when costs are lower or, if you think your children will sleep, consider travelling overnight.
- Try and avoid unnecessary travel frills, such as charges for priority boarding and seat selections on planes. And take your own food for travelling to avoid high costs on planes / trains / ferries etc.
- Book early to get the best deals.
- Make sure to look for any ‘extras’ such as insurance or taxes.
- Pre-book kids’ clubs and excursions for better deals.
- Look at our offers, with companies such as Canvas, Sibu and Eurocamp to take advantage of the discount codes we offer.
Before you can enjoy your holiday, you’ve got to actually get there! Whichever way you’re travelling, here are some tips to help make your journey as smooth as possible.
- Babies less than 2 weeks old are not permitted to fly with many airlines.
- Booster seats, car seats, buggies, push chairs and travel cots are not counted as part of your luggage allowance, and you can bring up to two of these items per child.
- If you’re travelling with a child under 2 years old, you can bring an additional small baby-changing bag on board the plane.
- You can take baby food and milk on-board, although you may be asked to taste it by security.
- If you’re travelling with children under 5, you can board your flight early, as most airlines will seat families first.
- There are no baggage restrictions on ferries and you’ll have your own car to fill as much as you want.
- During summer school holidays many ferries offer free family entertainment and dedicated playrooms.
- Lots of child friendly options for food and drink.
- Many ferries offer an overnight sailing option, with comfortable cabins.
If you’re travelling to Europe by train, you’ll be starting with Eurostar. So here’s some knowledge on the service:
- Quick 30-minute check-in.
- Free travel for children under 4, provided they can sit on an adult’s lap.
- Special fares for children aged 4-11.
- Luggage allowance of two bags per person, as well as hand luggage.
- In addition to luggage you can bring one pushchair and one car seat per child.
- There’s a special meal deal for kids and the buffet car will be happy to warm up baby milk and food for you.
Family Friendly Accommodation
Obviously the most important part of a good family holiday is finding the right place to stay in with your kids. You want to avoid anywhere that’s a magnet for stag and hen dos, and look for a place with lots of family friendly options! So, what are the best options for family friendly accommodation?
Campsites and Lodges
One of the best options for families is the huge range of child friendly campsites and lodges spread across the UK and Europe. We work with a range of companies to get you discounts, including Canvas, Suncamp, Eurocamp, Siblu, Al Fresco Holidays and Hoseasons. Why are these such good options for families?
Well, firstly you can choose from a range of accommodation to stay in. Many of these sites offer not only the option for camping, but also static mobile homes or lodges. There are a range of choices to suit most budgets. You will also find a great range of facilities on the sites, such as swimming pool complexes, playgrounds, sporting activities and restaurants and snack bars. Most sites are located in either beautiful countryside or near stunning beaches so there are plenty of places to explore with the kids. And these sites also have a huge range of kids’ activities during the high season, meaning that your family will have plenty to keep them busy.
Self-Catering Cottages / Villas
Another great option for holidays with the kids is a self-catering cottage. We’ve partnered with Skyes Cottages and Cottages.com to offer a range of cottage and villa holidays across the UK and Europe. Self-catering cottages allow you the freedom as a family to explore different areas of the country and visit lots of local attractions, whilst still having a comfortable base to come back to at the end of the day. With a cottage or villa you can build your own schedule, whilst still having the comforts of home and all the facilities you need for children. Another option that’s well worth exploring is Airbnb, where you can choose from renting rooms up to full houses, apartments or villas directly from the owners, with full protection from Airbnb itself. There are a huge range of options to choose from, with prices to suit all budgets.
Families should also consider package holidays. The obvious advantage of a package holiday is that everything is included – your flight, your accommodation and all or some of your meals (depending on whether you go for fully inclusive or half board). Look for family friendly packages, with pools and kids’ clubs / entertainment on site to help you have a relaxing break! Popular companies to look at include Tui, Jet2Holidays, Thomas Cook and First Choice. Some of these companies even offer free child places, so you could grab a real bargain.
US Theme Parks
For a once in a lifetime family holiday, the US theme parks are hard to beat. Florida, in particular, has some great options with parks such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, Legoland Florida and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Tickets can be very pricey but deals can be found online, particularly if you go for the all-inclusive options and stay in one of the hotels onsite. Look for free kids’ places, meal deals and quick entry to the parks. There are so many theme parks to cover that you’ll certainly keep all the family entertained and your children will never forget the trip!Helpful things to pop in your suitcase!
We all know that travelling with children means a lot more luggage than normal! But do remember that you can often buy a lot of things at your destination. Here’s our list of things that it is worth having with you:
- First aid kit
- Sunscreen suitable for children
- Baby insect repellent
- Insect net for buggy / cot
- Sterilising tablets
- Calpol sachets
- Baby wipes
- Comforters and pacifiers
- Bottles and cups
- 48 hours worth of nappies
- Tablet / Smart Phone with kid friendly apps!
- Pocket high chair
- A pop-up cot
- Baby sling
- Disposable bibs
Hopefully this guide will help you to have a wonderful, relaxing and stress-free holiday!