Planning a Family Holiday

Planning a family holiday – Where to start?!

  • Jens headshot 2:6:23
  • The Travel Mum

Calling all adventure-loving families! Are you desperate to take your little one(s) away but have no idea where to start when planning a family holiday? Well, worry not, because we’ve got the tips you need to plan an epic family getaway that’ll create memories to last a lifetime!

Where to go on a family holiday

Picking a destination can sometimes feel like the hardest part of the planning process. Have a think about the questions below. They may sound obvious but it will give you a great base to start your plan. The number of times I have heard my single friends say “I hated my trip to ____ , there was nothing to do”. It will always turn out that the place they had visited would have had beautiful beaches, interesting culture and history – but minimal nightlife. So it was simply a case of booking the wrong destination. Everywhere is someone’s dream destination while being someone else’s worst nightmare. 

  • Who is going? An easy one! But important as teenage kids will have different needs and interests to toddlers. Are there lots of hills or steps? If travelling with people who have limited mobility, this needs to be taken into consideration. Beach destinations are usually a winner with most age groups.

  • How long do you have for this trip? Consider how much time you have for this adventure. Is it a quick weekend escapade or an epic two-week expedition? If you’re with little ones, a shorter flight might be more ideal. After all, long-haul journeys can be a handful (but not impossible) when you’re on toddler duty! Our cutting-edge DIY holiday planner searches for destinations closer to home, perfect for tight budgets and shorter trips.

  • What type of activities do you want to do? Whether you want to relax by a pool, keep active, go shopping or immerse yourself in a new culture – it’s important to establish what you want from this trip and book accordingly. If you are simply looking for sand and sea, use our search feature to look for beach destinations and get some ideas on great destinations. All of the accommodation we show is within a good distance from the beach. For shorter trips, consider looking at city breaks, we recommend destinations with lots to see and do. Ask each family member what they want from the trip and write it down, try to give everyone something to get excited about.

  • How much do you want to spend? Setting a budget is crucial to avoid any holiday-induced financial stress. Finding cheap flights and booking cheap accommodation is great, but beware of splashing out on pricey food, activities, and transportation costs when there. We’ve got you covered for ways to keep costs down with our social media content, blogs and website resources.

We know that finding a perfect destination for a diverse group of people can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but don’t worry, we’re here to simplify the process for you and make planning a family holiday easy peasy.

At the heart of it all, holidays are about cherishing quality time together, crafting unforgettable memories and enjoying new experiences. And guess what? Countless destinations out there offer just that!

Self Catering vs All Inclusive?

Is All Inclusive better value than self catering? Well, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. The value of an All Inclusive package depends on the destination, the hotel and your personal preferences. When looking at your hotel, consider the prices for the different board options. I have had occasions where it was cheaper to book all inclusive than half board, I know, it makes absolutely no sense! The price to include breakfast can often be minimal, which will then save you money once you are there. If adding dinner onto your reservation is £200 for the week and you are a family of 4, this will probably save you money compared to buying dinner at a restaurant. If you are happy to cook yourself, you can likely do a supermarket shop for £100 that will feed you all week. Consider all options.

If you’re traveling to a place where restaurant and bar prices are sky-high, opting for a good value All Inclusive stay might be a money-saving choice, if the alternative would be dining out for every meal. If you are likely to drink a lot of alcohol, an All Inclusive package could be a cost-effective option.

All Inclusive stays are not all equal..

Before diving in, it’s important to examine the details of the specific All Inclusive package. Does it include snacks between meals? Are alcoholic drinks limited or freely available? Are there extra charges for cocktails? What activities are included? Understanding what’s covered in the package will help you avoid any unwelcome surprises and hidden costs.

On a super tight budget?

Self Catering can be a great budget-friendly alternative, especially for families. With a kitchenette you can prepare your own meals and a £100 food shop can feed a small family for the week. Self Catering is ideal for families with picky eaters too, as you can ensure they have familiar dishes to enjoy. This will spare you the trouble of hunting for restaurants with specific meals or wasting money on food they then refuse to eat (if the bolognaise sauce is the wrong shade of red, its game over in our house!)

If your goal is to explore and spend most of the day outside of the hotel, an All Inclusive stay may not be the best fit for you. The key takeaway here is that neither option is better than the other; it’s all about what aligns best with your preferences and travel agenda.


Travelling with a Baby?

You’re in for an incredible adventure! Don’t worry about those anxious voices saying your little one(s) aren’t ready. We travelled with our son when he was just five weeks old! Babies absorb so much during their early years, and new sights and experiences build confident, happy kids who handle life’s constant changes like champs.

Babies are very easy to travel with when compared to toddlers and young children. Their demands are much more limited, they aren’t able to run away, and they are pretty easy to entertain.

How do you plan to get around once there? You will need a pram and possibly a car seat. Most airlines allow you to check in two baby items at no extra cost, currently Wizzair only allows one item so you need to pay extra if taking a pram and a car seat. We had special bags for our car seat and pram, and would put extras like nappies, a pop up crib and some bigger liquid items in there allowing us to take more without paying for checked luggage. Wondering How to hire a car abroad? We have a blog post to help!

Babies can travel on your lap
and airlines have a fixed price for this. You will be given a special seat belt adapter once on the plane which fastens around their waist. Alternatively you can purchase an extra seat and take an airline approved carseat. Read more about flying with a baby here.

Not all hotels will have baby facilities
. We have stayed in places which couldn’t offer a baby cot. In this situation we had a pop up crib that we put in between us in bed, giving Leo a safe place to co-sleep with us. Contact the hotel ahead of time to see if they can provide the things you will need.

An obvious one,  but plan how you will feed the baby. If you are breast feeding this is pretty simple, but with bottle feeding you need to be more prepared. Make sure the room has basic kitchen facilities to allow you to boil a kettle and sterilise bottles. We always took cold water sterilisation tablets as an easy way to sterilise. If weaning you will need facilities to prepare some food so you aren’t relying on restaurants. It isn’t always easy to find formula in some places, it is often sold in pharmacies as opposed to supermarkets. If your baby needs a specific formula, make sure you take enough with you.


Travelling with a Toddler?

Now, let’s talk toddlers! The joy of travelling with an unpredictable walking whirlwind.. Gone are the days of romantic strolls and peaceful meals out as your baby sleeps quietly close by, but fear not, the fun is just beginning. Toddlers are curious explorers, and their interpretations and opinions will have you in stitches. Keep them well-rested and entertained with toddler-friendly activities and you will have a blast.

When choosing a destination with your toddler in mind, remember, it’s not all about the place itself. They’ll have a great time anywhere with the simplest things; a local playground or those rubbish €1 rides will make their day. Short flights are ideal, as is accommodation with a kiddy pool, playground or other form of basic enjoyment to offer as a bribe throughout the day! We recently went to Rome and Leos highlight was a big slide in a playground we found. When we talk about our trip to Croatia, Leo remembers a treasure hunt we did whilst out on a walk. It’s the little things that stick with them, and just spending uninterrupted time with you is what they will enjoy the most.


Here’s the bottom line: When considering planning a family holiday, you need to remember that family travel is all about making memories! You can get really caught up in where to go, what to pack, how it will all work, to the point that you never get round to doing it. At the end of the day a bit of thoughtful planning is all that is needed. Embrace spontaneous adventures and let your kids lead the way. We are always here to help with any worries or anxieties you may have. And when you get there, just go with the flow! Want to play in the morning instead of hitting the beach? No worries! The best stories come from unexpected moments, so cherish every joyful minute.

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