You so badly want to go on a family-friendly holiday with your family, but you are concerned that holidays with your crazy monsters gorgeous children are going to be more like hard work and not so relaxing for you. You envisage days full of running around after your kids, doing everything they want to do and dealing with meltdowns due to overtired children. You wonder if just staying at work would be more relaxing.
Well, I am here to tell you that you can have that relaxing holiday and not leave the kids at home!! It is possible for you to have a relaxing break even while on holiday with your energetic children.
Here are a couple of tips to ensure you get that wonderful holiday, despite having the gremlins, oops I mean children in tow.
Tips for turning family-friendly holidays into mum friendly ones!
Check into a Resort with a Kids Club
As soon as your kids are old enough, consider staying at a resort with a kids club. This has the wonderful advantage of your kids being entertained while you can do whatever you want.
Don’t feel bad about this, your kids will, in fact, thank you for it. They have so much fun at the kids club doing arts and crafts, cooking, dancing and loads more; they will never want to leave. Some kids clubs even take the children to lunch or dinner so that you can have a nice relaxing meal with your partner.
If you are looking for some great kids’ clubs, I highly recommend Bali. They know how to do kid-friendly holidays.
Hire a Nanny
Kids clubs often don’t accept children unless they are around 4 – 5 years of age and over. If your kids are younger than this, don’t panic, you can still enjoy some alone time. It is very common, particularly in South-East Asian countries, for families to hire a nanny to help look after the kids. Rates start as low as $5 per hour.
When my little one was too young for kids club, we hired a nanny every second night, so we could go out and have a beautiful adult-only meal together. Other families hire a nanny for their entire trip, just to give them an extra hand with kid wrangling.
Even if you are holidaying in a country where nannies are not common, or you are not staying at a resort without a kids club, I highly recommend you hire a babysitter for at least a night or two, so you can go out and have some child-free time.
Holidays with kids are not just about visiting Disneyland
If you were a keen traveller before having children, chances are you don’t want every trip to be to Disneyland. I can assure you that your holiday destinations don’t have to be all about the kids. We have been on over 20 trips with our little one, and we’ve had some of the best family holidays and not once was the destination based solely on what our daughter would like.
Kids by nature are curious and want to get out and explore. They will love it no matter where they are. I have found that most places are super accommodating to families and will go that extra mile to ensure your kids are having a good time (happy kids equals happy parents, right?)
Some of our favourite family holidays have been backpacking through Vietnam (including a night on a junk boat in Halong Bay), exploring the gorgeous beaches around Lombok and exploring the Australian outback.
Don’t overpack but still come prepared
This sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? What I mean is, just like at home when you are heading out somewhere you ensure you have snacks, spare clothes etc. – you will need to consider what you need for your kids when you are travelling.
I highly recommend you bring a fully charged iPad with their favourite games and movies to keep them occupied during long travel days as well as for waiting around for flights and buses etc. I know most parents like to limit screen time with their kids, but seriously make this exception when travelling to prevent meltdowns and to keep your sanity in check!
I also recommend bringing some of your kids’ favourite snacks from home, especially for long journeys and particularly if you are heading to a country where their favourite food is not readily available. We usually bring our daughter’s lunch box and drink bottle and ensure they are both full whenever we head out – just like we would at home.
While I recommend you come prepared, I also recommend you pack as little as possible and preferably only take carry-on luggage. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- The less you carry around, the easier it is to manage your children. If you can, use a backpack, so both your hands are free to manage the children; and
- No waiting around for bag carousels after long flights when everyone is cranky, just get off the plane and away you go. Usually, the lines will be shorter too as most people are still waiting for the bags to come off the plane.
If you really can’t do carry only luggage, get one big suitcase on wheels that fits everyone’s things in it so one parent can handle the bag and the other parent is free to handle the children.
Let Dad watch the kids and get a Massage
I get that holidays are about creating memories for the family, but it’s just as important that you have some time to yourself to unwind. Take it in turns with your partner so that one watches the kids while the other has an hour or two to do whatever they want.
Whenever we are away together, one of us will take our little one to the pool for an hour or two while the other may go shopping, grab a massage or even just take a nap on the bed. Whatever it is you love to do to unwind, make sure you do it at least once while you are away.
Find a Hotel with a Pool Bar
This might sound like an odd one but think about it. Mum and Dad get to enjoy a few cocktails by (or even in) the pool while supervising the kids having a great time swimming. You may even be lucky enough that your kids make friends with other children, so you are completely off the hook to play Marco Polo for the tenth time that day!
Book an Apartment
If you have the option, always book an apartment, so the kids have their room. This way when the kids go to sleep, you can still relax by watching a movie or even having a few drinks. Even when the kids are awake, this gives them their space to play without being under your feet.
My other tip is if possible is to book a room close to the pool. I find that when you are travelling with kids, something is always forgotten, and you need to make multiple trips back and forth to the room. You will be less frustrated to have to return to get something when your room is super close to the pool.
Slow it down a bit and give your kids plenty of breaks
Of course, when travelling with children, family-friendly holidays are all about making some accommodations for them. My best tip is to slow your travel down a bit. If you would usually take two days to explore a city, schedule for four. We often break our days up by having one big sightseeing day followed by one day of relaxing around our hotel. This prevents overtiredness and crankiness (and not just the kids). It also means you are less rushed and there’s more downtime for yourself to just chill.
Although many of these tips may seem to lean towards keeping the kids happy, when the kids are happy and entertained, mum is happy too.
- 8 Essential Ways To Make Family Friendly Holidays MUM FRIENDLY! - February 16, 2018