Keep everyone happy with these tips for a fun-filled family break.
The Easter break calls for a lazy long weekend. But when you have got a young family, catering for everyone’s tastes isn’t always easy. Here’s how to book a break the whole family will enjoy – and yes, that means some R&R for the parents too…
Tip #1: Time your travel.
If you’ve got young children, spending hours in the car to get somewhere for just a few days is not a good use of your time. “For a short trip, don’t plan a schedule where you have to spend most of the time in the car,” says family travel writer and founder of Babies Who Travel, Sue White. “Staying relatively local means maximising your downtime and forgetting about the getting-there-and-back part.”
If you have babies or toddlers, “time your driving to coincide with their naps,” advises White. “For primary school kids and older, you can drive longer stretches without mandatory playground breaks - but they have plenty of capacity to be vocal if they aren’t enjoying being stuck in rush hour traffic! Consider travelling outside peak hour, and ensure you take plenty of in-car entertainment; audiobooks and craft on a tray table are good if you’re trying not to rely too heavily on a screen.”
Kids & Cars:
Tip #2: Get the family formula right
“With family travel, if the kids are happy, the parents have a good chance of enjoying themselves too,” says White. “It’s a good idea to dedicate at least 50% of a trip to something that everyone will enjoy. That could be meeting up with family friends so there are other kids to play with while the parents enjoy adult chat or share the supervision.”
"If there are two or more adults then tag team so you both have the chance to enjoy that ‘I’m on holiday’ feeling," says White. “It’s easy to run around keeping everyone aged in single digits happy, without a chance to rest. Plan to give each other a couple of hours break a day to do something relaxing: a massage, a coffee and the newspaper without someone tugging your arm, or even a sleep in. If you are with friends, take it in turns to look after the kids for a night so you can have an evening date.”
Holiday Fun for the Family:
Tip #3: Come prepared
“Babies and toddlers come with a lot of equipment, so make sure you have a travel cot, plus other essentials to make your life easier,” says White. “Screen time can be a good option for long car trips or planes – whatever gets you all there in peace. Even on a short trip, take a few favourite toys. For older children, colouring books, games like Uno, Guess Who and Connect Four are great portable entertainment. A pack of cards never goes astray and can be lovely for both adults and kids to join in. Never leave home without books. And, if you have teenagers, you’ll probably get better cooperation if you let them bring a device or two.”
Baby Travel Essentials:
Tip #4: Keep it simple
“It’s surprising how little you have to do to feel like you’ve had an escape,” says White. “If all else fails and the weather is on your side, find a beach: it’s virtually impossible to not keep all ages happy there.” Who can’t have a nice time when you’ve got a bucket, spade and some waves?
Having a staycation?
If you’re staying at home for the long weekend, you can still make it feel like a holiday – but you need to be strict with yourself. “No chores and no sneaky work emails!” says White. “Make sure you actually do things that are different from your usual weekend. Book things that you can’t change; a surf lesson, or book in to meet people at the zoo or somewhere else so you’re unlikely to back out.”
Your long weekend survival kit:
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