Have you considered going on holiday with all the family? Whether, it’s just you and one set of grandchildren or the whole clan, here are some great ideas and advice for spending your holidays with family.
Why go away all together?
The cost of childcare during school holidays is eye-watering – this year, the average is £133 per week per child. Understandably, parents might prefer to use some or all of this budget to go towards quality time spent with grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins instead. And with prices increasing for the holiday season, you can all chip in and share the costs too. Having youngsters with you on holiday can give you a fresh perspective on places you might have been before and turn an everyday holiday into a new adventure!
Where’s a good choice for family holidays?
We’ve all heard how some European countries, such as Greece, Spain and Italy have a very welcoming attitude to families. And if you can’t decide which country to visit, did you know there are now river and ocean-going cruises for families too? A city break will have plenty of things to see and do for every generation (and it’s perfect if you only have a few days) or an all-inclusive resort or theme park will have everything you could want in one place. You may well have all these things right on your doorstep, so don’t underestimate the potential of a family ‘staycation’ and explore your neighbourhood with fun days out.
How to get there?
Travelling in numbers can actually work out cheaper for things like transfers. For example, the amount per person drops for airport parking if there’s more than just you in the car – or if your group is larger, you can take a people-carrier or minibus or get a family rail ticket.
Airports and children
- check-in online as early as possible
- see if there is an airport ‘meet and assist’, concierge or porter service
- buy priority security lane and lounge passes.
When you book flights, you’ll usually be able get seats together, especially if there are children under 12. There is lots of advice online for smoothing the way when flying with children, but the consensus seems to be: allow plenty of time at every single stage from baggage drop to boarding! Other things include:
Where to stay?
Many hotels offer family rooms, suites or adjoining rooms, so ask when booking if you can all be together. A really great alternative is an apartment or villa rental so you have a home from home, and it doesn’t tend to be any more expensive than a hotel – in fact, it’s often cheaper. You could also consider a gite or even a boating holiday where you can all be under one roof.
Travelling when you’re not the child’s parent – important guidance
If you’re travelling with relatives under 18 and you are not their legal guardian, it’s helpful to take a letter from their parents that includes their contact details, authorising you to leave the country with them and that you have full parental responsibility. It can make things easier at passport and border controls, especially if your surname is not the same as the child’s and it’s also good to have such a letter in case they need any medical attention while you are away.
Travel insurance for all the family
- Do an internet search of your ‘destination + with children’ for insider ideas. Also do this for any places of interest you want to visit too.
- Slow down! Don’t expect to do anything or get anywhere quickly as a group. Remember too that the whole of your holiday, from the moment you leave, is going to be a new experience for any young children and full of interesting distractions!
- Involve children, if possible, with the holiday planning or research so you can get an idea of what they’d want to do and also prepare them for what to expect.
- Stay connected. If children are travelling without parents, take advantage of free WiFi so they can easily see and talk to them – and nip any homesickness in the bud.
- Give them a notebook or folder so they can create a holiday scrapbook of maps, tickets, sweet wrappers and other mementoes.
- Book tickets for busy tourist attractions online. The website will usually have an English version and you can even do it once you’re in the country the day before or even the morning you want to go – and waltz past all the queues!
- Remember to look out for group deals on tickets, travel and dining – if you’re used to holidaying on your own, you might not usually make a point of seeking them out.
- Have an adventure! Give the children a map and a destination and let them navigate the way there (but only if you know how to do it!). They might get you ‘lost’, you might discover something amazing, but you’ll have a story to tell!
- If they don’t have a mobile phone, give them a wristband with your name and number on it in case you do get separated in a crowd.
- If you’ve got a mix of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, you can share the childcare from one evening (or day) to the next. And don’t feel you all have to stay together and do the same thing either, you can form smaller parties and head off in different directions with different activities.
Did you know that if you take out Saga Travel Insurance for yourself, you can add up to nine other people to it and they can be any age? So, as soon as you’ve booked your family adventure, arrange your cover and include them on your policy too. Get a quote here or call us on 0800 068 8558.
Handy tips for happy holidays with children
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