Soooo…. as part of my May goals, I was supposed to have booked our family holiday. Its July and I have only just managed to pluck up the courage and commit to an airline & hotel. Every time it came to pressing BOOK, I’d get bouts of anxiety and close the window under the premise that I needed to think about it more.
What if the hotel is an absolute mess? Are the Trip Advisor reviews real? or have the hotel bribed everyone for good reviews? Is the flight going to be a nightmare? Should we drive?All-inclusive or self-catering? What if he gets food poisoning? Is my child going to drive everyone else crazy with his tantrums?
Having finally just plucked up the courage to book. I’ve listed out the things that I had though about when booking this holiday. Hopefully it helps someone out there book their family holiday quicker than I did.
Where do you want to go?
The world is huge and the list of places to go are endless. But when travelling with kids, factor in the age of your children and the travel time to your desired destination. Sometimes, you can’t help that you need to take a 6-hour flight from London to Lagos to see family – but if you can, keep journey times as short as possible. Even as an adult, having to sit on a plane for 12 hours isn’t fun. Imagine what it’s like for a one-year-old.
For us: We are going to be travelling from London and we are lucky to have Europe on our doorstep. Our desired max flight time for this trip was set at 2hours 30mins. So, we are off to Spain from our local airport.
How do you want to get there?
This is an actual issue for some families. The thought of having their triplets on a plane for 3 hours is absolutely terrifying (I know someone with this actual scenario). So maybe, you want to drive and make a road-trip of it? Driving and how long you want to be away for may limit where you can go – but it’s definitely an option. Be aware though – driving will take much more planning.
For us: The 2.5 hour plane journey works. 1 fidgety toddler on a plane outweighs 1 fidgety toddler on a very long car drive for me.
When to go and how long do you want to go for?
The duration of the holiday may or may not be factor for you. The longer you stay is directly linked to the amount you’ll pay. But also think about school/nursery if your child/children attend. Some schools do not allow children to miss days for holidays and can fine parents excessively (a conversation for another day).
For us: We have decided that 4 days in early September is enough for us. Commitments at home and at work mean that there isn’t that much time ‘spare’ and we still want to get out while the sun is shinning. Baby Bee will be missing nursery and with the way things are set up – we’ll still have to pay for the days he is missing.
Where do you want to stay: Hotel or Apartment?
This decision is dependent on a few things. How many of you are travelling? How long are you staying for? What are meals times like?
Renting an apartment is always cheaper than staying in a hotel. If you are travelling with other families or family members, then renting a large property and splitting the cost could work for you. Renting an apartment allows for you to cook your own meals – which inevitably will save on having every meal at a restaurant.An apartment rental will also give you more of a ‘homely’ feel.
Hotels and resorts can provide a few options. You can have a room, a site or an apartment. Although probably more expensive, you will have most meals ready and prepped for you if you so desire. Some hotels/resorts will give you the option to book all-inclusive, half-board or breakfast only. Having a think about this will definitely help decide where you want to stay.
For us: We have decided on an All Inclusive resort. We are lucky that although Baby Bee isn’t a big eater – he can pretty much eat anything. We will have entertainment for him and us, as well as pools at our disposal. The beach is also walking distance from our hotel and for this particular holiday – we want as little stress as possible.
Other things to consider or ask:
Sleeping arrangements: Do you need travel cots. Ask your hotel/apartment if they can provide one, just so you don’t have to lug one around. If you are driving – pop one (or three) in the boot. You can co-sleep or have a sofa bed put out for the little one(s).
Room facilities: This is for hotels – do you have a fridge to store your little ones milk? A kettle to make any bottles? A microwave to do any sterilising?
Shops/Supermarkets: Its worth finding out where the nearest of these will be. You may want to buy bottled water depending on where you are going. Or extra nappies? Snacks? If you are in an apartment – you’ll more than likely need to do a small food shop for your duration.
Transfer Times: Its one thing to have an hour flight – but what happens if your transfer or taxi from airport to hotel is 3 hours? Remember to take this into consideration. Pack your bags to accommodate this. You may not be able to access your suitcase on the drive – so have snacks at the ready and enough water to last the flight and the transfer.
Milk & Baby Related objects: On most short-haul flights – the amount of luggage you can travel with is equivalent to the weight of my day to day handbag. So its worth considering if you need to add additional luggage. What will you be carrying for the baby. Steriliser bags or the whole steriliser? Milk? Jars of food? Do you need extra luggage on the outbound and inbound flight? Can you buy nappies and milk at the airport or your destination?
I think I have literally emptied my brain of all the things that came to mind when booking this holiday. What do you consider when going away with the family. What tips would you give for making sure you book somewhere you are happy with? Share your tips below, and like if you have found this even a little bit useful.