Ask anyone about their most vivid childhood memories and family holidays are bound to be up there. But most parents will also tell you that travelling with kids can be stressful. Whether it’s a car ride across the country or a flight further afield, there’s something about the phrase ‘Are we there yet?’ that brings out the worst in everyone.
So here are some essential half term holiday hacks from parents who’ve learned the hard way. They’ll help you make the most of the upcoming break without breaking into a sweat.
Enjoy the ride
Sunscreen, swimming costumes and inspect repellent might top the list of things you can’t travel without. But don’t overlook the importance of colouring books, tablets and hand-held games too.
If you’re driving, a little in-car entertainment will avoid the dangers of being distracting by back-seat screamers. And if you’re flying or sailing, it means some rest for you and your fellow passengers.
Don’t feel bad for diverting the kids’ attention – not only will you help keep them amused, it’s also setting the tone for a relaxing holiday from day one.
Keep it clean
If you’re going on a road trip, or are planning on hiring a car for a while, then throw down a blanket or sheet on the back seat to catch all those crumbs. You’ll be able to easily whisk away all the mess left by those mucky pups in no time. That means less time cleaning the car and more time enjoying the scenery.
Black bin-liners or the odd pack of tissues also go a long way. Especially if you’re spending a lot of the time making sandwiches on the beach. Nobody likes the family who can’t clean up after themselves, and it’ll give the kids a great lesson in caring for the environment.
Like it or not, little ones rarely get the same pleasure you do out of sitting on the beach for hours on end. Once they’ve built the 15th sand castle the excitement can wear off.
To keep them entertained, send them up to the seaside cafes to grab themselves an ice cream or get them playing a game of table football. Carrying small notes and change around with you makes all the difference when travelling with kids, and a euro in a pool table can buy you an extra hour of bronzing time.
Make it last
Encouraging your kids to keep a travel scrapbook will give them a lasting reminder of their holiday. It’s something to keep them occupied during down time and will help them engage with the whole experience – from learning the names of the places they’ve visited to describing the new foods they’ve sampled.
Get them to collect postcards and coins to add to a physical book. Or give them their own waterproof camera to create an online photo diary. It’s something they’ll love looking back on, and it’s the perfect way to share their travelling tales with classmates and grandparents back home.
Weigh before you fly
It’s hard enough getting the kids to pack on time, let alone getting them to understand all the ridiculous size and weight restrictions that airlines push upon us nowadays. It’s worth investing in, or borrowing, a set of travel scales so when you arrive at the airport you know that that extra action figure you packed isn’t going to turn your check-in nightmarish.
Book your half term escape now or let us know some handy hacks of your own in the comments.