The bags are packed, passports are up to date and you’re just about ready to jet set around the world with your nearest and dearest. The only thing left to do is deal with that crushing sense of foreboding that’s been bothering you for weeks...Will your family fight? Is it possible the kids won’t whinge? What if we have the worst time ever?!
Ultimately, it’s important to accept that family holidays, while fun and full of magical memories, can also send even the most patient parent over the edge.
But never fear, help is here! With a few handy holiday hacks, you can ensure that your holiday is one to remember, for all the right reasons.
Plan The Important Stuff
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail and that’s certainly the case when travelling abroad with your brood. When it comes to the important logistical stuff - visas, passports, airport transfers - there is no such thing as being over-prepared. Keep soft and hard copies of important documents/itineraries, research the best time to visit tourist traps and always check in early at the airport. You may feel like you’re being overly neurotic but it’s so worth it.
Let Go Of Forced Fun
There’s a temptation when travelling with family to try and control every minute of the trip, in order to avoid any kind of spontaneous combustion. The thinking behind this tactic is that the less ‘free time’ you have, the less likely your family will find things to fight about. So the minute you touch down in Thailand
you’re bullying two bored teenagers into a trip to the monkey sanctuary before whisking them off to dinner. But in reality, a crammed itinerary is a sure-fire way to send the entire family into meltdown. Rather than stuff your days with activities, book a few blue ribbon events - a boat day or museum visit - and then surrender control and see what happens. Chances are it’ll be less taxing and more relaxing.
Never Set Off Without Snacks
Experienced family travellers will tell you that even the most peaceful holidays can be derailed by a serious hanger attack. The perfect family day out in Fiji
can turn into a nightmare of epic proportions when the hunger pains strike. To avoid Armageddon, always pack some sneaky snacks when you’re out and about. Opt for something healthy - nuts or fruit - and the moment you anticipate a hungry holidaymaker thrust the snacks in their direction. Remember, food plus family equals fun!
Embrace Your Clans Craziness
Every family has their own special brand of crazy, a secret style of behaviour that no one else will ever understand. When my family went out to dinner on holidays, my dad would force us to guess the nationality of our waitstaff and for every correct guess he’d give us $10! The point is, rather than stressing about whether or not your family is being too loud, too crazy, too obviously from out-of-town, just embrace it. These are your people and it’s not often you get to spend time away with them, let the weirdness wash over you.
Alone Time is a Must
At the same time, a crucial element to a carefree family getaway is that everyone spends a little time by themselves. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Whether it’s as simple as ducking off to a market in Phuket
or reading a book poolside in your Balinese
resort, solo time is super important. The same goes for the kids, they’ll be craving free time away from Mum and Dad more than you know. Send them off to a kids club for the afternoon while you peruse the cocktail menu. Everybody wins.