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6 ways to make your family holiday as special as possible

Whether your family holidays are an annual event or not, you want to ensure each and every one is special and fondly remembered by your children.  To make sure both you and your little ones have a fantastic time, here are six tips for creating the most special family holiday possible.

Family running on the beach

Let your kids choose the destination

Okay, so you might not want to give them access to the whole globe – you do have a limited budget after all – but you can give your kids a choice in where you go on holiday. For example, you could let them pick between camping in France and skiing in Austria. Give details of each location and holiday type, so that your kids can make an informed decision.

Letting them pick the destination will make them feel more involved in the holiday, which will get them more excited than usual. You could even get them to help plan what to do each day – this will ensure they get to do what they want.

Do something different

Child-friendly all-inclusive holidays are popular with families because they’re easy and cost-effective. However, if you want your holiday to be really special, you need to do something out of the ordinary. Why not enjoy an Aboriginal food adventure in Australia, or go and see the orangutans in Borneo? Such experiences may not come cheap, but they’re perfect if you’re planning a one-off special holiday, and your kids will never forget it.

Learn something new

Wherever you go, there will be countless sports and skills your kids could learn whilst on holiday. You could teach them to surf in Hawaii, ski in Italy or practice Tai Chi in China. Giving your kids the chance to learn something new will spark some passion in them and ensure the whole holiday isn’t spent by the pool – you want them to take something away from the trip.

Who knows, they may love their new skill so much, they will continue to use it when they return home.

Father and son kayaking

Take a road trip

Unless someone in your family suffers from travel sickness, taking a road trip is a great way to explore any area and allows you to pack much more into your holiday. You could travel across Europe, or explore Route 66. The world is your oyster.

The constantly changing scenery will remind everyone that they’re on an adventure – who knows what you’ll see and do each day? There’s nothing more exciting than a holiday full of surprises.

Keep your activities varied

Variety is the spice of life – even if you are going to Tenerife or somewhere equally beachy, it doesn’t mean you have to spend every day near the water. In fact, doing so will likely bore both you and the kids, making your holiday rather forgettable. To avoid this, make sure you’re doing something different each day. Florida, for example, isn’t just good for theme parks – you could spend one day at an American mall, another visiting an alligator swamp and a further lying on the famous Miami Beach. Wherever you decide to go, they’ll be loads of different things to do; don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.


Holiday - Child with camera

Don’t forget that camera!

It’s important to document your family holidays, so that you always have something to look back on in the years to come. Therefore it’s vital to bring a camera with a big enough memory card – even better if it also have the ability to record video. You may want to give the little ones disposable cameras, so they can capture the trip from their perspective too.

Just remember not to bore your family by filming every single moment of everything they do! And try not to embarrass them too much either.


We hope these tips will inspire you to book that next special family holiday. It’s always good to have something to look forward to, and a holiday can be a great treat for kids who have just finished their exams or achieved something amazing at school. All time spent with your family is precious, so make sure you make the most of it.

Songs and games

Passing the time quickly and keeping kids entertained at the same time is ideal for when you’re travelling as a family unit.

‘I Spy’ is always fun when waiting for your plane to be ready to board, or whilst queuing for check-in. It’s not great when you’re driving or flying, because you move past objects outside the window too fast for the other person to guess, and the objects inside the vehicle are limited, but it can still be a great time-killer for when you’re practically stationary.

‘Carspotting’ sparks a bit of fun competition between children when they’re in for a long journey. Pick a colour or make of car (or combine both for older kids) and wait for the little ones to have their eyes glued to the windows hoping to win. This game can be adapted to spotting sheep, cows, planes and police cars… you get the idea.

‘Spot the lorry’ is a variation on the classic game of ‘carspotting’, and is hugely popular with kids and adults alike. If you’re in the UK, you have to count the number of Eddie Stobart trucks you see, but whilst abroad you can pick your own regional variation and count those. It provides a good amount of entertainment, whilst keeping the children relatively quiet (until they see a truck of your chosen brand!) and looking out the windows to stop them from suffering with motion sickness.

Sponsored silences are a little cheeky but it could give you a moments rest from the usual ‘we’re-going-on-holiday’ excitement and raucous. If you’re desperate for peace, offer the person who stays quiet the longest a prize.


  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain
  • The Wheels On The Bus
  • Doe A Deer
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
  • Any Disney classic

Staying safe at the seaside

Holidays mean that loads of families will be heading to the beach for a simple but exciting day out. But although it’s a great day out for all the family, it’s important to avoid some of the things which could lead to injury or an emergency situation. Here’s our guide to staying safe at the seaside:


  • Beware of strong currents. You can’t tell how strong the current is by sitting on the beach, but once in the water it can quickly pull you under and you can get carried out to sea.
  • Every European beach has red and yellow flags to signal which areas are being watched constantly by a lifeguard and are safe to swim in. Make sure you stay within these areas in order to stay safe.
  • The red flag means there are strong currents – don’t swim when this flag is flyng.
  • Don’t dive into shallow water.
  • Waves can be dangerous too, especially if they’re powerful. Make sure you venture into the sea cautiously.
  • Make sure someone on shore knows where you are. If you get out of your depth or carried away, they’ll be able to get help. Notify your parents, siblings or friends.
  • Never swim on your own, you never know when help might be needed.
  • Read the safety signs which can warn you about local dangers, notify you which parts of the beach are safe to swim and remind you about safety tips for the beach.
  • If you get into difficulty, stick your hand up and shout for help. The same goes for if you see someone else in difficulty, find a lifeguard as soon as possible or raise the alarm.
  • Beware of rockpools, when wet they can be slippery and dangerous. Sharp pieces of rock can also cut your hands and feet so wear sensible shoes and be careful.

 On land

  • Use the bins provided for rubbish, and make sure you tread carefully, as some people don’t follow the guidelines and use bins. Rubbish can be well hidden when buried under a covering of sand, and things like broken glass or crushed cans are painful to even an adult’s foot.
  • Dispose of barbeques safely and properly, don’t leave them to smoulder on the beach. This can be a fire hazard or could be fallen or trodden on.
  • Make sure you apply the right factor sunscreen every 2-3hours. Remember that you can get burnt even when it’s cloudy or if you’re underwater. Wearing a wet t-shirt offers you no protection from the sun, either. Stay protected.


Travelling with Seniors

Spending quality time with your family is one of the best things about being on holiday. Travelling with your parents or grandparents can also be really memorable and rewarding as you bond over the memories and experiences you have in one destination.

  • As more and more people are going away in multi-generational family groups, finding and enjoying a destination that is suitable for all age ranges is increasingly difficult. Plan ahead and allow for plenty of time, as a hectic see-it-all holiday might result in frustration if people are moving slower than others. Don’t try to see and do everything as this is only going to result in an overwhelming amount of risks and children will become harder to handle, or the whole trip will become stressful in planning around schedules.
  • You don’t want to risk your health or safety whilst you’re meant to be relaxing, so always research anything before you book it and make sure it’s suitable for your needs.
  • Photocopy all of your important documentation like visas and passports and keep them in a secure place.
  • If you carry a walking stick or use a wheelchair, make sure you arrange transportation and ensure you can get around easily.
  • Make sure you invest in some quality travel insurance that covers any pre-existing medical conditions and carry your EHIC with you at all times. This ensures that should you incur any medical costs, you are covered and don’t have to pay out should something happen.
  • Before you leave, it’s a good idea to have a check-up from your doctor.
  • Move around and stretch during your journey, it isn’t always good to be sat still for long periods of time. Allow for breaks if you’re on your feet a lot and drink plenty of bottled water, taking regular sips to make sure you’re not dehydrated.
  • If you’re carrying large amounts of cash with you, split it with a friend, member of your family or travelling companion as it will be safer. Don’t wear expensive jewellery or watches and don’t advertise your cash or wallet too much – keep it in a bag that goes across your body and that is close to you at all times.
  • If you’re travelling somewhere hot, seek out shade during the hotter parts of the day and drink plenty of fluids. Cover up, wear sunscreen and reapply every 2-3 hours.

Travelling With Kids

Kids can be a nightmare to travel longer distances with. With a bit of forward planning, travelling with children shouldn’t have to be a hassle and whilst it might make more work for parents, by taking everything into consideration you can focus on the holiday ahead and family bonding as opposed to trying to separate the fight in the seat behind you.

Below we’ve provided guidelines for each form of transport you could be taking to your chosen destination:

If you’re travelling by car:

  • Do not let your children know if you are lost – it’s incredible how upset and distressed they get if they see you panicking, so pack a satnav, a spare map and study the route before you leave. Write out directions if you’re not fluent in reading maps, they can be easier to glance at rather than following a squiggly line when the car is moving.
  • Start your journey by night or late evening, so that your children will sleep through the majority of the journey (hopefully) and the constant movement of the car will keep them drowsy, especially on motorways – so use these as often as you can. Pack blankets and cushions to help make them comfortable.
  • Mobile technology is a great way of keeping kids entertained whilst you’re driving – the days of I-Spy are long gone and games and films which are readily available capture their attention for much longer. Portable DVD players can hook over the back of your seats, or mp3 players and ipPods can be used with headphones freely in the back without you having to hear kid’s audiobooks on a loop.
  • Take snacks, preferably the non-sticky kind. A hungry travelling child is a lot harder to travel with than a content one. Take a change of clothes too, just as a precaution. Spilt food is more likely to happen in a confined space which is more wobbly than your kitchen table.
  • If your journey has a deadline, make sure you leave plenty of time for kids to blow off steam inbetween long periods of being strapped in and being bored. Take breaks at service stations which have plenty for kids to do and to re-stimulate their brains.
  • Car sickness – If car sickness is severe, ask your GP or pharmacist for any medication that might help prevent or stop the feeling of nausea. As a general aid – keep your children looking in the direction of travel, as it lets the brain know what movement to expect. Play games which involve them looking at passing landscapes and traffic, and pack a few plastic bags, just in case.

If you’re travelling by plane:

  • For a young child, flying experiences, especially for the first time, can be terrifying. Pick flights earlier on in the day as they are less likely to be delayed and you have less chance of distressing your child or having to endure them being bored, fed up, hungry or tired whilst waiting to board a delayed flight.
  • It’s normally the two hour wait before check-in which is draining for both parent and child – so prepare.
  • Get them to suck on a sweet or bottle throughout the ascent and descent of the flight
  • Try and fly as close to their bedtime as possible – if they sleep through the majority of the journey, they’re much less likely to get upset. Also, don’t keep them up for the flight and disrupt their sleeping pattern – you’ll end up with an overtired but awake child who is a nightmare to travel with.
  • Take plenty of toys. You could use all the normal distractions until their patience has almost run out, then bring out a new toy to keep them occupied for a long while after.
  • Make sure your baby or child has had all of their jabs before you travel.

If you’re travelling by boat:

  • Boats hold a fascination with children as they’re the object of many pirate and adventure stories, so letting kids wander round (supervised) without being strapped down like a car or a plane can be great for entertaining them on the journey.
  • The novelty of being on a boat is also accompanied by other people to interact with, and other children to socialise or play with.
  • Check the weather before you leave – sailing through gale force winds won’t make more it a fun journey for anyone, and sea sickness can set in.
  • Sea sickness – Make sure you take any anti-sickness tablets before you leave land, and bear in mind that it’s generally better to be outside on the deck rather than enduring it sat down inside, or at the part of the boat with the least amount of movement. If that doesn’t work, lying down with your eyes closed helps your brain unscramble the mixed messages it’s receiving. Acupressure and salty snacks are also said to help with nausea at sea, but it tends to be dependent on the person.
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