Some of the best memories of childhood are from family holidays. Taking a trip together is a great bonding experience and creates memories for the whole family. If you’re planning a holiday for you and your children, it can be tricky to choose the best places to go and what to do, especially if your have children over a range of ages. With some clever planning and simple tips, you can make sure you have a holiday that the whole family will enjoy and remember forever. 

  1. Choose the right location. With small children, travel time is a big factor. Flying with small children can be very stressful, so perhaps choose a location in the UK until your children are a little older. There are lots of great family holiday parks in the UK, like Lyons Holiday Parks in Wales.
  2. Think about the temperature of where you’re planning to go. Too hot can be hard on small children and babies, so check average temperatures before booking. 
  3. What attractions are nearby? What do you think you and the kids will enjoy doing most on holiday? Do you want beaches, water parks or theme parks? Are you looking for shopping and restaurants for the adults too? Book somewhere with your must have attractions nearby to minimise the amount of travelling you need to do during the trip. 
  4. What food is available? Check for child friendly menus wherever you’re thinking of staying, especially if you have kids who are fussier eaters. If you’re staying somewhere all inclusive, will kid favourites like ice creams and soft drinks also be covered? 
  5. Is there a child minding service in the hotel or resort? If you’d like some child free time while you’re away, make sure that where you stay offers a safe babysitting service. A kids’ club is also a great option to look for to keep the kids entertained all day while you relax. 
  6. Check for family facilities, like available cots for bedrooms, interconnecting rooms and lifts to the rooms for getting pushchairs in. Is there a kid’s pool, or a lifeguard on the regular pool so they can play safely? 
  7. Make sure you have valid passports for the whole family, with at least six months left on them. Even babies need their own passports now, as children can no longer travel on their mother’s passport. Many EU countries now require six months until your passport expires to let you in. Check if you’ll need a visa or other documentation, and get them sorted in good time for the family. 
  8. Children can be accident prone, so make sure you’ve arranged travel insurance before you go. In the case of an accident, this will cover you for any medical care you need. It can also cover you for lost luggage or travel problems like flight cancellations. Being insured will take a lot of the worry out of any holiday mishaps. 
  9. If you’re planning on hiring a car, make sure your driving licence is valid for you to drive in the country you’re visiting. Some rental firms will need to see your full driving record before letting you rent a car, so get a copy before you go and find out what else you might need before you can drive away. 
  10. If some of the children have different surnames to you, it’s advisable to travel with documents that confirm their relationship to you. The Home Office advises that this evidence could include birth or adoption certificates, or marriage or divorce certificates if you are the parent but have a different surname. If you’re travelling with somebody else’s children, such as bringing your child’s friend, take a letter expressing permission for you to take the child out of the country. 
  11. Check before you travel what vaccinations you and the kids may need, and make sure you get them done. 
  12. If you’re travelling with a baby, make sure you pack all the gear you’ll need so you’re not caught out unable to find an essential while you’re away. Take plenty of nappies and wipes, as well as any baby carrier you use. Make sure you have plenty of food and drink for the baby, such as formula, although be sure to check the rules for taking it through an airport and into another country. 
  13. Pack some entertainment for the kids during the journey. Car games, colouring books, favourite electronics and headphones are great options. For small children, take a variety of options as they’re likely to get bored quickly. 
  14. Prep the kids before you go. Give them an idea of what to expect by talking to them about and showing them pictures of the place you’ll be visiting. If you’re going abroad, teach them about the culture of where you’re visiting. As a family, learn some simple phrases in the local language, such as saying hello, and please and thank you. 
  15. While you’re away, use the holiday as an excuse to encourage the kids to try new foods. Even fussy eaters can be more open to new flavours if they’re relaxed on holiday. Try the local cuisine if you’re abroad, and set a good example for the kids by trying new things too. If you’re in the UK, look into regional specialities, such as fresh seafood if you’re by the beach and learn about British cuisine. 
  16. Team up with another family. Do you have friends who have children of a similar age to yours? Planning a trip together can be a fantastic holiday. With more people splitting the cost, it can be cheaper, and there are more adults on hand to watch the children. The children will love having more playmates around and may come home with some new friends too. 
  17. Get the kids involved. If they’re old enough, let them be part of choosing where to go and what to do when you get there. Give them choices for holiday activities or let them help choose where to eat if you’re heading out for the night. They’re sure to get even more joy out of a trip they have helped to plan and it could be a good way to start teaching them some responsibility. 
  18. Choose something new to do. A holiday is a great time to try out a new activity that the family have never done before, and create some fantastic family memories. Try something like pony trekking or canoeing and enjoy something new. 
  19. Plan some safety measures. Nobody wants to think about losing their child on holiday, but adventurous kids may wander off. Make sure they know how to find a safe adult, such as hotel staff, to ask for help if they’re lost. Teach them your mobile phone number and the number of the hotel. Arrange a meeting place to head to in case you get separated to make it easy for them to find you in case of emergency. Wristbands with your details on are great for smaller children who may struggle to remember where they’re staying if they wander off. 
  20. Children struggle with the sun and the heat more than adults, so be sure to keep them well hydrated and make sure they’re wearing sunscreen at all times. Reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially after activities like swimming. Keep kids out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, and keep them in the shade instead. Don’t cover a baby’s cot or pushchair with a blanket to create shade, as this will also heat up the air around them and they’ll be at risk of overheating.