For a stress-free family holiday, preparation is key. Nobody wants to arrive at their dream destination, only to discover their hotel doesn’t allow children, they’ve got the wrong currency (it happens!), or their visa is invalid. Here are the main things you’ll need to remember to prepare, so your trip goes swimmingly.
Your best bet is to organise travel insurance immediately after you book your trip. This will mean that if your holiday is cancelled or postponed for whatever reason, you don’t lose out. You’ll always want to ensure that your children are covered in your policy as well – the only thing worse than a sick child on holiday is having to pay an arm and a leg for their treatment.
In the few weeks leading up to your trip, pay close attention to the exchange rates so you can ensure you’re getting the best rate for your money, and whatever you do, don’t wait until you’re at the airport – the premiums they charge are substantial. A prepaid currency card can be a really reassuring thing to have in your wallet, as it means you don’t have to carry vast sums of cash, and you can even pay for meals and trips with your card without paying your bank’s international charges.
Many holiday locations outside of the EU require a visa or visa waiver for all travellers. For example, America requires a visa waiver for everyone, including children, by law, which is easy and straightforward to fill in – all you have to do is visit the ESTA website before you travel and fill in the forms there. Failing to travel with a visa or waiver to many countries will result in not being allowed into the country, or leave you facing a hefty fine.
Check with your GP before you travel that everyone’s vaccinations are up to date, all boosters are in place, and seek advice on malaria or rabies treatment if you’re going to a country with concerns.
First things first, ensure all your passports are in date. It’s also important to check with the embassy of the country you’re visiting how much time needs to be left on the passport. For example, if you’re visiting the USA, there have to be at least six months left before the passport expires in order to enter the country.
Book your airport transfers, car hire (especially important for fun, family road trips), and any other expensive travel, such as internal flights or trains well in advance. This way you’ll ensure you get a good deal, and you won’t have the stress of organising it on arrival.
If you’re planning on flying or driving for long periods, you’re going to want to ensure you’ve got your kid’s entertainment sorted. Bring snacks, music, toys, books, colouring in, anything to keep them occupied, and with a bit of variety too. There’s nothing worse than a bored child on a long-haul flight, that’s for sure.
A smooth-running and a happy family holiday is all about the preparation beforehand, and then relaxation and enjoyment are all that are left when you arrive.