The idea of travel – with kids – can seem absolutely frightening. To those without kids, it can even seem like a nightmare. To those of us with kids though… Oh, okay. Fine. It still seems like a nightmare. It’s not that you don’t love your little ones, obviously. But they can test your patience at the best of times, and so it’s totally natural to worry how both they – and you – will cope when you decide to take a holiday. So what do you need to think about?
Seems a bit of an obvious one, but there are loads of different factors that you need to consider here. First of all, of course, is saving up. How much is it going to cost, and what are your spends going to be when you’re there? Are your family better with all-inclusive, or would self-catering be better? Once you’ve sorted all the technicalities, you’ll need to get currency, if necessary. For some countries, like those in Europe or America, this will be as simple as walking up to the counter the day before and changing your sterling. Some of the more exotic places will require that you order way in advance, so it’s really worth thinking about this. It’s often better to take a mixture of currencies – cash, traveller’s cheques and even pre-paid debit cards especially for travel that you can pick up from travel agents. They’re fab because they won’t run up huge charges for you to come home to! Remember, if you run out, it’s not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world, either. Thanks to modern advancements, companies like Azimo will allow family and friends back home to give you a helping hand, from almost anywhere on the planet.
So, once you’ve picked a destination (or perhaps even before), you’ll have to think about travel. Depending on the age(s) of your kid(s), air travel may be a bit tricky. However, it will never be impossible! If you’ve got a baby and she/he is prone to crying, and you are quite content with other passenger’s thinly disguised dirty looks throughout the flight, then knock yourself out. You shouldn’t allow other people’s discomfort to affect your plans.
If, on the other hand, you’re the parent to a slightly older, perhaps nervous child, you may need to work on dispelling any fears they have. The coverage of things like the ‘Malaysian Plane’ hasn’t escaped the notice of a lot of young people, so it’s important to acknowledge it if need be. The best things to do in these instances are to let them know that bad things almost never happen in the air, so there’s no need to be frightened! The last thing you should ever do is show fear around them yourself, because these things are easily picked up on – it’s called a ‘vicarious fear’. If you want to avoid planes altogether, there are some great coach companies out there, like National Express and International Coachlines London, and they’re definitely not as daunting as they sound.
When you throw kids into the mix, picking somewhere where you can relax for seven days straight on a beach may not quite be what they have in mind. You’ll want to choose somewhere with plenty of activities – whether there are day trips or excursions you could take nearby, or a kid’s club they could have fun in with new friends throughout the holiday. A great place to check real life reviews of your apartment or hotel is Trip Advisor. They have candid photos, and honest pros and cons of the place in question.
Insurance is most definitely, 100% completely NOT AN OPTION now that it’s not just your own life you have in your hands. Healthcare in other countries has the most ridiculous price tags attached to it, and we British are incredibly lucky to never face this at home with our own NHS! To avoid any nasty bills, you’ll need to price up insurance alongside the trip, for everyone in the family. This is sometimes included in your bank account, so have a little look. Alternatively, you can pick it up online or at a travel agent. It’s also useful to have in case of loss, theft or damage (unfortunately sometimes, at the hands of baggage handlers or staff in the accommodation!).
Don’t expect to rock up at the Doctor’s the day before you jet off and be able to demand that your – or your child’s – prescription is going to be ready, just like that. You need to leave plenty of time in advance to make sure you have all the right medication and tablets, before you go. Things like epi-pens, asthma inhalers and anti-histamines are also absolutely vital, so go for any check-ups in good time before you leave. It’s worth double checking whilst you’re there that you don’t need any immunisations or other precautions in the country you’re heading to. Finally, ensure you have a Doctor’s note if needed for some tablets, or customs may try and take them off you, or worse!
Now that’s all sorted, all that’s left to do is enjoy your trip! Passports at the ready! (And there’s another thing…!)