There is nothing more exciting and daunting than planning your first family holiday. Especially your first holiday abroad. It can feel equal parts exciting and overwhelming, trying to decide where to go, when to go and how long for.
Our very first family holiday was all of these things and we ended up being super precautious because of it. I look back on it and think, if only we knew then what we know now. Taking little ones on holiday is incredibly fun and worthwhile. But I know that the first time you do it, it can seem a little overwhelming. But I promise you, with some thoughtful planning it can be pretty stress free.
So if you’re in the market for some tips and advice you’ve come to the right place because I’ve got 5 things that will help make planning your first family holiday a breeze.
Be Time Zone Savvy
Think carefully about time zones when looking at destinations. You can easily lose a lot of your holiday to jet lag with little ones as we learnt on our holiday in Cyprus. So you definitely want to look at how much of a difference there is between time zones. For that reason, you might want to look at destinations which have the same time zone like Tenerife (if you’re in the UK), or ones that have just a few hours difference. The shorter the holiday, the more you might want to take this tip into consideration as little ones will have less time overall to adjust. Which leads me on nicely to my next point.
Plan Your Duration Around Your Location
If you’re planning a long haul holiday take the maximum days you can so that you can get the most of it. Generally, for us, 10-14 days makes a long haul trip with children more worthwhile given how much travelling you need to do to get there and back. Whilst for short haul holidays we’ll happily take 7 days or less, particularly if there isn’t a huge time difference.
Be Thoughtful About Travel Arrangements
It’s really easy to overlook the whole travelling element and just focus on the holiday itself. Don’t. You will make your life so much easier if you think carefully about flight times and travel times between airports and where you are staying. It can be incredible the difference morning, afternoon and night flights can make with little ones. Likewise, when you throw in a stopover it can make a massive difference to your experience and the start or end of your holiday.
For your first family holiday, you’ll inevitably have to guess what you think are the right travel times and arrangements for your family. A good starting point is to think about children’s routines and plan around those. After you’ve got one or two holidays under your belt you’ll start to get a good idea of what works and doesn’t work for you and plan accordingly.
Create Your Perfect Family Holiday
Unless you’re looking for the bargain of the century or a last minute deal don’t be tempted to just book any deal that looks good. Pretty much all holiday deals look good on the face of it. Perfect blue sunny skies, crystal clear swimming pools and white sandy beaches look good pretty much anywhere. But looks can be very deceiving when it comes to looking at hotels online so before you start looking for your perfect holiday make sure you are clear on what that looks like for your family. Zone in on destinations, specific locations, weather, hotels and anything else that is important to you. That way you’ll be able to more easily shortlist and narrow down your options and not get overwhelmed or misled by all the seemingly identical hotels and deals on offer.
Do Your Research
Check what the weather will be like for the time of year you are visiting, particularly if the price of a holiday looks too good to be true. You’ll find that prices generally lower out of season, which is typically when the weather isn’t so good. Also, check out what there is to see and do if you want to venture out of where you are staying and do a bit of research on the different locations at a destination so that you can make sure you pick the right area for your family to stay.
Putting the effort in and taking the time to look around and do a bit of research on all these things will help to make sure that your expectations of a holiday are met in reality! Follow these 5 tips and I’m confident you’ll have the best first family holiday that you could have. If you need some inspiration for where to go on your first family holiday you can take a look at our 2020 family travel bucket list or my post on the best European cities to visit with kids.