Family holidays provide the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together. It’s a chance to step away from the pressures of the school run and punishing office hours. You’ll make memories, have loads of fun and really bond as a family.
This is the dream, anyway. It’s crucial to choose the right destination for your getaway, or you could end up with bored kids and more stress than you’d bargained for.
Luckily, there are plenty of locations around the world that are tailor-made for holidays with children. From Europe to the USA, you’ll find many child-friendly resorts and hotels which also appeal to grown-ups, so you won’t be driven to distraction with kids’ clubs and ‘animation’ teams at all hours of the day.
The most important thing to remember when choosing a destination for your break is that everyone needs to be happy. You can’t have one family member feeling left out, such as a teenager in a resort where there’s nothing for them to do and no other teens around.
But how do you navigate this difficult balancing act to find a destination that everyone will love? Here are some handy hints to bear in mind:
You literally have the whole world to choose from, so let’s narrow it down a little. Here are just a few of the most popular spots for family holidays.
The second largest of the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura boasts some of the most beautiful beaches. Its fine white sands are perfect for toddlers and children to play on. It also boasts shallow waters that are great for paddling, as well as superb resorts and lots of family-friendly attractions. Hit the water parks, the zoo or take a boat trip for dolphin-spotting and whale watching. Top resorts in Fuerteventura for families are Corralejo, Caleta de Fuste, Costa Calma and Jandía.
It’s obvious why Orlando in Florida is one of the best places to take kids on holiday – it’s the home of the Walt Disney World! It’s pure magic for most children, but there’s plenty to keep grown-ups busy too. Orlando is also blessed with beautiful weather and every kind of child-friendly facility you could ask for.
The Balearic island of Majorca is a popular choice for UK families due to the short flight time (around two and a half hours) and the pleasant climate. There are lots of lovely sandy beaches and family-friendly attractions. There’s an abundance of great family hotels to choose from too, especially in resorts such as Alcúdia, Cala Bona and Palma Nova – home of the Aqualand water park.
Looking for a winter break? Family holidays aren’t all about the beach, and this destination is absolutely perfect for escapes in December and January. You’ll get guaranteed snow and the chance to spot the Northern Lights, as well as Santa Claus, reindeer and sleigh rides. It’s pretty special for all the family.
Italy is another top choice for family holidays because of short flights, great climate and a wonderful cultural experience. Families often stay in Puglia, Sicily and Campania, but the family-friendly resort of Calabria also offers sun and beautiful sandy beaches.
Bulgaria is an increasingly popular family holiday destination – and for very good reason. It’s home to child-friendly hotels, flawless Blue Flag beaches and dozens of amazing day trips including historic fortresses, temples and medieval basilicas.
You don’t always need to rely on entertainment for children being available in the airport, resort or hotel. You can bring it with you, which means no more bored, restless kids!
Depending on the child’s age, books and small toys are a great distraction. Even if you’re hesitant to encourage too much screen time, you may find it useful to take a tablet loaded with your little one’s favourite TV programmes. If all else fails and they’re screaming on the floor of the airport departure lounge while your flight’s delayed, this should do the trick. They’ll soon be mesmerised, forgetting what they were upset about in the first place. Make sure the content is viewable offline though, or you’ll be dependent on Wi-Fi or using your data.
As well as distraction techniques, you’ll also want to be prepared for your family holiday by packing:
Of course, you’ll need a whole different set of kit if you’ll be heading off on a snow or active holiday. Make sure to make an extensive list and check off each item as it goes in the suitcase, or you could end up missing something crucial.
Remember – family holidays aren’t supposed to be stressful. With a little preparation and if you choose the destination carefully, you’re bound to have a wonderful time together. Happy holidays!