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As we are firmly in peak holiday season, I thought I’d share some of my top tips for making sure you’re prepared for a summer holiday with children. Holidays in the past for Damian and I have been quite different to the types of holidays that we take now that children are here, and it definitely requires a different type of preparation!
Firstly, it’s really important to consider the destination. Back when it was just the two of us we visited places that were interesting to us, I remember one friend looking at us, bewildered, as we told them we had booked to head to Mexico City and not the tourist resorts of Mexico. Now, with the children, it’s all about how long it will take us to get there and if there’s enough nearby to keep them interested! Whilst I’d love to take them around Russia and Mexico City, they’re not destinations we will be heading to with them any time soon.
I’ve had to think long and hard about what to take away with us. Five of us means there’s a lot of clothes to pack. We try to put the children’s clothes in one case and ours in another, which at least means it’s just two cases plus had luggage to carry with us…. of course, children often want to take everything which just isn’t possible!
Make sure that visas and paperwork are up to date. We had an issue in Russia where we were told we had to visit the embassy to get our passports sorted. A lot was lost in translation and in actual fact it was all fine, but believe me, being told your visa needs approval in Russia is not something I’d want to be doing with three young children in tow! It’s also worth making sure you travel insurance documents are all up to date (it’s well worth checking out https://www.bupaglobal.com/en/travel-insurance for insurance cover). Thankfully Damian and I have never had real cause for claiming on our travel insurance (we’ll ignore the whole Icelandic Ash Cloud incident!) but the more people travelling the greater the risk of needing to claim, and the last thing you want when faced with a problem abroad is to be worrying about insurance cover. Get it organised in good time and make sure you have details of the policy packed with you.
I always like to have a rough plan of must-see sights. I don’t plan each day out, but it’s good to have an idea of what you want to see; it also makes sense to check opening hours in case they’re closed any days. We have always liked the Rough Guide travel guides and have found them to be really good and with plenty of information to cover lots of different interests.
It pays to take a bit of time checking out the local transport systems. It’s often much cheaper, especially in European cities, to pay for a weekly ticket and I’ve always found transport systems to be much more affordable (and effective) than our systems here. Spending a little time familiarising yourself with transport from airports etc really does make the difference after a long flight and excited children!
What are your top tips for planning for a summer break; has anything changed significantly for you since having children?