When that long-awaited family holiday finally arrives, it can soon turn to disaster with a screaming baby or a moaning adolescent in tow. We talked to the experts at Booking.com (the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of places to stay) and they shared their advice for family travel to make sure that your holiday is one to remember for all the right reasons.
With more great places to stay than any other travel brand in the world, plus over 89 million real guest reviews, Booking.com shares its top tips on how to ensure your getaway goes smoothly and you have the best and most relaxing travel experience you can.
Expect to go at a slower pace than previous trips as a couple or with friends. Those little legs can take longer to get where they’re going so make sure you build in more time to get between places. You’ll also need stops for bathroom breaks, snack breaks and the all-important nap time—and maybe not just for the kids!
Get everyone excited and involved in the planning – sit down all together as a family to decide where to go or what may be on your itinerary—listen to what your kids would like to do and plan in activities for all. Be inspired by a world of possibilities and use a tool like Booking.com’s Destination Finder to search for the perfect holiday by your family’s interest, passions and ambitions. Just type your passion into the search box, and you’ll instantly be presented with dozens of destination suggestions, all based on millions of real guest’s reviews and endorsements—you could all be hiking through the mountains or visiting museums in a cultural capital or discover the perfect trip for you that you didn’t know existed!
Booking.com has more unique places to stay than any other travel company in the world and with 30 different category types of accommodation – you could try anything from homestays to apartments, villas, igloos, treehouses and more. You’re likely to appreciate the separate bedrooms when you all have more space to yourselves too.
Make sure you balance your time with busy activities and some rest time—you may want to see every site and attraction possible in a short time frame but remember everyone will benefit from some relaxing downtime to re-charge their batteries.
Make sure your destination is family friendly, and consider getting in touch directly with your accommodation beforehand to ask for a travel cot or an extra bed. Most hotels will help you personalize your stay—or use Booking.com’s Booking Messages to arrange!. Whether it’s a late check-in, or an extra bed, the technology behind Booking Messages instantly translates the most common requests and sends them directly to the accommodation in their preferred language. It’s kind of like magic. Communicate in real time when it’s convenient for you with no concerns about language barriers or time zones.
A favourite book or soft toy can be a comfort away from home—not just for the little ones—your teenager will also likely appreciate having their favourite songs or books to hand.
Get travel insurance, any vaccinations needed and research on what can be done in the local area—including the free stuff! To avoid feeling like a geeky tourist or be let down by the lack of internet connection in a more remote area, snap a photo of your map on your phone – that way you’ll have it to hand and can zoom in and out when needed. Or if you use Google Maps, search for your area while your phone is connected to wifi, then at the bottom, tap the bar that has the name of the place you searched and select download.
8. Soak up the sun and the memories.
Live in the moment and don’t forget things may go wrong or be different from home—it’s an adventure for the whole family and the most important thing to do on vacation is to have fun! Let the magic live on after your holiday and encourage your children to create a journal or scrapbook with all their favourite holiday memories, photos, videos and mementoes.