Going on holiday is a wonderful, well-needed break from the craziness that is life, particularly when you can get the whole family together and travel with everyone, although that might be just as stressful if you aren’t prepared. Travelling with your whole family might mean travelling with children or seniors, which can be overwhelming if it’s your first time or if you don’t know what to expect.
Being prepared for any kind of challenges while you’re on a trip can help make everything go smoothly, and knowing what you’re getting yourself into is one of the ways to prepare. Here are some tips for travelling with the whole family.
Give yourself plenty of time to get anywhere. Travelling with children or seniors can make everything take longer than you would think, mainly because you’re thinking in terms of your own speed. Going through airports, eating at restaurants, and getting from place to place will all be slower moving than if you were travelling alone or with a partner, so try and leave lots of buffer time. Try to be at the airport or train station a bit earlier than usual, and don’t jam-pack your daily schedule with too many activities in case you’re late for something – your entire day will be thrown off, and it will become stressful.
Pre-book as much as you can. Showing up in a foreign city with no hotel reservation doesn’t work if you have kids or elderly parents with you. Make sure you know where you’re staying before you get there, and if you’re travelling by train or bus anywhere, book those in advance as well, so you have a schedule or plan to stick to. Also, pre-booking the entertainment is a good idea, so there’s one less thing on your brain to worry about while on your trip, especially if you’re going on a trip during a holiday period.
Always have snacks available. You don’t want your fun excursion turned into a miserable one because of a cranky, hungry, screaming child. There are plenty of reasons why the time between full meals is elongated, like delayed flights or unexpected travel times to your destination, so avoid the tantrum and pack some food the kids can nibble on. Plus then you can sneak some too when you start to lose your own energy.
Ask for discounts for children. Sometimes discounts aren’t posted but are available, and asking can save you quite a bit throughout your trip. You might be able to get discounts on transportation, tours, entrance fees to attractions like museums, or on food in restaurants.
With elderly parents
Take it slow. While it’s important to note that some seniors will still have the mobility and ability to travel, there are some conditions like dementia, for example, that are more limiting and require specialised care. It’s vital to check with a doctor or caregiver and get the go-ahead to travel before booking any trips with your elderly family members. Trying to see and do everything at your destination might be overwhelming for a senior, and they might not have the energy for it.
Setting them up for an unenjoyable time will just put undue stress on the whole family, so consider their physical limitations when planning activities. Can they walk around for long periods of time? Is there a lot of standing required, and can they handle it? If it’s outdoors, will the weather be comfortable? There are a few aspects to consider, and it might be helpful to discuss this with them prior to booking anything.