Stress-free Planning for a Family Holiday

Looking forward to a holiday is one of life’s little pleasures, but the practical side of planning and organising it can sometimes be a bit stressful. There’s a lot to remember, and only one chance to get it right. 

The Before-you-go To-Do List

Most of us make some kind of action plan for holidays, even if they’re only in our heads. We certainly have some idea of places to visit and things to do. Having a countdown action plan for tasks before you go is equally useful. Items to go on the list can include:

  • Departure and return dates to give to family, friends, or anyone you’re leaving a spare key with.
  • Flight times with accompanying travel arrangements, taxi, or long-term parking bookings.
  • Getting kennels or cattery places organised, or arranging for vaccinations or pet passports.
  • Cancelling any regular deliveries to your home.
  • Organising self storage if you’re placing valuables there for safe keeping.

Earning money when you are gone

One thing to give careful consideration to is the option to make some money while you are gone, utilising the exponentially growing rental market, especially if you plan on being away for longer periods of time. Covid had changed the way we travel and  now particularly when it comes to family travel, people including ourselves now tend to favour vacation rentals over a hotel.  For me personally the driver for this decision is the ability to cook meals and the extra space when the kids go to bed… we can chill.

We are currently planning our 2024 and beyond adventures and we are constantly gravitating towards the use of a vacation rentals over our previous preferred option of a hotel.  Perhaps we may even consider the use of our own property as a vacation rental while we are on longer trips, certainly something to give some thought to.

Plan plan and plan some more 

Sometimes the planning itself can be very daunting, especially if its  a long trip or a trip to a far flung destination. In these instances enlisting the help of a personal travel planner can be hugely beneficial.  A personal travel planner can take care of all the details of your trip including flights, hotels/airbnbs, transportation, excursions, restaurants, tours, sports etc. The great thing about a travel planner is they are dedicated to making the trip work for you and your needs as opposed to for example a travel agent who only works with certain properties etc.

I also make a checklist for the final walkthrough before I leave. Checking that lights are off, everything is unplugged that should be, and you didn’t leave the oven on, clears any nagging doubts out of your mind.

Stress-free Packing

Packing for a holiday can be more stressful than it needs to be, especially if it falls on one person to do the job for all the family. Make it easier by:

  • Starting early. Give yourself a few days to gather everything and do any laundry. 
  • Having a packing rehearsal. Make sure everything fits in the cases you have, and that your cases conform to airline regulations.
  • Working from a packing list. Write down specific items each person will need, then tick them off as they’re packed.
  • Avoiding those ‘just in case’ items by packing according to the type of holiday you’re taking, the activities you’ll do, and how long you’re going for. Also, can you wash things while you’re away? If so, you don’t necessarily need a fresh outfit everyday for everyone.

Pop cables, chargers, adaptors, or batteries in separate bags. (Little sandwich bags work well). As well as preventing tangled wires, you can use these to help protect phones or hold keys when you’re on the beach, and they’re useful for keeping together paper items such as venue or travel tickets. Just remember not to leave them behind on the beach!

Home Security

Knowing everything’s safe at home gives you peace of mind while you’re away, so it’s worth giving it some thought. Things to consider include:

  • Asking a neighbour to keep an eye out. If they can actually go in and just check around that would be best, but at least let them know you’re on holiday and not expecting any visitors. If they see anyone on your property, they’ll know they have no business being there.
  • Putting valuables into storage. You can rent a locker storage unit if you don’t want a bigger space. If the worst happens while you’re gone, at least your valuables will be safe. Think of jewellery, important documents, or items with sentimental value that you could never replace. You could also consider computers, cameras, or other equipment that’s expensive but easily portable.
  • Put a couple of lights on a timer so they come on at dusk and go off later.
  • Check home insurance to make sure your possessions and property are covered if the house is left empty. It probably is, but you check if there are any exclusions and make arrangements accordingly.

Happy holidays take some organising, but if you allow plenty of time you can make it part of the anticipation and enjoy the process!


Note: This is a collaborative post
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