I look forward immensely to holidays with my own young family. I’ve experienced my share of holiday nightmares and I’ve also enjoyed some blissful times. Here’s my checklist of things to consider when planning a relaxing family holiday. And yes, I can indeed confirm it’s possible!
We all love traveling overseas for beach holidays, but they are not always the best option for families, especially if you have younger children. Factor in the travel to the airport, waiting for your flight, possible delays and the transfer when you arrive, and the excitement of a holiday can quickly become a day which builds rather than reduces stress. When you start on the back foot like this, it can be difficult to recover - believe me, I know!
This is why UK holidays are again in vogue; with some careful planning to avoid roads at the busiest times, you can be at your destination in a few hours, rather than a losing the best part of a day. A UK journey is exciting enough to build anticipation but short enough that it doesn’t create more stress.
Continuing on the theme of travel, ensuring you leave enough time is crucial. There’s nothing more stressful than a rushed, harassed journey. When you are a stressed parent, children become more stressed, and it becomes a vicious circle. Plan in plenty of time, accounting for problems and unforeseen delays, and you will arrive more relaxed.
Time is an important consideration when you’re on holiday. We all have a tendency to try to cram in lots of family activities, but it’s important to have a balance. We tend to plan a few busy days, followed by a quiet day. Parents need some time to slow down and even though they might be loathed to admit it, children often need it too!
Choose your accommodation wisely
Your accommodation can make or break a family holiday. Hotels may be plentiful and convenient, but they have major disadvantages for families. Our lodges are so popular because unlike a hotel, you can put the kids safely to bed and then enjoy some adult time with a glass of wine, either cosy in front of the fire or out on the veranda. In the day, there’s plenty of space for the kids to run around in full view of the lodges. This means Mum and Dad can relax in the living space and know exactly where the children are.
We’ve also got a dedicated BBQ area and a new nature walk, complete with woodland fairies and a wigwam building to enjoy! For an extra bit of luxury for Mum and Dad, you can book cream teas on arrival and arrange for spa treatments in comfort of your lodge. The perfect family holiday caters for children and parents alike.
You must also consider safety when booking family holiday accommodation. As you’d expect, our lodges are family proof. We have a plentiful supply of high chairs and cots for your family. We have covers on hot tubs and bed guards available for toddlers. Each of our verandas have gates which close off access, meaning the children are totally enclosed for peace of mind. If you let us know before you arrive, we can get all the safety equipment set up before bedtime. Or in time for you to squeeze in an afternoon nap!
Eating should be a pleasure, but it can be a source of drama and stress when young children are involved.
Being able to prepare and bring your own food is also a major advantage of lodges like ours. You can prepare breakfast, snacks and meals without having to either take the kids to the restaurant or pay to eat out. Similarly, you can heat milk and microwave baby food whenever they are needed.
Eating out, especially two or three times per day, is expensive, But also, the experience can be difficult for children who might not want to sit in a more formal setting each time they eat. Yes, heading out for a family meal without having to worry about shopping, cooking and cleaning up can be a treat. But on other occasions, being able to make a sandwich can itself feel like a luxury! A relaxing family holiday should be about having the option to do whatever suits the occasion.
Things to do
The other major consideration after the accommodation is the location and what activities are accessible. You’ll want to ensure there are some ‘headline’ actives that the children will look forward to. We like planning as a family, voting on our preference and penciling activities onto the calendar. Note I said penciled in, it’s important you don’t build a packed itinerary that you must follow, this can be exhausting and feel more like a job.
Do some research into the local area. Although certain big ticket actives might be a must, make sure you look past the obvious tourist attractions. Asking for recommendations on Facebook is a good tip - one or two friends have likely been before, as search on Pinterest for family holiday actives in the area you are thinking of visiting, there are some great local travel guides accessible there.
We’ve produced our own guide for Winchester and Hampshire. Take a look at our blog explaining the best days out in Hampshire with your kids
With a bit of planning, it is possible to have a relaxing family holiday. Take a look at our beautiful lodges and speak to us when you’re ready to book your next holiday.