Category Archives:Family travel

Exciting Attractions for Kids in Dubai

Entertaining the kids on holiday is a hard feat, especially if you are visiting a place that is too grown up for the little ones. Travellers looking to visit Dubai for their yearly vacation, however, will not have to worry about that, as the city is home to a number of fun and exciting attractions specifically for the smaller members of the family.  So don’t discount Dubai as the perfect family-orientated holiday destination!

If you’re interested in visiting the UAE this year with your family, here are some ideas of where you can take your kids in Dubai:

Dubai Parks and Resorts

Opening later this year – in October – Dubai Parks and Resorts is an amazing resort that includes five different theme parks – motiongate™ DUBAI, Bollywood PARKS™ DUBAI, LEGOLAND® DUBAI, LEGOLAND® WATER PARK, and RIVERLAND™ DUBAI. Each of these has a number of attractions, shows and thrill rides that are suitable for the whole family.

motiongate™ DUBAI is a theme park which is home to an array of rides based on a number of popular movies (including The Hunger Games, Shrek, and The Smurfs).

Bollywood PARKS™ DUBAI includes five different zones that offer different environments inspired by Bollywood blockbusters,

Meanwhile, LEGOLAND® DUBAI and LEGOLAND® WATER PARK are based around everything LEGO® and offer the perfect theme park in Dubai environment for families with kids aged between 2 and 12.

Finally, RIVERLAND™ DUBAI provides visitors with a place they can enjoy good food and theatres in four different eras from our past.

Ski Dubai

ski dubai

Located in the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is the Middle East’s first indoor ski centre. Suitable for newbies and pros, children and adults, this amazing ski centre offers a safe setting where visitors can enjoy a variety of activities. Try skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, tube slides, slopes and jumps, or simply playing in the snow together.

There are five exhilarating fun runs for skiers and snowboarders, as well as a chairlift that will take visitors to the top with ease. Kids can have their first skiing lesson at the centre’s ski school by a qualified instructor, or they can visit the resident King Penguins and colony of Gentoo.

Once the fun is over, families can head to one of the centre’s themed restaurants – Avalanche Café and St Moritz Café – where they can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and a snack to fill their bellies.

Once the fun is over, families can head to one of the centre’s themed restaurants – Avalanche Café and St Moritz Café – where they can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and a snack to fill their bellies.

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

dubai for kids

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo can be found at The Dubai Mall, and is a place that has everything to keep the entire family entertained and happy during their visit. It’s not just about shopping!

The 10-million litre tank is the largest suspended aquarium in the world and houses thousands of animals. There are 140 different species, 300 sharks and rays, as well as the largest collection of Sand Tiger sharks in the world.

There are a number of watery experiences including an underwater zoo, presentations and a chance for the kids to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on at the Dubai Aquarium. At the Underwater Zoo they can watch a shark feeding, ride on the aquarium’s glass-bottom boat, meet an Aquarist, and so much more – this is a day out the kids will never forget.

Make some amazing memories during your visit to Dubai, visit one or all of the above-mentioned attractions the whole family can enjoy!

Flying when Pregnant

Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy one relaxing last holiday before the baby arrives. Although many expectant mums may be nervous about flying, if you take the right precautions you will be perfectly comfortable and safe. Follow our top five tips for flying when pregnant.

Speak to Your Doctor

Whatever stage you are at in your pregnancy, it is essential that you speak to your doctor before you leave. Ask them for a medical certificate that states you are safe to fly; although most airlines won’t ask you for one of these it is good to have one just in case of any difficulties at the airport.

Your doctor will also be able to give you advice on how to stay safe onboard and give you any medication that may help make your flights more enjoyable.

Staying Comfortable Onboard

Airplane seats are not renowned for being the most comfortable – particularly on long flights; therefore, you need to find your own ways to stay comfortable onboard. When you’re checking in, request that you can have seats with extra space. The aisle seats are the most comfortable and it is much easier for you to get out and walk around if you need to. You’ll also find that you’ll have a much smoother ride if you are seated in the middle of the plane. Airlines will not allow you to sit in the emergency exit seats if you are pregnant.

Sitting down for long periods of time can be incredibly uncomfortable, even if you’re not pregnant. It is important that you regularly stand up and walk around to keep your circulation going. You should also do a few simple stretches every half hour or so as circulation problems are very common in pregnant women.

flying when pregnant

Dress Appropriately

What you wear can make a big difference to how you feel on your flight. Make sure that you wear loose clothing made from breathable fabrics – remember comfort comes before fashion when flying!

When you’re pregnant, your risk of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is greatly heightened, so invest in a pair of DVT preventative in-flight socks. These are very inexpensive and you can buy them from most major airports and online.

Choose your Destination Carefully

If you are heavily pregnant or don’t feel comfortable sitting down for long periods of time, then you should be careful what destination you choose for your holiday.

There are plenty of places you can visit without having to endure long flights. Try to pick destinations that are close to home, to make the whole experience much easier.

Another thing to take into consideration when choosing where you are going to go is what medical facilities there are available. Complications can happen at any stage of pregnancy so you want to feel safe knowing that you have access to adequate medical help should you require it.  Make a note of local hospitals around where you’ll be staying before you leave.

Check Airline Restrictions

All airlines have restrictions on pregnant women flying with them. While some of them will let you fly very close to your due date, others are a lot stricter.

Before booking your flights make sure that you understand their restrictions and that you won’t find yourself being unable to fly. As we mentioned before, always ask your doctor for a medical certificate saying you are safe to fly no more than three days prior to your departure just in case they ask for it.

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Family Holiday

Organising a family vacation can be an expensive undertaking. After all, it often feels like the only way to ensure that you all have a really good time is to spend more money. However, it is actually very easy to save money on your vacation while still making sure that you all have a lot of fun. Here are five simple but effective tips that will enable you to save money and have a great time on your next family vacation.

1. Prepare Your Own Food

One of the simplest ways that you can save money when you next go on a family vacation is to cook your own food. Meals out for the whole family can be incredibly expensive over the course of your vacation, so the more you can cut down on these the better.

If you do want to eat out in restaurants, another money-saving food tip is to save your big meals for the middle of the day. Many restaurants have affordable lunchtime menus, and you can take advantage of this and then eat a smaller, cheaper meal in the evening.

It’s also a good idea to buy some cheap and filling snacks at a supermarket (such as nuts and dried fruit) to take out with you on day trips. It will be a lot less expensive than buying ice creams, crisps, hamburgers and chocolate bars throughout the day.

2. Use Comparison Sites
Comparison sites are a traveller’s best friend. There are now comparison sites that can help you with many aspects of going on vacation, so make use of them all to save on your expenses. You can find the best deals on travel insurance, flights, hotels and more just by looking at a few sites, so it makes sense to spend a few minutes checking what’s available before you go ahead and book everything.

3. Travel Out of Season
Travelling in the low season is one of the simplest way to cut the cost of your family holiday considerably. Whichever destination you have in mind, find out when the cheapest time to travel there is and you may find that hotels, restaurants and attractions all come with significant discounts. The downside is that certain attractions may not be open, but it really depends on where you go, so do a bit of research in advance and the savings could be significant.

4. Rent an Apartment
If you always stay in hotels on your vacations, consider a different accommodation option that could save you a huge amount of money. Renting an apartment often works out a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel, especially if there are a lot of you. You may even be able to find a luxury apartment for less than it would cost to stay in a standard hotel room for a week. Alternatively, consider a camping holiday. This is one of the cheapest accommodation options available, and it can be a lot of fun as well.

5. Save Money on Your Hotel

If you do decide to stay in a hotel, make sure you avoid all of the expensive extras. This means avoiding the hotel breakfast unless it is included free of charge, steering clear of the pricey restaurant, and avoiding services like laundry, all of which you can probably find nearby for less.

Make sure you also keep your eyes open for discounts when you are booking your hotel rooms, and even consider haggling over the price – you may be surprised at the discounts that are sometimes available if you are ready to negotiate.

Enjoy a Cheaper Family Vacation
Travelling as a family is a lot of fun, but that does not mean it has to cost you a fortune. You can still enjoy an excellent family vacation while cutting down on costs by following the above tips. So start planning your family vacation this year without having to worry about how you will afford it because there are always ways that you can cut down on costs while still ensuring you all have a great time.

Elizabeth Bailey is a travel consultant and a mother of 3. She enjoys taking the family out on car trips and sharing her experiences through blogging. For ideas about car rental, visit the link.

Top Disney Attractions too Scary for Young Ones

Is Walt Disney World ever too scary for younger children?  I’m a mother of five and we’ve been hauling them to WDW for years.  While the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ truly is magical, most of the time, there are a few attractions to be weary of for your youngest family members.

I remember our first family visit with our oldest daughter (just the one kid at the time) and the grandparents.  She was four.  We started our day in the Fantasyland section of the Magic Kingdom.  She saw the Snow White sign and just had to go.  We somehow missed the small sign stating it might be scary for young children and boy was that a mistake.  The ride was loud with dark frightening scenes, so we exited with her in tears and ready to leave the park entirely. Fortunately, that attraction is gone now, replaced with Mickey’s Philharmagic which is delightful and not the least bit scary.

Let me share some tips for avoiding, or at least minimising, the dramatic bawling scenes that can ruin a pleasant and exciting day.

Volume Level

Before boarding any attraction explain that it will be loud.   Believe me; you can count on any attraction being very loud.  If your child is sensitive to this sort of thing, prepare him with the truth but don’t make a big fuss about it.  Just say its “loud at first.”  That way he relaxes and knows it won’t stay loud the whole time.  He adapts to the volume and it stops being a bother.  By the time you’ve been on two or three, volume won’t be an issue.

Dark & Scary Scenes

Besides volume, some attractions are simply too scary for young children.  After all, every Disney animation movie that comes to mind has at least one evil witch or bad guy and a few scary scenes.  Think Malificent in Sleeping Beauty or the evil Emperor Zurg in Toy Story.  Disney does scary as an art form.  Again, truthfully state the ride may be dark for a minute but won’t STAY dark.  Again, little eyes adjust and if parents are having a blast, so will the child.  Following our Snow White’s Scary Adventure debacle, we told our daughter she would love Small World and it would only be loud for a minute or two and not dark at all.  We had to ride it five times but that’s another story.

List of frightening rides for little ones by park:

Magic Kingdom

  • The Haunted Mansion – Dark and loud with ghoulish scenes
  • Flight of Peter Pan– Dark for most of the ride with an incredibly long queue.
  • Stitch’s Great Escape – Dark, loud, smokey with the added bonus of feeling trapped inside a very tight shoulder harness.  I’ve seen 10 year olds flip out on this one.

Animal Kingdom

  • Dinosaur – It does have a height requirement, so likely a moot warning for parents of the very young.  It is extremely loud even by Disney standard and bone jarring to boot.  We rode it once, years ago, and once was enough.  Nothing redeeming about it really.  It is dark, loud, scary dinosaurs that often jump out and the ride is very jerky.
  • Tough to be a Bug Show- Harmless enough in the beginning, this one builds to a crescendo of fright with giant spiders coming out of the ceiling, a scene of chaos and confusion for many little ones.  Skip it unless your child has become sensitised to volume, dark AND fright all at once.

Hollywood Studios

  • Fantasmic- This is a favorite of many teens.  However, a few scenes can be frightening for very young ones.  If you can get through the scary dream sequences which include yelling, fire and smoke, the end is jolly and light with paddle boats full of favorite characters happily waving.  Not to mention that the music, throughout the show, is incredible.
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid- Again, dark & loud with scary scenes but not all the way through.  If your young one has seen the movie, it’s more likely she’ll love this stage production even if a little scared at first.

EPCOT

  • The Spirit of the Viking in Norway’s pavillion- Dark, loud, backward tipping and not enjoyable.  Let your little one play on the Viking boat run around by the pavilion instead.  Or Try the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico’s pavilion when traveling with the very young.

To be honest, any attraction has the potential to be scary for young ones.  Some with good reason, and others simply because the child has a preconceived anticipation to be scared.  Your child may be just fine with the ghoulish scenes of the Haunted Mansion but be scared senseless on Dumbo.  Most kids follow the example of the others around them so relax and enjoy yourself and so will the little ones.

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Related posts: Travel Packing List for Small Children

 

 

Travel Packing List for Small Children

When travelling with small children, being unprepared can result in distressed children and stressed out parents.

It is easy to forget even the most obvious items, so planning ahead will ensure you don’t miss packing the items that are essential to your child’s happiness and comfort while on vacation.

 Pack their favourites

Whether it’s their first significant period away from home or they’re already mini globe-trekkers, going somewhere new can be very daunting for a child. To minimise the stress they may be feeling you should always pack some of their favourite items.
Whether it’s the blanket they can’t sleep without, the teddy they couldn’t possibly leave behind or a book they love to be read to them before bed, these items are the ones that need to be top of the packing pile.
Their favourite snacks, bath toys or even an outfit they love to wear can provide a point of continuity for them by keeping them as close to their daily routine as possible.

 

Keep them entertained

Travelling almost always involves long periods of time where you’re simply sitting down waiting to arrive at your destination. Whether you’re travelling by air, boat or car, keeping your children entertained is a challenge in itself.

As well as your child’s usual favourite toys try to bring things that will get them excited about the destination you’re taking them to. This could include an iPad with a fun video of where you’re going or a picture book with all the fun things they will get to do there.

Child psychologist at Boston University, Dr Jonathan Comer, advises parents to bring several new toys along that are introduced slowly throughout the trip. Bringing new toys out will increase its novelty, he said.

Packing essentials

Alongside items that are specific to your child are the everyday essentials that will help your trip run more smoothly.

Non-perishable travel snacks are good to have on hand – raisins and cereal bars, for example. However, always be aware of laws and regulations surrounding bringing food items into a country or state that you are visiting.

Ease your child’s concern over being in a new place by bringing a nightlight – perhaps their favourite one, which will ease their nerves at bedtime. If you are travelling overseas, don’t forget to bring travel adaptors to run any electrical items through.

The last thing you want when travelling is for you or your child to get sick, but no matter how careful you are accidents and illness can and do happen. Having a good range of first aid items on hand will prevent frantic dashes to a local pharmacy that may not even have what you need.

Particularly in countries where English is not their native language, having brands of medicine that you know are safe and effective for your child is invaluable.

Items to pack in your first aid kit include: bandages, antihistamines, cough medicine, antiseptic cream, bug repellent and relief, digital thermometer, tweezers, paracetamol, anti-diarrohea tablets and sunscreen.

If you’re heading somewhere hot and sunny you probably won’t think of bringing an umbrella, but they are very helpful for keeping your child in the shade when outside. Sunglasses and a sunhat are also packing essentials.

 Clothing to pack

When choosing what to pack your child to wear on holiday you should always aim to prepare for any situation, but at the same time not pack more than you need.

Cotton clothing is a good choice as it is virtually wrinkle free so will travel much better than other fabrics, and choose block colour clothes that are easy to mix and match.

Save space by bringing shorts that can double up as boys swimming trunks and invest in long-sleeve swim shirts to prevent sunburn when in the pool or at the beach.

It might be hot outside but it can easily get cold under the air conditioning, so pack long-sleeve tops to keep the kids warm in bed and when out and about.

Bring comfortable shoes that are also weather-proof, in case of surprise downpours or rough terrain; travelling often involves a lot more walking than anticipated.

Don’t forget to pack a change of clothes for the journey there. Accidents can happen, so having a spare pair of clothes in your bag will be a life saver – particularly when in the confines of an airplane. Letting your children travel in their pyjamas will also help them to be more comfortable on long journeys.

Family friendly holidays in America

North America is such a wonderfully huge and diverse part of the world that you’re almost too spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a holiday destination for you and your family. No matter what time of year you visit you’ll find world-class beaches, ski slopes, theme parks and more – making North America the perfect choice for your next family holiday. We take a look at our top five child-friendly destinations in North America.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando Florida is every kid’s dream holiday destination. Home to some of the world’s biggest and most exciting theme parks – a trip to Orlando is a sure fire way of winning over some brownie points from your kids.

Disney World, Florida - every kids dream!
Disney World, Florida – every kids dream!

There are dozens of hotels and resorts to choose from – specifically catering for families – including resorts within the theme parks themselves for the ultimate child-friendly getaway.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

What child (or adult) wouldn’t love to visit a town that is entirely based around chocolate? You may think it sounds like something out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – but it is indeed a reality in the small town of Hershey in Pennsylvania, where even the lampposts are in the shape of Hershey’s popular ‘Kisses’.

Hershey Chocolate World is a chocolate lovers dream come true – a theme park based around the famous American chocolate brand. Take a ride on the log flume ride and grab a free Hershey chocolate bar for you and your kids at the end.

British Columbia, Canada

If you want to take your children on their first trip to the slopes, then the beautiful region of British Columbia in Canada has a wonderful range of child-friendly options.

One of the best for young children is Big White ski resort, which includes a highly recommended ‘Tot Town Day Care’ for children who are too young to ski as well as a Kids’ Centre for kids over the age of four years. So you can rest assured that even if you’re hitting the slopes – the kids will still be kept entertained.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

No matter what age you are – the Grand Canyon is a spectacular site to see. There aren’t many historical sites that will leave your children speechless, but the Grand Canyon is one of them.

The Grand Canyon is amazing no matter how old you are
The Grand Canyon is amazing no matter how old you are

One of the best places to stay while exploring the Grand Canyon region is Flagstaff – a small historic town that will make you feel like you’ve just stepped onto the set of a Hollywood western movie. From there it is just a short two-hour drive to the Canyon where you can either enjoy the view from the top or take a walk or donkey ride down to the bottom.

San Diego, California

If the bright lights and crazy lifestyle of Los Angeles is all too much for you and your kids, then San Diego is a perfect alternative. A much more child-friendly Californian destination, San Diego has some of the USA’s top family tourist attractions.

San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world. Home to thousands of different animals the zoo is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. Take your kids to the popular Children’s Zoo where they can get hands-on with a range of exciting animals such as spider monkeys and watch animal feedings.

Other popular attractions in San Diego include Legoland, Sea World, San Diego Wild Animal Park and more.

Yosemite National Park, Utah

For families who are looking for some natural excitement from their holiday – Yosemite National Park will provide you with an unforgettable experience. The park is the third most visited in the USA with over 4 million visitors every year – a large number of which are families.

You’ll find a good selection of outdoor activities to take part in such as horseback riding or rock climbing – or simply put on your walking shoes and take in the dramatic scenery. Although many of the walks and trails may not be very suitable for young children – it is a good choice for adventurous older children.

 

 

 

Travel Asia with Kids

When you’re heading overseas with your children you want to make sure they will both be safe and have a great time. Asia is a beautiful region of the world and a great way for your kids to experience a different culture. Check out our top five for inspiration.

Phuket, Thailand

One of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, the southern Thailand island of Phuket has something to offer every visitor. Not only does it boast some of the most beautiful beaches in the world but there are endless activities and sites to see.

You and the kids will love exploring the coastline in a traditional Long-tail boat
You and the kids will love exploring the Phuket coastline in a traditional Long-tail boat

Whatever age your kids are there is little chance of them getting bored in Phuket. Although you should always take precautions wherever you travel to, Phuket is considered to be very safe for young visitors.

There are hundreds of resorts to choose from on Phuket island, many of which are specifically designed with kids in mind. Some of the activities they can get involved in include: elephant rides, boat cruises, banana boat rides, snorkeling, swimming and more.

Bali, Indonesia

In a similar way to Phuket, Bali is a destination for everyone. Hundreds of thousands of Australians head to the Indonesian island of Bali each year and despite the cultural differences it caters perfectly for families and other foreign visitors.

Activities are wide ranging and include visits to monkey sanctuaries, cultural sites, beaches, watersports and more. Bali is the perfect way to introduce your children to the traditional Indonesian culture while still giving them access to the modern amenities they are used to.

Disneyland, Hong Kong

Every kid dreams of going on holiday to Disneyland – and they’ll be thanking you forever if you take them there. One of the world’s newest Disneyland theme parks opened in 2005 in Hong Kong. Built on the stunning Lantau Island, Disneyland Hong Kong has a similar layout to other parks around the world – with four different areas: Main St. USA, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Fantasyland.

Disneyland, Hong Kong
Disneyland, Hong Kong

Although it can be somewhat pricey, you can treat the family to a stay in one of the two resorts that are situated inside the theme park: Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. The theme park is so huge that you can spend several days there before the kids will even begin to get bored. You can then treat yourself to a day of shopping and pampering in the cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong!

Beijing, China

Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world – but that doesn’t mean it’s only full of cultural and historical activities that the kids will probably not enjoy. China’s capital is one of the world’s most modern and cosmopolitan cities – particularly since the Olympics.

Beijing has a huge range of world-class activities that the kids will love. Take them to Fundazzle – an indoor playground that will keep younger children entertained for hours; or spend the day at Beijing’s largest amusement park – Shijingsham Amuerment Park.

Other great activities for the kids include: Milu Park (a wildlife sanctuary); Le Cool (indoor ice-skating rink); and Splash Recreation Club (indoor and outdoor swimming pools).

Taiwan

Taiwan is a little discussed place when it comes to family holidays – with most people travelling to its much

Enjoy the colourful Dragonboat Festival in Taiwan
Enjoy the colourful Dragonboat Festival in Taiwan

larger neighbour, China. However, Taiwan is full of surprises and offers you all the exotic offerings of popular Asian tourist resorts with less crowds and cheaper prices.

Taiwan is a very picturesque country with a wonderful range of wildlife and cultural activities that children of all ages will enjoy. The country is also renowned for being one of the safest destinations in Asia – which is very important when choosing a holiday destination for your family.

Family-friendly destinations in Europe

Europe is a diverse and exciting continent with hundreds of places to visit. Although a lot of the appeal of Europe is based around its rich history, there are plenty of destinations where you can get your cultural fix and still keep the kids happy. We take a look at five of the best child friendly destinations in Europe.

Corfu, Greece

Corfu is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations for families – particularly with Aussies and the Brits. It is one of the safest of the Greek islands and much more family-oriented than some of the renowned ‘party’ islands such as Mykonos and Lesbos.

Corfu's beautiful coastline - don't forget your bucket and spade!
Corfu’s beautiful coastline – don’t forget your bucket and spade!

The island is renowned for its stunning unspoilt scenery and vineyards. However, you don’t have to worry about the kids getting bored in Corfu as there are calm and picturesque beaches with a wide range of activities such as snorkeling, sailing, diving and horse riding available. The most popular family beaches include: Kavos, Benitses and Gouvia. Don’t leave Corfu without taking the kids to Aqualand Water Park – a massive theme park with water slides, wave pools and more.

Costa del Sol, Spain

Spain’s Costa del Sol has everything you could possibly ask for in a family holiday- and more. While it may have elements of a cliché European holiday destination, the kids will certainly be happy.

The Costa del Sol is a long stretch of coastline on the Mediterranean coast of Spain and includes the cities of Malaga and Marbella – most international flights arrive into Malaga airport. There are dozens of theme parks and water parks across the region with Tivoli World theme park being the largest and most popular – a perfect day out for the kids.

South-West England

South-west England isn’t what most of us Aussies picture England to be like – it’s a very relaxed and beautiful part of the country and a great place for a family holiday. There are four main areas of south-west England – Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall and Devon – all with their own typically English charm. Picture rolling green hills, a dramatic coastline and enchanting English stone cottages.

A very popular destination for English families, the south-west region is best visited during the summer months when the beautiful beaches are alive with tourists and locals alike. Horse-riding is also a very popular activity in the region.

Kids love the wild Dartmoor ponies
Kids love the wild Dartmoor ponies

Nice, France

Nice – on the Mediterranean southern coast of France – is one of those places you’ll want to head back to year after year. Much different to the hectic lifestyle in Paris, Nice is perfectly designed for a family holiday.

During the warm months, you’ll see dozens of kids flying kites or building sandcastles along the Promenade des Anglais. You can watch them enjoy themselves while you sip on a coffee or cold drink at one of the many cafes lining the popular beach. Another good place to take the children is the Parc des Miniatures – with hundreds of model buildings of famous local buildings.

Obergurgl, Austria

Although the majority of the European destinations we have looked at so far are best visited during the northern hemisphere summer – there are still plenty of ways to have a great family holiday during the winter months.

Europe is home to some of the world’s best ski slopes, and one of the best ski resorts for families is Obergurgl, Austria. The slopes and resorts at Obergurgl cater perfectly for young children and you’ll find dozens of ski schools for your little ones. Another bonus is that all kids under the age of 8 ski for free in Obergurgl – and there are significant reductions up until the age of 16.

Surviving long-haul flights with kids

Family holidays can be incredibly memorable once you get past the initial challenge of long haul international flights. Keeping the anxiety levels down in preparation for a long flight can be a challenge for most parents. Follow these tips to prevent serious airport meltdown syndrome!

Prepare in Advance

Planning ahead will ensure you and your family don’t get caught by surprise at the airport or in the air. When you book your flights you will have several options that you shouldn’t ignore. You should get a choice of seats – so try to pick strategically. If you have a baby demand that you are given a bassinette for the little one to sleep in– there are only a certain number to go around so kicking up a fuss should help you be one of the lucky few.Family travel

Although most children will turn their noses up at airline meals (although the quality has improved considerably in recent years), requesting special kids meals on your flight should at least help in your quest to get them fed. Whether they eat their meal or not, chances are they will be demanding nibbles throughout the flight – so come prepared with your own food; avoid foods that are high in sugar or you’ll never get any rest.

Keep the Kids Entertained

Bored children and international flights are a disastrous mix, but keeping them entertained can be a lot easier than you think. Almost all long haul flights offer in-flight entertainment, so before you leave have a look on the airlines website or contact them to find out what entertainment there is for children. Some of the more luxurious airlines will have enough television shows, movies and games to keep them entertained for days – but others will be much more limited. Either way, always bring extra toys, activities and games as backup. A pack of cards, colouring books and magazines are easy boredom fixes.

For younger children you should pack a few of their favourite toys – not only to keep them entertained but to make them feel safer and more relaxed if they are nervous about the flight. Bring a few surprise items for the kids too – travel board games are a good thing to bring out when everyone has gotten a little fed up.

Pack for Every Possibility

Make sure you pack for every possibility and never assume your airline will be able to provide you with the essentials such as baby wipes, extra nappies, pain killers etc. These might seem like small things but they can make a huge difference on international flights.Family travel

What you and your children wear can also be the difference between a comfortable or difficult flight. It’s hard to gauge what the temperature will be on the flight – as the air conditioning can be quite unpredictable. The best way to deal with this is to wear clothing in layers so that they can easily cool down or warm up if necessary. You should also pack a few extra clothing items in case of spillages on the flight.