Archive Tag:kids

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.

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.

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.