As a family of four we are gradually learning that the small things can make a big difference to our family holiday, in particular the journey. Having just survived a relatively stress free trip to Italy we have put together a list of our top tips.
This is an annual excursion for us and has not always been stress free. I guess practice does make perfect but here are a few ideas to help get you to your destination without losing a child and hopefully still talking to each other.
Consider your flight times. If you can be a little bit flexible with the date and timing of your holiday it is worth trying to find something that works best for you. We have often found early mornings are a good time for us to leave. Although it does mean an early night beforehand and waking the kids at an ungodly hour it also means we are not WAITING the whole day to leave. For toddlers this can be unbearable and for parents the 200th repetition of “Are we going yet?” can prove too much to bear. Conversely night flights work well for us on our return as you do not waste a day of your holiday and, the smalls are likely to sleep on the plane which leads me neatly to…
Pack their pyjamas in your hand luggage. On late flights we have found changing them into their pyjamas on the plane can really help them both sleep on the plane and in the car on the drive home. It also makes the transfer to bed once home pretty painless.
Book an airport hotel with parking. If your flight does happen to be at an ungodly hour consider an airport hotel. There are some great deals, especially if you book in advance and, often, this actually can work out cheaper than paying for airport parking whilst you are away.
Or consider meet and greet parking. We tried this out this year and it is so handy. We simply drove to the terminal calling the number we had been provided with five minutes before our arrival. There we were met by a lovely chap who took the keys and parked the car for the duration of our stay, leaving us to head straight to check-in with no awkward transfer of children plus cases from car park to departures, and no waiting around for transfer buses. On our return we simply made another call once we got to baggage reclaim and our car was right outside waiting for us. Perfect after a long journey when you really just want to get home.
HolidayExtras.com offers airport parking at all major airports, providing a safe place to leave your car when you are on holiday. To book airport parking at Bristol Airport from £59.99 for eight days visit HolidayExtras.com or call 0800 1313 777. Price searched on August 25th for arrival on September 10th.
Dress the children in bright clothing. Airports, especially during the school holidays, are often swarming with people and I am terrified of one of the smalls going missing. Making them as easy to spot as possible can reduce stress levels by just a fraction.
Book the airport lounge. Following the same theme getting away from the masses can be brilliant with children. You feel safer and occasionally I might even let go of their wrists. The drinks and buffet are complimentary and when you add up what you would have probably spent on breakfast/snacks it really does not cost much more.
Holiday Extras offers airport lounges at all major UK airports as well as lounges for the return journey at many international destinations. Snacks, alcoholic and soft drinks are included in the price, along with newspapers and magazines to enjoy in a comfortable relaxing environment – price from £22.99 per adult at Bristol, with reduced rates for children under twelve and infants. To start your holiday in style and escape to an airport lounge before your flight, visit HolidayExtras.com or call 0800 1313 777.
Bring entertainment for the flight. We pretty much throw the kitchen sink at this. You won’t have wifi so make sure you have downloaded plenty of their favourite programmes and games onto your tablets. Puzzle books are a godsend when they are big enough and recently we have discovered little puppet sewing kits from Wilkinsons that can keep them amused for ages and are not too messy.
And with a little bit of luck you will land at your destination all still speaking.
Disclosure: Holiday extras were kind enough to provide us with Meet and Greet Airport Parking and Airport Lounge passes free of charge for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.