5 Things To Consider Before Booking Your Family Holiday

The planning of your next family holiday can easily eat up hours of your time and leave you stressed out with nothing to show for it. There’s always another destination to consider, another resort and another website that offers even better deals than the previous one. Don’t jump straight into it. Take some time to think about these sides of your trip and all the other choices will become a lot easier.

RELATED: 5 Things To Avoid When Travelling With Kids

1. What type of holiday would you like?

Whether you want to be at the beach, ski, camp, go sightseeing or take the kids to amusement parks, deciding on the type of holiday you’d like first will automatically narrow down the choices that you need to look at.

2. How will you get there?

When you have kids, travelling to and from your destination can be challenging, so choose something that will not stress you out to the point of wanting to cancel the whole thing. For example, I like flying, even with kids, but I wouldn’t choose a holiday destination that’s more than 2-3 hours drive away.

3. What are you going to do at your destination?

While not everyone likes to plan the whole itinerary in advance, it’s good to have a general idea of the places you want to visit and the activities you’d like to undertake. Keep in mind that everything takes a lot longer with kids and they get tired easier, so it’s a good idea to plan for only about half of the activities you’d be doing if you were going by yourself (or make your holiday longer).

4. What’s your budget?

The cheapest package is not always the best deal and it’s important to look at the inclusions carefully. If a package doesn’t have prepaid meals, then you will have to spend money on food once you get there. If the resort where you’re going doesn’t offer kids’ club and you’re planning a romantic date without the kids, you will need to factor in babysitting costs. Getting cheap accommodation that’s far from everywhere will probably mean that you’ll end up paying to get around and spending your precious holiday time travelling from your accommodation to the places you want to visit.

5. When is the best time to go?

Sometimes you’ll be bound by the time you can get off work, but other times you have a choice. Do you have to go in school holidays or are you happy for your kids to miss a week or two to get a better deal and avoid the crowds?

Once you’ve made your choices you’re ready to book. Talk to a travel agent, compare a few different websites to make sure you’re on the right track and get ready for a great holiday!

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5 Road Trip Games For Kids

You’ve packed everything you can possibly need, you’ve filled up the tank and you’ve checked the route, but that long car trip is still on your mind – your kids will need something to do or they’ll drive you nuts. Hopefully, your trip will be much more fun with these 5 road trip games.

RELATED: How To Keep Kids Entertained In The Car

1. Guessing games

You’ve probably played the board game “Guess Who?” and it can be easily adapted to something you play without a board. One family member thinks of a person (a famous person, someone you know, a fairy tale character – you can come up with endless variation) and the rest of the family ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions until they guess.

2. Count cars

Ask the kids to guess the most common car colour, then get them to test their guesses by counting the cars that they see on the road. If you have more than one child, each child can count their own colour and later compare their numbers. Otherwise, you may need a pen and paper – split it into sections for each colour you’re going to count and ask your child to put a mark in the relevant section for every car you see on the road.

3. Find it

Choose an item that you’re likely to see on your trip – a road sign, a tree, people walking. Then pick a number, say 5, and challenge your kids to find 5 of the items you have chosen.

4. “I spy” – self-guided version

While “I spy” is a great game to play on a road trip, sometimes you just want peace and quiet. You can achieve it by preparing some “I spy” sheets in advance. Write down some letters and leave space for the kids to fill out objects they see beginning with that letter. If you have pre-school kids, who can only recognise the first letter but not spell the whole word, they can draw their findings. You can even offer a prize for a completed sheet.

5. Travel bingo

This is another activity that requires a little bit of preparation. Before you leave, make some bingo sheets with items you’re likely to see on the road. Use words (if your children can read) or pictures. Then each child will cross out an item they see on the way until they fill the whole card.

When your family is having fun in the car, you’ll be there before you know it!

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What If Your Child Gets Sick While You’re Travelling

We happily got off the plane after a long flight ready to enjoy our overseas holiday. We had two amazing days full of laughter and discoveries. On the third day my son got a fever. Five days and numerous doctor’s visits later he was hospitalised. Not the idea holiday by far, but it happens. What can you do to make sure your child receives the best possible care and recovers as quickly as possible?

Don’t leave without a good travel insurance

Medical treatment overseas can be costly. Insurance will also cover your expenses if you need to change your travel arrangements due to illness. You don’t need financial stress in addition to worrying about your child’s health. Don’t automatically go with the insurance provided when you pay by credit card, read the fine print. Does your insurance company has a 24-hour assistance line? Will they take over excessive out-of-pocket expenses for you or do they expect you to pay and get a refund later? Give yourself peace of mind and do your research before you go.

RELATED: 6 Reasons You Need Travel Insurance

Keep your child hydrated

You always hear how important it is to drink a lot of water, but it’s easy to dismiss until you have to learn it the hard way. Add dehydration to jetlag and fever, and a simple virus can quickly turn into something that’s impossible to treat out of hospital. Remember that plane travel and high temperatures increase the body’s need for hydration and make sure your child is getting enough liquid.

Have simple remedies at hand

This is especially important if your travels take you to a place where you don’t have immediate access to a pharmacy. Bring basic medicines to relive your child’s fever or treat any other conditions your child might be getting frequently, so that you can act quickly if you need to.

Seek medical help

Don’t let language barriers or cultural differences deter you from seeking medical help. The staff at the hospital where we went with my son was outright rude by my standards. I took it as a sign that they didn’t care and refused hospitalisation the first time they offered. We had to go back two days later when it was obvious that my son’s condition was getting worse. Once he was admitted into the children’s ward, it turned out that the staff was efficient, knew what they were doing and I couldn’t fault them. I only wish I hadn’t made judgements based on appearances earlier. On the other hand, if you’re not satisfied with the care you’re receiving, look for an alternative. One place where you could get advice is your insurer’s 24-hour help line.

Was my son’s illness a scary experience? Of course. Would I travel with my kids again? Absolutely. Illness can happen anywhere and it can be managed. Don’t let the fear stop you from sharing wonderful travel experiences with your children.

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5 Things To Avoid When Travelling With Kids

If you enjoyed travelling before starting a family, you can enjoy it with kids, too, but it’ll be different. (You didn’t need me to tell you that, did you?) Here are some things that you may have loved before, but are better to avoid now that you’re not on your own anymore:

1. Overscheduling

Visiting 10 countries in 15 days may have been your thing back in your days as a solo traveller and it’s probably not going to work so well anymore. Your kids will not be able to cope with too much travel and adult activities. They need plenty of time for rest and play, or they’ll be cranky and tired.

2. Failing to plan ahead

I used to work as a travel agent. I was an airfare wiz, but I was not as good at selling packages. I just didn’t get it why anyone would want to book their hotel and their activities before they arrived where they were going. What if they turned up and they didn’t like what they’d booked? Or they didn’t feel like staying there anymore? Now I understand. When you’re travelling with your family, the last thing you want to do is organise everything on the spot while your kids are whining that they’re tired, hungry and want to go back home. It’s not a good idea to plan every single minute of your holiday, but it helps to know that you have a place to stay, a way to get around and food that your kids will eat.

3. Staying rigid in your plans

As much as it’s important to plan, it’s also important to stay flexible. Children get sick easier, they get tired and they have their bad days when they can’t control their temper. Don’t get attached to your plans and whenever possible, choose airfares, accommodation and other arrangements that allow changes.

4. Travelling lightly

While I still like to pack as little as possible, there’s a lot of stuff that comes with children that makes your life along the way much easier. Remember to bring their favourite toys, snacks, lots of spare cloths, tissues, drinks, lollies to ease motion sickness. You may even need to bring your own car seat! Don’t assume that you’ll have everything you need once you arrive. If there’s any doubt that you’ll be able to get it easily, bring it with you.

5. Going without insurance

Travelling without travel insurance is not advisable for anyone, but it’s even more important to have it when you have kids. You want to ensure the best health care for your kids when you’re travelling overseas. The insurance will also cover you for changes to your itinerary, if you have to reschedule due to illness, which can otherwise cost a fortune at busy times.

There’s no reason to give up travelling until the kids have grown up. It takes a bit of adjustment, but you can do it and create wonderful family memories.

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By Tatiana Apostolova

How To Survive Long Car Trips With Kids

Going on holiday should be a fun time for everyone – a time when we experience new places, meet new people as a family and create lifelong memories. But if you have a long car journey to get to your destination you may find that by the end of it, you wished you’d never bothered. Travelling with children can be a chore and sometimes more hassle than it’s worth, but it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your well-earned holiday.

Here are some simple tips to follow that can help to make travelling a little smoother:

  • The night before your trip, ensure that your kids get plenty of rest.  Some people think that if their kids stay up late and have less sleep the night before, they’ll sleep in the car the following day.  But this isn’t always the case and you’ll probably find that they are scratchier than usual and over-tired.  This can make for a very long trip, so ensure they rest up the night before.
  • Have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand at all times.  If your children are anything like mine, they have bottomless pits for stomachs so they’re constantly eating.  Rather than stopping at every servo along the way, prepare food the night before you travel.  Small sandwiches, chopped up fruit, biscuits and of course a few treats too, will always go down well.  Remember not to overfeed your children though – too many sweets may result in it all coming back up again.
  • Provide entertainment for your children.  Portable DVD players are a great boredom buster and can be purchased for around $100.  Most can be strapped to the headrests of the front seats and will provide some much needed quiet time.
  • If your children are older you could create a treasure hunt for the journey.  Before you travel create a list of all of the things your children need to spot on the trip.  They could be anything such as a cow, a gold car, a green sign or a white house and get your children to mark them off when they spot them.  When they’ve completed the list they get a prize.
  • If your children are prone to car sickness then consider purchasing anti-nausea wrist bands that have small nodules which gently press into the pressure points in the wrist and relieve that nauseas feeling.
  • Make plenty of stops along the way to avoid toilet mishaps and to give everyone a chance to get some fresh air and stretch the legs.  Having five minutes out of that enclosed space every hour can do wonders for a head that’s had to endure hours of bickering on end.  If you can find a playground for five minutes play time that’s a good idea too.  The only problem is you might have trouble getting them back in the car!
  • Remember to pack your child’s favourite toy or blanket so they feel more comfortable on the journey.  My children have favourite blankets that they take with them which seem to have soothing effects.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.  Long car journeys can be torturous sometimes, despite how much planning you do.  But remember, you’ll get there in the end.

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Coping With Kids And Jetlag

I’d just survived a long flight with young kids. We finally made it to the apartment where we were staying. I thought everyone would be exhausted and we’d immediately go to sleep. That was exactly what I did just to be woken up by some strange knocking from all directions. It turned out that all this time my kids had been awake and playing. When the neighbour from downstairs knocked to let us know we were too noisy, the kids thought it was a new game and they started knocking back. At least they were having fun… Another time my jetlagged two-year-old cried for hours and hours until a kind neighbour called the police to come and check for child abuse.

While it’s hard to predict what form jetlag will take for your kids, it’s a pretty safe bet that your life won’t get back to normal for a few days. Your kids may be waking up at night, feel sleepy during the day, get easily upset or play with boundless energy.

Jetlag is the body’s natural response to changing tie zones. You can’t avoid it entirely, but you can ease your children and yourself into the new time zone by taking a stopover half way. Not only you’ll give yourself a chance to adjust gradually, you may also be able to squeeze in things you’d usually find challenging with kids like a night safari or late dinner under the stars.

Here are a few tips to make getting over jetlag as easy as possible, once you’re at your destination:

  • Take it easy. Don’t plan much for the first few days to allow for erratic sleep patterns and behaviour.
  • Stay in bright sunlight as much as possible to help reset your body clocks.
  • If your child wakes up in the middle of the night, encourage them to go back to sleep or at least stay in bed in the dark.
  • Once the kids are awake for the day, try keeping them awake until bedtime or nap time.
  • Follow your normal routine as much as possible. Have meals at local meal times and if your kids get hungry at unusual times, offer snacks only. Stick to your usual bed time routine to let them know it’s bed time, even if they’re not feeling sleepy yet.
  • Get help, if possible. Take turns with your partner to look after the kids. Get family and friends on board if they are around. Depending on where you are, it may be well worth getting a babysitter just so that you can get a shuteye for a few hours. It will help you stay patient and keep your sense of humour.
  • If you’d like to avoid knocking and police visits, warn the neighbours that you have jetlagged kids. Tell them (and yourself!) that the next few days may be difficult, but everything will be back to normal very soon.

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By Tatiana Apostolova

5 Great Holiday Resorts For Kids In Australia

Are you thinking of going on holiday and want to go somewhere you know the kids won’t get bored?  Take a look at these kid-friendly resorts where there is fun for the whole family, grown-ups included!

Kingfisher Bay Resort

If your children love nature then the Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island in Queensland could be the place for your next family holiday.  The Junior Eco Ranger program they offer during weekends and school holidays provides children with a unique and informative learning experience.  Some activities included in the program are sand sculpture art and craft, spotlighting for bats and frogs, stargazing, leaf identification, canoeing and a ropes course.  They cater for children of all ages, except in the evening sessions when children must be 5 years and over.

Zagame’s Paradise Resort

Zagame’s Paradise Resort, located on the Gold Coast in Queensland is literally a kid’s paradise.  It has a waterpark, kid’s club, rock climbing and ice skating rink all on site.  The kid’s themed hotel rooms are brightly coloured and some of them have a designated area for gaming.  The hotel is located just minutes from Surfers Paradise and is the ideal place for a family holiday, although be warned – you might not want to leave the resort!

Breakfree Aanuka Resort

Looking for a holiday on the Coffs Coast?  Consider a trip to the Breakfree Aanuka Resort in Coffs Harbour which is located just a short stroll from Digger’s Beach.  This resort has a huge range of activities for the kids including a children’s pool and waterslide, cave spas, playground, tennis courts, beach volleyball and mini putt.  They also offer a child minding service so you can take some time off and get pampered in the Mi-Time Day Spa.

Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort

This stunning resort in Monkey Mia, Western Australia is where you will find dolphins and activities galore.  Every day the dolphins come to shore and you can get up close and personal with these amazing creatures, just steps from your beachfront accommodation.  As well as interacting with the dolphins there is a pool, tennis facilities, beach games, wildlife cruises and complimentary barbecues.  Just a short distance from the resort are a number of attractions including Ocean Park where children can learn all about marine life found in the area.

Falls Creek Alpine Resort

If you love skiing then Falls Creek Alpine Resort in Victoria is the ideal place to take your family on your next holiday.  As well as providing kids lessons in the Snowsports Centre the Snowplay Park within the resort has a range of activities including tobogganing, snow tubing, snow trampolines, snow painting and kid’s snowmobiles.  The resort also offers a child care service which is open seven days a week throughout the ski season.  There are a range of accommodation options in the village including apartments, lodges and hotels.

So what are you waiting for?  Book that family holiday today!

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By Karyn Miller

Tips for Travelling with Kids this Holiday Season

Planning a relaxing holiday with the kids this summer? You’ve probably been looking forward to it all year…and dreading it at the same time! Will the kids behave? Will they be bored? Will I be able to enjoy myself?

Travelling with children can turn a holiday into a stressful nightmare. According to a recent survey compiled by Tourism Australia, almost 50% of Australian families take family road trips over the holidays. Long car journeys with tired and cranky children fighting in the backseat or a fun restaurant visit turned crazy tantrum can raise stress levels and take the fun out of family time.

Karen Phillip, parent and family counsellor and author of Who Runs Your House – The Kids or You? knows the difficulties of travelling with children and shares her tips to keep the kids happy and your holiday blissful.

1. Have activities
Activities and planning are needed to keep children occupied and calm during travel times and restaurant visits. Relying on a DVD or tablet to keep young children entertained on a long journey is usually doomed to fail unless it is mixed with other activities and regular short breaks.

“Make sure you have age appropriate activities, like colouring books or tablets available during a long journey, but make sure to interrupt their activities at a suitable time to talk and play a game with them. For long journeys in the car regular stops are needed to give the children a chance to burn some energy and run around, kick a ball or play in a park on the way,” says Karen.

2. Keep them informed 
The best way to start a long journey is to let the children know the journey might take a long time. A child’s concept of time may vary depending on their age, and a young child might understand time better in relation to something they know e.g. “the same time you are at school every day.”

3. Reward good behaviour
Karen advocates rewards for the well behaved children. Rewards can be anything from being able to choose the bed or room they sleep in when arriving at the destination, or receiving a treat when they stop for lunch, while the child that is misbehaving only receives a basic sandwich. “If the plan was to stop at McDonalds, let them know that if they are behaving you will stop at McDonalds, but if they are loud or misbehave the stop will be somewhere less fun the parents choose”.

4. Learn how to eat out
When it comes to eating at restaurants, the training starts at home. Karen believes that all children need to learn as early as possible how to sit at a table, to sit on a chair properly, use cutlery appropriately and wait for their meals to be served. “If children learn this basic concepts, dinner out isn’t a painful experience. I do however recommend parents ensure they have an arsenal of quiet activities such as books and games to entertain the child if they are having dinner with other adults,” says Karen.

Karen’s advice is, if a child’s behaviour escalates or they throw a tantrum at the table, remove them from the area and use the two choices method as explained in the book. “If a child continues to misbehave, let them know they will miss out on something special, like a planned holiday activity”, Karen says. “Once this happens they know a consequence will take place, and they will usually think twice next time”.

For more information on Karen Phillip and her new book visit

What are your top tips for travelling with children?

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