Tips for your family summer holiday

The family summer holiday has been anticipated for weeks, if not months. It’s all booked and you’re raring to go. But how can you ensure that the trip is holiday heaven and not holiday hell?

Here are ten tips to help your family to remember this year’s summer holiday for the right reasons.


1. Check your travel insurance

Does it realty provide enough cover for all your family? Some normal family summer holiday fun activities, such as playing football, may not be covered by cheap policies.

Write down all the things that you are planning to do while away (including drinking) and check the insurance small print.

If you are travelling to a European country, ensure that you have an EHIC card for every family member. This will get you emergency medical treatment as a local would.

You may have to pay for the treatment in some countries, but you may be able to claim this cost back. The EHIC card must be carried at all times.


2. Passports

Is everyone’s passport up to date? Child passports are only valid for 5 years so check well in advance. In peak season it can take over 6 weeks to get a new or replacement passport.

Also, does your passport pass the entry requirements of your holiday destination? Does it have enough blank pages, as some countries need blank pages for entry visas.

Is there enough life left in the passport? Sometimes passports have to be valid for more than a set amount of time. A common example is having at least 6 months until renewal from the date of return.


3. Get a Packing Checklist

Don’t leave anyone or anything important behind. Write down everything that you need to pack and tick it off as you pack. You can use an online service such as

Stick to neutrals
You don’t need an different outfit for each day. Pack clothes that can be mixed and matched throughout the trip. Neutral colours help as they can be paired with almost anything.

Try packing aids
Compression bags pack clothes into tiny, tight bundles. If you’re headed for a long trip or concerned about space this is one way to help.

Rolling not folding
Rolling, and not folding, your clothes takes up less space and clothes will be less prone to wrinkling.

4. Know the rules

Knowing the luggage size and weight requirements is not the only important information that you need to be aware of.

Airport security rules must obeyed, and saying “do I look like a terrorist?’ does not help.

Visit your departure airport’s website to see what security restrictions are in place.

If you need to take medication with you, check the medicine’s legal status at your destination. This check includes every country you have to pass through customs when on connecting flights.

Not all prescriptions drugs, or even over the counter medication are legal in every county. Did you know that Vicks inhalers are banned in Japan?


5. Order the Food for the Family’s Fussy Eater

Do you have a family member that will only eat their food if it is covered in a certain sauce? Or do they only eat a certain brand of baked beans?

Do they they have a dietary need for health reasons. Contact the hotel and surrounding restaurants before you leave to ensure that they can cater for the whole family.

Any meal is usually possible if the kitchen has enough warning.


6. Have a Plan for the Journey

This is important on a long-haul flight. Some children are quieter than others, but all noisy children annoy other passengers.

Have a plan to keep all your children happy and contented during the trip.

Don’t forget to prepare for delays. So include the following in your hand luggage

  • a change of clothes for everyone
  • healthy food
  • medicines
  • game chargers (and adaptors)


Pack some surprises too, such as the game or book that someone wanted,  to give out at a stressful time.

You might like to consider dressing the kids in ‘disposable’ clothes. If the worst does happen you can bin the items when you have to change them.

7. Plan some Couple Time

Don’t forget that this is a chance for the parents to have a holiday too, so do try to spend some time alone romance.

Some hotels have evening Kids’ Clubs so they can minded there, or there might be a babysitting service available.

It is important to have this chill time as family holidays can sometimes get a little full on.


8. Safety

Avoid accidents by carrying out some basic checks are carried out on arrival.

Planning the for worst might not the best way to settle in to your new ‘home’. Do take a few moments to carry out some simple checks, such as

  • Find the fire escape route, is it easy for the whole family to negotiate? If not ask for a different room
  • Check all the electrical sockets in the room to ensure that they are safe from finger poking
  • Look at all the furniture for sharp edges, loose rugs, and that the railings on the balcony are suitable too.
  • Check the hotel’s public areas, such as the pool, drinks machines, flooring. Is there a life guard on duty?
  • Do you know how to get help in an emergency?
  • What are the local rules for the beach? Do you understand the flags? Is there likely to be sea anemones in the water close to the shore?
  • Is there adequate shade available?


9. Find the Free Things

Most cities have things to do that are free. There may also be a discounted public transport scheme too.

Check out the local listings for museums, parks and other thing to see and do before rushing down to book trips though the hotel or tour rep.

If you plan ahead it is even possible to do things for free in Walt Disney World, Florida.

All-day sightseeing isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, so remember to have some time set aside for resting.


10. Get everyone to write a diary of the trip

Can you remember every fun detail from previous trips? A diary can help everyone to remember what happened.

They can also help everyone to feel involved in the trip. Use an end of day recap to write the diary, and this also is the time for any suggestions for things to do the next day.