Before you go
The adventure of a family holiday can begin long before you reach the airport. There are lots of practical things mums and dads need to organise on behalf of the family, like passports, travel insurance and visas. There’s also lots of fun planning to be done by everyone in the family. We’ve put together some handy tips, useful information and lists of things to take to make your next family holiday more enjoyable and easy.
And remember, before you book your international flight and before you travel, check current Australian Government travel advisories.
What to take
It’s the eternal travel question. Especially for families, knowing what to take and what you can live without can be very difficult. Obviously there can be no definitive answer with different sized families, going to a range of climates, for differing lengths of time. The best, single piece of advice we can offer is make a list of everything you think you’ll need – make all the family do their own – and beside each item write the reason for including it. Then work at reducing the list, removing the least essential items first, until you reach an ideal weight.
Here’s a link to a very useful universal packing list generator that you can customise to your travel experience.
Planning as a family
One of the best ways to excite the kids about a family holiday is to include them in the planning. Pull out the maps and the atlas. Hunt down some movies and TV shows about your destination. Get them ’Googling’ for cool things to do. You can put together a family itinerary with something for everyone. Strike a deal with your teenagers. They can pick where you eat lunch, and you choose dinner. Or you’ll go with them to the skate park if they come with you to the gallery. There’s some ’quality’ time with the kids and you haven’t even departed.
Travelling alone with kids
Flying solo with your children can be lots of fun and rewarding, whether you’re a single mum or dad, or leaving your partner at home with the pets. Here are few things to keep in mind while you’re planning your trip, and once you’re away with your kids.
- Our crew is there to help when they can, so don’t hesitate to ask if you need assistance.
- Things that you take for granted, like going to the bathroom, suddenly require some strategic thinking when you have children with you. This is true at home–now factor in an airport, a plane or a foreign country.
- When you’re away consider giving yourself a night or two off by hiring a recommended baby-sitter.
- Have a discussion with your children about what to do if you become separated: perhaps they could ask someone in uniform or a mum with kids for help.
- Give each child a business card with your contact details on it, including your hotel’s name and number.
- Do you have a friend or relative who might like to come?
- If you are travelling with a child on your lap you can request cold meals like salads or sandwiches to eat when it’s convenient. If you have a hot meal we are happy to keep it for you until it suits.
- Some countries require a parent travelling with a minor (under 18) to have a letter of consent from the other parent. Check with the relevant embassy or consulate before departing.
Paperwork. It’s probably one of the things you are taking a vacation from. But before you go there are some important things that you need to consider if you and your family are planning a trip.
Different countries have their own visa requirements. For the most up to date information about visa requirements contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the country you intent to visit well in advance of travel.
For a guide to the visas your family might need, visit the Visalink website. Visalink also offer a visa processing service to the Australian travel industry.
For Australians, everyone in the family needs a valid passport to travel overseas, including infants and babies. Visit the Australian Government site for more information or to apply for an Australian passport.
Travel insurance can give you the peace of mind that allows you to relax completely and really enjoy your holiday. Especially when you have kids and all their things to keep an eye out for as well. It’s easy to purchase travel insurance when you book your flights.
One sure way to ruin a family holiday is for someone to catch a bug, or worse. For the latest on vaccinations or a quick health profile for your destination visit the Travelvax website.
When you travel with the family overseas it can be handy to have even a basic understanding of the local currency before you arrive. It can be comforting to know the exchange rate and an idea of the relative cost of things. Here’s a link to a currency converter so you can compare the Australian dollar to just about any other currency in the world.