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Family holidays are important and we dedicate time and budget to a vacation each year. I have fond memories of my childhood that are wrapped up with holidays. Now I am a parent myself, I can truly appreciate how important it is to foster shared family experiences. Shared experiences are a big part of what holds our family close. It’s the good times. It’s the disasters. It’s travelling in the car. It’s the food and fun. It’s the stories told and the memories made.
I was looking back at some of the snaps I’ve taken of my tribe over the years, and there’s so much joy there!
Great holidays require a bit of savvy and good planning, especially when you add kids to the mix. When I’m in the planning phase, my go-to place is TripAdvisor. I love it! Over the years, I have found it’s the best place to get realistic reviews and useful tips from other travellers. I’ve been adding my own reviews to the site since 2014 because I know how valuable other traveller’s feedback have been to me. The TripAdvisor website and app provides free access to reviews, activities, restaurants, holiday rentals, and the best deals on hotels and accommodation, all in one place. The app is especially useful for checking reviews and booking while out and about.
When it comes to planning a fantastic family holiday and maximising the time you have, there are key things to consider.
Style – What kind of holiday are you looking for?
The best family holidays consider your family vibe. For example, our family loves the outdoors and our own space, so we tend to enjoy beach holidays and camping.
Do you want to primarily:
Family Stage – What ages are the children?
This is key. I remember going on a holiday when the kids were very young and it was a disaster! I didn’t think it through and booked an upper floor unit, which ended up having no screens and I spent the entire time worrying about the children falling out a window! My biggest tip for holidaying with young kids is to keep it really simple and focus on kid-friendly accommodation. TripAdvisor facilitates searching for kid-friendly accommodation, which is helpful.
Location – Where do you want to go?
When thinking about holiday destinations, I tend to think in these general terms and then narrow things down from there:
- Road trips
Family holidays can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. We’ve done many holidays on a tight budget, thanks to camping or nabbing a deal for a quick getaway. You can search for TripAdvisor’s best value hotels by using the ‘Best Value’ index which combines traveller ratings, best prices, location, and more. For more tips for holidaying on a budget, click here.
Activities – What do you want to do?
It can be helpful to brainstorm some of the activities the family would like to experience together. If you’re trying to pin down a location, search for activities available in a particular location to see if anything resonates.
I also plan holiday packs for my children for our annual getaway. They are great for travel too. Usually, I buy a few small toys or games along with a journal and pens, and pop them inside a jar/pencil case/clipboard box. It adds to the excitement of the trip, and the children can journal with words and pictures. Below are some of the packs I’ve made in the past.
Time – What time of year?
Accommodation will be more expensive during school holidays, so it’s important to consider travel times. TripAdvisor will note any peak periods when looking at particular dates.
I’m currently organising a beach family holiday for next year. The Sunshine Coast, Queensland is not a new location for us, however I organised our last holiday quite late. We had a lovely time, but my husband and I wished we had organised more activities (outside of swimming and chilling on the sand). I am planning earlier this year to maximise our next holiday. When I was looking for things to do on the Sunshine Coast, I discovered the Queensland Air Museum. My husband took my son many years ago, and I completely forgot it was there! It’s going on the plan for next year as a family activity.
If you haven’t checked it out before, the reviews on TripAdvisor are so helpful, not only to gauge the value of the activity/accommodation/restaurant, but also to find out the hidden secrets only other travellers seem to know. It’s a top tool for making the most of your holiday planning because you can research and book in one place.
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