Planning the Perfect Family Holiday

Family holidays are a luxury, especially in the era of Covid-19 when many South Africans are reeling from the economic and psychological effects of a pandemic that’s kept many fearful and indoors. However, if you can afford one, family holidays are perfect for breaking the routine of everyday life, releasing stress, bonding with loved ones and gaining personal growth and fulfilment.

Planning a holiday should be something that involves every member of your family and is best executed over a long period of time, like throughout the year. Doing this helps keep all family members motivated and eager for the arrival of a year-end family trip, despite busy schedules or heavy homework schedules that could keep them tired and exhausted. To help you achieve your much-needed escape of bliss and contentment, we drew up this list of tips for how you can plan the perfect family holiday.

On picking your destination

This part of planning should be one of the most exciting aspects, especially if you can make a game out of it. Explain the criteria for choosing by including distance, budget, rules and any other limitations to your family members. From then on, make the selection process fun by opening a poll on social media or writing your choices on a piece of paper, putting it in a jar and making a random pick. If you want to be even more spontaneous, you can throw darts onto a map or perhaps roll some dice over destinations that are assigned a number. If you’re that type of family, you can also make it competitive by giving the choice to the person who’s been most helpful at home or who’s doing well in school. Be careful not to aggravate any sibling rivalry or hurt any feelings in the last one.

On Booking Accommodation

Do you have a special needs child? Is your child the ultimate social butterfly? How much alone time do you need to factor in on your holiday? These are just some of the important questions you need to ask yourself before booking your accommodation. If you’re a big family, consider booking a large hotel family room for everyone to sleep in. Although this means you might have to discard the idea of a romantic night in, it also means you can monitor your children together with your partner while also discussing important travel logistics. Consider booking a private villa if you need more space and don’t mind self-catering. Camping and glamping are great if you’re looking to be more budget-friendly.

Planning activities

Try and plan all your activities ahead of time, this includes doing online check-ins and bookings for as many of your planned destinations and activities as possible. Booking activities and even travel plans will save you from long queues and leave you plenty of breathing space in between activities.

At the same time, try not to over-plan and book your family in for more activities than they can handle as this will also be less demanding on your budget. Remember, everyone is different, so include your kids in the planning process to make sure everyone is happy. Try and have everyone involved in doing an activity that one family member specifically wanted to do as this encourages bonding and doing things that not everyone would usually do. You can include in a range of activities, from ones that require physical activity, like hiking, and others that are more relaxing, like massages.

While it’s good to do things you don’t usually do, it’s not a bad idea to do simple things too, like cooking together or playing family board games. Some families find that there isn’t much time to do these kinds of activities on an average day, so its a great way to increase intimacy and bonding time while on holiday.

On laying down the laws

Rules are an important part of any holiday, as they help family members avoid conflict and understand the purpose of a trip. It’s important for both adults and children to be on the same page when it comes to how much screen time is allowed, what time curfew is, packing and carrying necessary items like sunscreen, cellphones or proper walking shoes and rules about personal hygiene.

On safety

It’s always wise to do some research on the crime of a place you’re visiting, even if it might dampen your spirits. In any case, it’s better to be aware and prepared for any problems before going on your holiday. If your child is of age and knows the basics of using a mobile phone, make sure they have it with them at all times. There are also some handy, family-centered apps that you can download if you need to be aware of each there’s whereabouts.

It goes without saying that you should factor Covid into your plans. Find out about the infection rate in the area, do more outdoor activities and avoid crowded places as much as possible. Of course, you should also carry a hand sanitiser with you at all times and wear masks in public places.

Find out about your nearest hospitals and pharmacies as well and find out who you can call in case of medical emergencies. It’s important to ask if your hotel caters to family members who might have certain food allergies, or if local food places cater to your dietary needs.

All in all, it’s important to prepare for your holiday ahead of time in order to avoid last minute struggles and stress. The key is to also try and make planning a democratic process that’s also filled with a lot of fun and enthusiasm. Being the adult doesn’t mean you have to take on all the burden of admin and planning. You too, can let loose and be a little bit more relaxed by the time you reach your holiday destination.


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