Keeping kids happy on holiday
Get a globe or map of the world to make it easy for your kids to see the locations of their favourite places. Use websites and the library to research, too. Have them cut out photos from old travel magazines and make a collage of their favourites. Do they like hot or cold weather? Do they fancy traipsing through the bush or concrete jungles? Maybe there’s a luxury hotel they’d like to experience?
If you’ve decided on a foreign destination, learning a few words in the local language before you go can be a fun family activity. Lonely Planet has phrasebooks and audio CDs in many languages from around the world.
Your holiday destination may not offer the same food your family is used to. Have the kids try out the local cuisine of your chosen destination at a nearby restaurant before your trip. You can also get their help to prepare a home-cooked meal featuring the cuisine with recipes obtained online.
Whatever you choose to do during the planning process, including the kids will get them excited.
Travelling in peace
Flying with kids is often a big concern for parents. Instead of cringing at the thought of an international flight, get organised well in advance. Don’t rely on family-friendly airlines to make your child’s flight a stress-free event. Pre-book meals and take along your own in-flight entertainment, such as books, toys and a multimedia device. If your little one is a good sleeper, try overnight flights. But do note that bassinets are usually reserved in advance.
If you’re planning a road trip, you will have a little more freedom. Make time for frequent stops to stretch, eat and hydrate. Be sure to bring lots of music, books, snacks, wet wipes, toys, portable DVD players and your child’s favourite blanket and teddy. Shades for the windows will also help prevent meltdowns in the back seat on hot days.
Try this: Wrap up several small, new toys for the kids to open throughout the journey. Kids love a surprise.
Book your getaway hotel
After arranging transportation, booking hotels is probably the most important thing to plan in advance. Whether you choose to do an advance hotel booking or wait for last minute vacation deals, ensure that the rooms you’re looking at are of a decent size to accommodate rollaway beds or baby cots if needed.
Besides kids’ clubs, some hotels can also offer a children’s concierge service that includes a collection of goodies with customised keepsakes, just for your young ones. Millennium Hotels and Resorts’ award-winning Ask Alfred programme, for example, can arrange for a special backpack, which includes a teddy bear, a colouring book and crayons, and sweet treats.
Orchard Hotel Singapore kid's room
Keep your itinerary realistic
Less is more. You may think you need to see and do everything, but too much may result in cranky, tired children. Kids just want to have fun so remember to plan fun-filled days intertwined with relaxing stays at or near your hotel room so you can stick to regular routines when possible. Holidays are about new experiences, but kids need structure and rest to stay happy.
When planned well, a good holiday can create magical, lifelong memories for the entire family.