Preparing for your first family holiday abroad – the ultimate checklist for parents

Preparing for your first family holiday abroad – the ultimate checklist for parents

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Hey, who remembers the heat wave? Oh how I miss that big hot summer sun shining down every day, it’s only the end of September and I’m already wrapping up in woolly jumpers and switching the heating on more than I probably should. With summer now gone for another year, the best way to get through the impending colder months is by planning your next holiday abroad, right? When you have kids, the thought of traveling to a different country can be terrifying, I mean, think of all the things you have to pack for the kids when you’re just going on a day trip! In the five years I’ve been a mum, we have travelled abroad with the kids three times and had lots of UK based holidays too, I feel like I’ve learnt a thing or two about traveling as a family in this time. If the end of summer has got you thinking about preparing for your first family holiday abroad, here is my checklist for all the things you need to remember before you jet off on your holibobs (I’ll be referring back to this before our holiday to Cyprus next Easter!).

Preparing for your first family holiday abroad – the ultimate checklist for parents.

1. Choose a family friendly destination – While backpacking around Asia or doing a road trip through America may have been perfect holiday destinations before kids came along, when you become a parent things like family friendly entertainment and a pool with slides rank higher than how many nightclubs there are for you to drink in along the strip. Holidays with kids are totally different to holidays without them and this is worth keeping in mind when choosing your destination. Think less Ibiza or Magaluf and more Disney Land Paris or all inclusive hotels with a kids club.

2. Decide your accommodation – I will always recommend self catering accommodation when traveling with kids. In a villa, apartment or holiday home you have the benefits of more space than a hotel room, something that you will be grateful for when the kids go to bed at 7pm and you want to stay up later, sitting on the balcony drinking and playing cards or just curling up and relaxing on the sofa. Hotel holidays have their advantages too so it is worth really thinking about what you want from your family holiday before you choose where to stay. Want a home away from home in a sunnier climate? Go for a self catered holiday. Looking for children’s entertainers, all you can eat food and the opportunity to make new friends at a kids club? An all inclusive hotel holiday is probably the best option for you.

3. Get the kids passports – When I was a kid in the 90s I didn’t have my own passport, my mum just had all my details on hers. Things are totally different now and every member of the family will need a passport of their own. Check the expiry date on your own passport and apply for one for your children well in advance of your holiday. There are lots of tips online on getting a suitable passport photo of your baby and GOV.UK offers details on how to apply for your child’s passport. Unfortunately passports don’t come cheap so keep this expense in mind when saving for your holiday.

first family holiday

4. Purchase travel insurance– Don’t risk travelling without proper travel insurance for you and your family. When someone gets ill or something bad happens at home it can be really stressful, this stress is multiplied by a million when you are abroad and something goes wrong. Search around, use comparison websites or choose reputable companies like Bupa Global for a travel insurance quote. Don’t risk travelling without proper travel insurance for the whole family, it’s just not worth it.

5. Pack – It can be easy to over pack when going on holiday with kids but it’s important to not over do it, you don’t want to end up having to pay charges for going over your luggage allowance. Think of all the things you really need and pack them first, does your toddler really need a fresh pair of shorts every day for a week? Do you really need to take ten dresses for a seven night holiday? Mums on the move has a fantastic packing checklist for you to follow when packing for your first family holiday.

There are a few important things that can be easily forgotten in the chaos of packing for a whole family , make sure you remember to pack
– travel adapter
– high factor suncream
– after sun
– any inhalers/medicines your child needs
– passports
– flight tickets
– travel insurance documents
– a separate changing bag for the flight
– a few home comforts for the kids

6. Get your EU health insurance card – To easily access healthcare and necessary medical treatment in the EU you will need a valid EU health insurance card. These can easily be applied for online and all members of the family will need one.

7. Book your flights – You can save money on flights by booking early, being flexible with dates and where you are willing to fly from.

8. Preparing for the flight – When flying with a baby, many airlines will allow you to bring them right up to the gate in their buggy and many also allow families to board first. Remember to check how many liquids you can bring in your hand luggage too. With babies and toddlers you are likely to need things like nappy rash cream, bottles of milk and pouches of baby food etc, be sure to check the airport/airlines policy on this before you travel (you can find useful information about what to pack when travelling with a baby from Baby Centre here). I would also recommend bringing a sling and babywearing in the airport, having your baby in a carrier makes navigating busy spaces much easier and can help to keep them calm in an unfamiliar environment.
Here is a useful resource from Tots To Travel about baby items you can bring on a flight with you –

first family holiday

Finally, here’s some tips for your first flight with kids…
A long flight with a toddler or baby can be daunting and the duration of your travel is something you should consider before you book your holiday. The furthest we have flown since having kids was to Italy, the flight was just under three hours long and both boys (then 3 and 5months) managed to stay fairly calm for the whole journey.

I would say pack lots of story books, a sticker book or colouring book, download lots of CBeebies onto your phone/tablet and have a familiar comforter with you, like their favourite teddy or blanket. Sucking on a dummy or drinking from a bottle can help ease any pain in your baby’s ears during take off and landing and if you are lucky they might just sleep the whole way!

first family holiday

Phew, there is quite a lot to plan and organise when you are preparing for your first family holiday abroad but before you know it the hard part will be over and you’ll be off on your first even holiday as a family, making loads of wonderful memories. Enjoy!

If you have found this post useful, I’d love for you to share it with anyone you know who’s considering travelling abroad with their children for the first time. If you are an expert at traveling with kids, what’s your top tip for new parents? It would be great if you could share your advice in the comments.

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Preapring for your first family holiday abroad

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to read..
The advantages and disadvantages of a self catering holiday
Our first family holiday in Majorca
Our camping holiday in Somerset
A trip to Centre Parcs

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Bupa Global.

5 reasons I would love to celebrate Christmas abroad

5 reasons I would love to celebrate Christmas abroad

*collaborative post*

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas and I don’t mean white with snow. I’m dreaming of white sand between my toes, sitting on a beach looking out at a beautiful clear blue ocean with the hot sun beating down on me. Christmas in the UK is a bit meh when it comes to the weather isn’t it? It’s very rarely cold enough for us to wake up on Christmas morning with snow outside as well as presents under the tree, more often than not it’s just raining and cold. Of course, taking my boys to Lapland is on the ultimate Christmas bucket list, I would love for them to experience snow for the first time and have a truly authentic Christmas experience: sleigh rides, snow ball fights and visiting Santa in his grotto – the works. BUT celebrating Christmas abroad, somewhere hot, is also something I would like to do at least once as a family. Last April we were meant to go on a big family holiday to Mauritius, for lots of different reasons it didn’t happen and we spent 10 days in Italy instead. While our Italia holiday was amazing, I was disappointed we didn’t get to go relax on the beautiful beaches of Mauritius. So, if I could have my once in a lifetime Christmas Day in the sun, Mauritius would be my dream destination. Need convincing that celebrating Christmas abroad would be a great idea? Here are 5 reasons I would love to spend a Christmas Day in the sun. View Post

24 hours in Rome with a toddler and a baby – 11 things to see and do

24 hours in Rome with a toddler and a baby – 11 things to see and do

Last month we went on holiday to Italy and I think it is safe to say whilst there I discovered my new favourite city. Rome is the capital of Italy (also now my new favourite country)  and it is an amazing place to visit. I really felt like everywhere I looked there was a famous landmark to admire, a piece of history to get lost in or a building that looked almost as old as time itself. I am in love with Rome, I already want to go back and explore some more and delve even further into the ancient city’s history. We spent 10 days in Umbria in Italy and for our last day we travelled over 2 hours to Rome, there was no way we could go to Italy and not explore it’s famous capital – the home of the actual Romans none the less. Now, 24 hours is not a very long time at all, especially when about 10 of those was spent sleeping/getting up in the hotel, but we managed to cram quite a lot in to our day trip to Rome and that was with a 3 year old and a baby in tow. So, if you ever find yourself with 24 hours to spare whilst on a family holiday in Italy, here are 11 things to see and do when in Rome (sorry, couldn’t resist) View Post