One third of women reported finding planning a holiday to be stressful, while another third said the journey, including transfers and flights, was a source of anxiety. As many as 26 per cent of women admitted to feeling stress during their actual holiday, compared to just 19 per cent of men.
We know that breaks with a young family can be tricky, with airports, boring journeys, unfamiliar menus and child-unfriendly hotels popping up as obstacles. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of our eight top tips for stress-free family breaks.
Ditch the airport altogether
It is a fact universally acknowledged that a child on an aeroplane will need to go to the toilet each and every time the seatbelt light comes on. Forget about disappearing boarding passes and ditch the departures lounge for a good old staycation. UK breaks are better than ever, with last minute holidays and great options for families available.
Check reviews before you go
The best way to know if your hotel/destination/tour operator is family-friendly is to read the reviews before you go. Websites such as TripAdvisor make this easier than ever. Look for reviews that specifically mention trips with little ones to put your mind at ease before you travel.
Leave home at home
Whatever that means to you – whether it’s setting your out-of-office and leaving the work phone behind or making sure the house is clean and tidy before you go, ensuring everything back home is taken care of will make the world of difference on your family break.
Buy an unlined notebook and encourage your children to keep a travel journal during their break. At the end of each day they can write about and draw pictures of what they got up to. It will give them some moments of quiet reflection to calm down before bed and can be great for those back-to-school projects.
Keep them entertained
Take books, puzzles and small toys with you to the keep the little ones happy during those unexpected delays, queues and waits. Look ahead for activities that the whole family can enjoy together, and take into account things like walking distances and age restrictions.
Search out the best restaurants
Unfortunately, not every restaurant is as child-friendly as they are at Center Parcs! Avoid uncomfortable meals that no one will enjoy, or the embarrassment of being turned away, by finding out which places will welcome families. Online research is great, but asking hotel staff and locals you meet is the best way to get insider knowledge.
BYOB (bring your own brands)
We offer free baby food and microwaves for warming milk in all of our restaurants, and stock your favourite brands (including Pamper’s and Ella’s Kitchen) in our Village supermarket ParcMarket. But if you’re going abroad or somewhere remote, you may struggle to find them. Be prepared and take with you anything you might not be able to source while you’re there.
Child-proof your room
A lot of tourist accommodation isn’t very child-friendly, so you may want to do a quick sweep of your room. Check locks on doors and windows, the sturdiness of balconies and railings, and make sure there aren’t exposed wires or sockets. Raise any issues with hotel staff and get them rectified early on. At Center Parcs, all our lodges are designed with families in mind. A cot and high chair is supplied in most types of accommodation and additional ones can be hired at a small cost.