Planning an Easter getaway or do you have your eyes set firmly on the summer sun? Taking a family holiday is often the highlight of the year for families all across the country. Whether you are jetting off to Sardinia or journeying to Skegness for your break, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure the trip has more treats than tantrums.

Read on for our top 10 tips for a holiday you will remember for all the right reasons. 

1. Let everyone have their say

A successful holiday starts way before you step onto the plane, ferry, bus or car. By involving the whole family in the planning process the holiday will feel like a team effort. Not to mention you can also use it as an opportunity to help your kiddos get hands-on with maps and atlases to name different countries and start exploring different cultures.

HeraldScotland: Where will your next adventure take you? Credit: Den Ken DeWoke, Pixabay Where will your next adventure take you? Credit: Den Ken DeWoke, Pixabay

Having a pre-trip discussion can also help you nail down what everyone wants to get out of their ideal holiday.

Perhaps your pre-teen wants to find a quiet spot to chew through a stack of their favourite books, a teen might have trying out some new sports at the top of their list, while your four year old just wants a park with good swings nearby.

Having something for everyone, rather than little ones staring at their screens, is a must.

2. Get your documents in order

Make sure you have all your important travel documents like passports, tickets and visas and proof of vaccinations, if necessary, in the same spot. Remember that visas and vaccinations can take time, make sure to plan ahead!

If you have different last names from your children, you may also want to bring their birth certificates or other proof of your relationship along too.

Travellers have seen a recent uptick in passport control more closely scrutinising the relationships between children and adults who don’t share the same last name - not an ideal way to start your relaxing holiday!

3. Give yourself plenty of time

Any parent knows that children are capable of creating their own special time vortexes; 5-minute tasks can easily turn into half-hour endeavours. Be sure to build in extra time to take account of this special feature of childhood!

A car journey that would have taken child-free you about 2 hours to complete can quickly descend into a series of toilet stops, snack stops and everyone’s favourite… “I feel a bit sick mummy….”

HeraldScotland: Make sure time is on your side! Credit: Explore More UK, Pixabay Make sure time is on your side! Credit: Explore More UK, Pixabay

And before you know it, the ferry has sailed without you or you’re suddenly recreating an airport version of Chariots of Fire in a desperate bid to make the final boarding call as your families name is called accusingly over the loudspeaker.

4. Sometimes it pays to… pay

We all love a good deal and while it is tempting to opt for the cheap seats, so to speak, on flights it often isn’t worth it. Again if it was child-free you travelling alone, not having dedicated seats and possibly having to put your hand luggage in the hold wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Throw some kids into the mix, and that could mean your family is scattered around a plane without anything to keep them occupied for the rest of the flight. Spending a little extra might just save you a whole lot of sanity!

5. Make lost kiddos easy to find

Travelling somewhere new is exciting, but it can also be a nerve-wracking time for parents. The thought of losing your child in a crowded place is a major worry for kids and adults alike.

Get into the habit of taking a picture of your child before you go out, so you know exactly what they are wearing should you have to describe them to others. 

HeraldScotland: How would you find your child if they got lost in a crowd? Credit: Digital Punks, PixabayHow would you find your child if they got lost in a crowd? Credit: Digital Punks, Pixabay

Another top tip from parents is to write your contact phone number on the inside of your child’s wrist and then cover it with spray plaster to prevent it from being washed away. This is particularly good for children that may be too young to remember a mobile number accurately.

6. Learn some local lingo

You don’t need to suddenly become fluent but having a good grasp of common phrases such as hello, please, thank you, my name is… and even do you speak English is always a good idea. Have your kids learn some phrases too and keep a phrase book handy. Attempting the local language, however badly, usually goes down much better than repeating things slowly and loudly in English.

7. Choose family-friendly spots

Please don’t feel like you need to get away from it all on your next holiday. A remote villa might look good in the brochure, but by day two you could be dealing with some serious cases of cabin fever.

Heading to a resort that is known to be family friendly is a great way to fit in plenty of relaxation time as well as readymade activities to keep everyone engaged. 

When you are still at the planning stage, be on the lookout for holiday packages that come complete with activities and kids club options. Your kiddos will love the opportunity to meet other children their age, and you will especially enjoy not being the one to provide entertainment for the entire day!  

HeraldScotland: Try something new on holiday Credit: Cuncon, PixabayTry something new on holiday Credit: Cuncon, Pixabay

​​8. Make it a true family affair

Why not bring the grandparents along on the adventure too? Taking a trip with your extended family is an ideal way to build some quality family time, not to mention the fact that having more adults around will help spread the load of keeping an eye on the wee ones.

We don't recommend asking granny and grandpa to come purely for the childcare benefits though. Loneliness is a real and pressing issue amongst older adults. Including them in your holiday plans can make a huge difference to their outlook.

9. Plan out your holiday

Make the most of your time away by setting aside time for the must see and do things on your trip. Do some research to find out about local attractions and events and then choose specific days to see them. Adding a little bit of structure to your getaway makes the downtime seem that bit more relaxing and will help prevent the dreaded whines of “I’m bored…”.

HeraldScotland: Make time for special outings Credit: Taniadiamas, PixabayMake time for special outings Credit: Taniadiamas, Pixabay

10. Make time for ice cream!

You are on holiday after all; the perfect time to stop at particularly tasty looking ice cream shops. You may have just shown your child one of the seven wonders of the world, but chances are what will really sticks is the memory of the ice cream cone they got after seeing it, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

HeraldScotland: There should always be time for ice cream! Credit: Silvia Rita, PixabayThere should always be time for ice cream! Credit: Silvia Rita, Pixabay

Make the most of your time away and remember that when things don’t go quite to plan; if you miss that train or there is some serious vomit action along the way, tomorrow is always a new day.

And if nothing else, those not so great moments soon become the memories that are ideal for retelling at your little one’s 21st birthday.