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Tips for Families Taking Their Kids on Holiday

  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 01 July 2018
  • Revised 20 March 2024
Tips for Families Taking Their Kids on Holiday
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 01 July 2018
  • Revised 20 March 2024
Tips for Families Taking Their Kids on Holiday
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 01 July 2018
  • Revised 20 March 2024
According to the Office for National Statistics, the popularity of travel abroad is thriving again. During the most popular holiday season – from July to September (Quarter 3) - UK residents made 28.3 million visits abroad in 2023. This compares with 25 million visits in the same quarter in 2022. Even with travel disruption at major UK airports - caused by air traffic-control issues in August 2023 - the number of visits continues to climb closer to pre-pandemic levels, with total spending outstripping 2029 figures.

Unsurprisingly, the main reason for these visits abroad was for a holiday. After all, a break from everyday life with your young family means you can bond and spend quality time together. Plus, longstanding research suggests family holidays are hugely important for a child’s advanced brain development. This is because the brain’s genetically ingrained PLAY system and SEEKING system which are both found in the brain’s limbic area are exercised. At home in the same environment, these systems often go un-exercised for long periods of time.

However, when parents play with their children and share new experiences in a new environment without any distractions, it has an immensely positive effect on the brain development of the child. This is because the parents are relaxed and focus their undivided attention on their little ones, helping to boost their IQ and enhance concentration skills.

The downsides of family holidays? It’s no secret that searching for the best deals, preparing your itinerary, and getting to the airport can be stressful - whether you’re going on your very first family holiday abroad or you are easoned jet-setters. Yet at Ocean Florida, we even try to make packing part of the fun! That’s why we have collated our best tips for a family holiday from our community of experts. Check out our guidance below, and check-in to your dream family holiday…

List down everything you might need before you pack

Whether you’re going on a big overseas holiday to Disney World in Orlando, Florida for a few weeks, or you’re taking your family on a short break to New York, you should write a list of everything you need - beyond the obvious clothes and holiday essentials. Founder of Claimscore, Kevin Hedges says he thinks of everything from the documents they need before travelling to the entertainment he provides his kids during travel:

“If you are travelling by car, check what documents you might need if you get stopped. Make sure your car or hand luggage is stocked up with things to do. We use a ‘no-screen travel games cheat sheet’ that can be taken with you. This makes time go quicker and gives the whole family a good giggle or two."

Pack more with cubes & 1-in-3 formulas

Abigail Dunn, our Marketing Manager and near 50-time visitor to the United States, believes going big abroad is all about micro-packing:

“I used to find myself wrestling to get the suitcase closed seconds mere seconds before I was due to head to the airport – until I discovered packing cubes. These lifesavers offer nifty compartments and allow clothes and bulky items to fit much more neatly in your case.

I am also a big believer in packing a mini first aid kit. Whilst we all keep our fingers crossed for holidays to be injury-free, we all know accidents happen. For peace of mind, a mini first aid kit is especially important when travelling with young children - including plasters for any ‘ouchies’ they have.”

Meanwhile, Jenny Liddell from Excellart said she tackles the Olympic sport of packing by choosing 3-in-1 sunscreen and bug repellent, which is also much cheaper: "It's crucial that we maximise our space when packing, so instead of bringing 3 separate bulky (and expensive!) products, I pack a 3-in-1 formula such as incognitos factor 30 Second Sunscreen which has a built-in mosquito repellent and moisturiser. This works for us because we’re also a vegan family who care about our plastic consumption and incognito ticks both these boxes!”

Particularly if you're planning to venture far and wide - like exploring International Drive in Florida or Universal Studios Orlando  - carrying less around with you is a game changer.

Pack ‘indestructible’ kid's toys in the hand luggage

Many parents dread bringing their kids on long-haul flights. However, by packing those ‘indestructible’ kids toys in your hand luggage, you can keep your children entertained and calm during the flight. Our Social Media Manager, Zara Bartoszewicz, agrees: “Indestructible books were a lifesaver on my last family holiday. They’re chew-proof, rip-proof, waterproof books and ideal for kids under two. They’re also super-light so perfect hand luggage. And because they’re waterproof, they can double up as a bath and pool toy too!”

Book attraction tickets in advance

Packing travel documents like passports and travel insurance takes up a lot of head space – often leaving the idea of sorting attraction tickets by the bedside. However, if you are planning to visit popular attractions like Walt Disney World or the Empire State Building, Abigail Dunn’s top tip would be to book tickets in advance: 

“Increasingly, attractions require you to book a reservation far in advance of your visit. For example, theme parks such as Walt Disney World which now require you to make park reservations. Yet booking in advance will not only secure your spot, but it will also save you money and maximise your family fun.”

Considered accommodation with themed bedrooms

Family holidays are all about childhood dreams – whether you’re living them for the first time or revisiting them with your little ones. So, when you’re looking for accommodation, what better way to add a touch of fairytale than by having themed bedrooms?

Zara Bartoszewicz loves Florida villas for this reason: “We love Reunion or Solterra Resort in Florida for the vast array of fun-themed villas. Whether you’re looking to step into a Marvel movie scene or sleep under the stars in a space-themed room is fit for a Jedi – they have a place.”

Have an itinerary for all ages

When kids are running wild it can be difficult to think on your feet. So whilst Abigail Dunn appreciates the laidback approach to holidays, she also believes a pre-planned itinerary promises peace of mind:

“You may want to dedicate a bit of retail therapy time to malls, scope out some history at the museum, or find the best waves of the Atlantic Ocean. But what do the kids have in mind? By the time they get to be teenagers in particular, they’re pretty picky. That’s when having an agreed itinerary has kept all of my family happy.”

To take the worry out of planning, check out our tailor-made itineraries for each destination here or simply get in touch for more travel dreams by design.

Tagged: USA

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