If you’re taking the family to Europe this year, check out our handy planning guide. Whether you’re hitting the slopes or enjoying the quiet beauty of the Italian Lakes, plan ahead and make sure you’re organised.
Get Your Documents in Order
Get your documents in order ahead of time. Passports can take several weeks to process, especially during busy periods. Make sure each member of the family has an up-to-date passport. Even if you think they do, make sure you double check the dates.
Set a Budget
Set a budget and make sure you stick to it. Allow money for travel, accommodation, food and spending money. You may also want to include holiday clothes and sundries like suntan lotion etc.
Do Your Research
Make a list of the countries and areas that you and your family would like to visit. Do your research and look into costs and amenities etc. Check out travel guides and online reviews. Read what other families have said about the area.
Look for accommodation that is family-friendly. Again, reviews are a great source of information. They often contain details that are not provided by holiday companies. You’ll need to find somewhere that can comfortably accommodate the whole family. Look into hotels and family sized holiday homes.
Things to consider when planning self-catering accommodation:
- To cut down on packing, are things like sheets, bedding, towels, etc. provided?
- Is there a maid service or are you happy to fulfil these tasks yourself?
- Is there a washing machine? This may impact on your packing choices.
- Is the accommodation family-friendly? If you have young children, there will be a number of safety issues to consider. For example, if there is a pool, does it have a safety gate?
- If you have a baby, does the holiday home provide a cot and high chair?
- How far away are the local amenities? Are they within walking distance or will you require a car or public transport?
- Does the area offer a variety of family-friendly activities?
Create a Schedule
Once you have decided on your destination and the holiday is booked, put together a schedule. This will allow you to research activities, tours, restaurants, etc. before you leave. It is likely that you will find a number of places you would like to visit. You can then prioritise and allocate your budget accordingly.
When creating an itinerary think about how you’re going to get to the various places. Will you be visiting more than one area each day? If so, how will you travel between the two? Do you intend to hire a car or will you make use of public transport?
If you’re travelling with young children, check whether restaurants have adequate facilities. Do they offer children’s menus and high chairs, etc.?
When planning, it is important not to be too restrictive. Allow some flexibility in your schedule. When you arrive at your destination, it’s likely you will find other places of interest. Make sure you allow for spontaneous excursions, etc. There may also be days when you’re tired and you decide to stay at your holiday home or hotel.