Holiday season – 5 Tips how to avoid the stress associated with travel

Lilian Gaitho, Head of PR at Jovago.com, shares her insights of how to avoid the stress which often marks the planning, leave alone the travel itself when trying to get away with the family for the holiday season.With less than 8 weeks to go until Christmas, this is part one of several more to come:

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FIVE TIPS TO PLANNING A STRESS FREE FAMILY HOLIDAY:

The best part about travelling with family is that apart from bonding and catching up in a different environment, it’s a superb way to explore the world and open up to learning together. Family holidays also present good opportunities to make decisions where everyone’s opinion is respected. Again, travelling together offers the parents the luxury of having fun without worrying about the everyday issues back home! But, like it is with many all-inclusive decision-making processes, planning a family vacation can leave one feeling depressed and fatigued to the point that they consider curling back under the duvet and dreaming off to their destination! To avoid such, Jovago.com, the leading online hotel booking site advises parents to plan in time, and resist the temptation of playing Super/man/woman. “Depending on the age of your children, assign duties and involve them in listing activities or places they would like to engage in or go to” Says Lillian Gaitho Head of PR for the Jovago. Involving the whole party allows you to start off on a uniform pace and expectations. Below are a few more tips to consider:

Your Budget vs Your Dream

Holidays and family vacations are known to shoot holes through purses and pockets. This is no fable. You however can avoid falling into the rut race by planning and saving ahead of time, this will allow you enough time to balance your ledger books accordingly. Planning ahead of time will also give you time to ask around for packages and deals. Try a few ideas, consider a few places. Do not skip over a favorite destination because it’s known to be a bit over your budget-who knows you might be lucky to catch them smack on their season discounts, or might have special rates for that particular room. One more important issue, find out what your package offers; are all ‘holiday activities’ covered in the cost? There is no fun in taking kids to a windsurfing location if all they do is watch others have the fun.

Home-and-Away; Hotel Matters

Similar to when travelling alone, but a little more complex; check if the hotel offers baby cots for your 8-months old. Do they have a tuck shop just in case you need extra supplies of milk and diapers? How about laundry? Unless you plan to carry a whole closet, stacking up soiled laundry for a six and four old will not add any refreshing moments on your travel diaries. Another important aspect of your stay is ascertain on whether the hotel has a kid’s club or a daycare for children, this will allow you to relax and shift your eyes to the horizon and watch the sunset without worrying about your tot slipping off the rocks or wading off to test the pool’s deep edge. On the same note, it’s important that the hotel amenities are not strictly kid-focused, but rather friendly and well integrated to accommodate both adults and children. Activities such as surfing, beach volleyball, fishing, kayaking and boat rides will be perfect family activities on a beach resort. Finally, check on forgettable bits such as hotel-destination shuttling service, safety measures for family stays e.g. adjoining doors to double rooms, balconies, corridors etc.

Kilifi Baobab Hotel

A Family that Plans Together…

This could be harder than financing the vacation! And especially if your twelve year old has already sketched bold dotted lines under her/his “entitlements and rights”. You can easily avoid sulking and feuds by involving both your 3 year old and his thirteen old sister in laying out the itinerary. Make sure every member of the family has something to look forward to by letting them chose their favorite activity; that to them will be the highlight of the holiday. Make it the duty of the Owner of Activity to find ways of involving the rest of the team so that every member ends up participating in the other’s most memorable holiday activity. It’s also important that you make the holiday a learning experience for the kids. Involving your kids into new activities such as mountain climbing or windsurfing, learning the foreign culture, the history and trying out local food delicacies.

Photo-theguardian.com

Packing for Travel

This may sound easy, until you have to rummage through a Disney-world of toys for the plane tickets at the airport lounge. Be safe and pack separately; older children can share a suitcase while you share your travel case with your spouse and the one looking forward to their 2nd birthday. It will also be easier to move around for different experiences if the older children carry their own backpacks for personal belongings such as water bottles, head phones, cameras, iPads and such. This is also a good time to exercise the ideals of Young Responsible Adults you have been instilling in them all along.

Photo by momtastic.com

A final Checklist

Assuming you followed my guideline, you must by now, have all your immunization cards stamped, your visa ready and your plane reservation set. However, counter checking will just add to your confidence and faith in a happy-holiday-ahead! Ensure your travel insurance is comprehensive, that your credit cards have no issue and that your destination accepts your ATM card. Finally, and just for matters of caution ensure that your home is under good watch while away. We do not anticipate a burglary, but neither can we rule out a stray character peeping though your windows, it’s creepy. It’s always good to have a close relation or friend aware of your whereabouts.

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