'Muuuuuum, are we there yet?'
No we're not. Not yet.
The Kidspot Top 50 bloggers competition has had me thinking - what can I share about my holidays? Our holidays (or rather short jaunts) have taught me a few things:
- Make your life as easy as possible. Don't try and stick to your home routine - because it doesn't work. Go with the flow a bit, let the kids sleep when they want to - leave the cloth nappies at home and bring a reliable yet compact pram!
- Short outings are best, the attention span isn't really there to undertake a four-hour-long bushwalk.
- Pack plenty of snacks - they are great to divert attention or soothe a hungry
- Don't forget your scented nappy bags and pack extra, extra wipes (I'll tell you about that one day when I've recovered)
What I learned about holidays with two and three year olds
- A portable DVD player or Ipod touch can save you from total meltdown at times. It will be the best money you spend!
- Activities with animals that are cute and small without big teeth are sure-fire winners
- Locate a local play-park
- Sometimes nappies are necessary for long car trips - regardless if they are toilet trained (I won't tell you about that one...)
What I learned about holidays with four and five year olds
- Plan your days - these are the years of 'What are we doing next?'
- Physical activities work - wear them out completely and then send them to bed early! (that's when your holiday starts sometimes!)
- Kids are soaking in information like sponges - Kid-friendly museums and learning experiences like visiting a historical landmark are great - they love recounting what they learned too!
- They like souvenirs - so let the collect them and glue them in a book with a zip lock bag attached) along the way (i.e. for leaves, shells, postcards, drink coasters)..
- They get VERY excited so try not to tell them what's happening to far in advance, or your ears might be bleeding before the first day is out.
Let's face it, most of us in a one income family (and even those in a two income family) find it hard to justify the cost of a holiday - but if you can get more 'bang for your buck' you'll consider it money well spent. Here's some of my Budget holiday tips
- Although it may seem like the more expensive accommodation option sometimes, take a self-contained apartment over a hotel room. Going out for meals and sending out your laundry can add up very quickly.
- Don't discount a caravan park with self contained cabins - some are state-of-the art with internet and cable tv - for a fraction of the price of a hotel or apartment.
- Houseswapping - there are many online resources that arrange houseswapping interstate and overseas.
- Use online last minute deals - but before you book, ring the hotel direct and see if you can get a cheaper price - it sometimes works and doesn't hurt to try!
- Sometimes resorts offer flights, accommodation and meals - don't scoff at the price - do the sums - it might end up being cheaper!
Air, cruise and tour travel
- Take advantage of off peak times to travel - non-school holidays, off-peak seasons such as end of winter in ski season or autumn for summer destinations.
- Shop around - haggle for the right deal - get little inclusions for free - like asking for free insurance if you pay by cash etc.
- Use loyalty programs - frequent flyer using credit card mileage - make your money work - twice!
- On expensive flights, try to travel before kids turn two, after two you pay for them too!
Activities and sightseeing
- Fly/drive packages can be very attractive, hiring a car rather than going on organised tours can be a lot cheaper and better fitting the requirements of your family.
- Many activities are free! Beaches, parks, local council facilities - Cairns for examples has a 1km strip of just free kid's attractions including wading pool, water park, sandpit, traditional park.
- Sightsee in your area ! Locals often get discounts in off-season and even peak season ticketing.
- Go with a crowd. Go with a group of friends or family and ask for group bookings.
Now, another important and often stressful aspect of preparing for a holiday... the packing
Try not to pack:
- Too many toys...! Let the kids fit one toy that fits in their backpack...
- Too many disposable nappies if they're available where you're going - it's bulky and un-necessary to take 52 nappies for the first day.
- Same goes for formula
- Ditto for food
- Enormous prams - invest in a travel one because believe me a few airport check ins and you might leave it on a baggage collection trolley. Forever.
- Carseats if possible (if travelling by air or train) hire one at the other end - it's pretty cheap, and can be included in your car hire costs if you ask!
Don't forget to pack:
A back pack for each kid who can walk - colouring in books, pencils, a few books to read, sticker books, lunchbox and drink and a sunhat. Not only for the getting to and from - but the day trips too.
Incidentals - Sunscreen, insect repellent, a medium (I'm talking a small ziplock bag) first aid kit with antiseptic cream, gauze, some bandaids, a thermometer and some baby and adult panadol.
Your camera and spare batteries - you don't want to miss anything do you?
Tell me some of YOUR tips! (please!)
Do you holiday at any particular time of the year? Why?
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