I often get ask, “What is the best holiday to book for our family?”. I usually smile at this ‘loaded’ question – but at the same time, I can’t wait to share some secrets I have learnt over the years while planning LifeChanging Family Holidays…
So, make yourself comfortable, pour yourself some fresh coffee (or wine if you’re reading this after hours when the kids are in bed!) Be inspired and start planning your next holiday!
Planning a family holiday is by no means the same as planning a honeymoon, business trip, overland tour, volunteer vacation, burnout break or adventure vacation with friends. There are a different set of rules to look at and this will undoubtedly influence your choice of destination.
You should evaluate any holiday package, destination or accommodation type with these points in mind
(a) How safe is it for kids?
(b) What are there to do for kids?
(c) Is there enough to do for kids?
(d) What do past visitors say about this venue?
(e) Are trusted “child sitting” services available?
The second aspect to consider before you start planning is whether to travel locally or internationally. The thought of exploring overseas and experiencing something different from what you are used or have never experienced before lies deep within the soul of many people. I’m the last person on this planet that will quench this flame in you. However, some practical advice, if you are travelling with babies and small children first consider the “lekker” of going local…
Another aspect to base your decisions on is whether to choose “self-drive or guided”. This depends again on the ages of your children. Many people prefer “self drive” because they can set their own clock; enjoy scenic routes and stop often to stretch legs and to do loo runs. If you choose “self drive”, remember to take age-appropriate CD’s with you when driving long distances. If you want to put in the effort, compile your own playlists with “Fun Music”, “Sleep Music”, “Parent Music”. Story Reading CD’s are also excellent for long distance driving. Also consider healthy snacks for your children. You don’t want an over-active sugar-filled child in the car who needs space to run off access energy.
Something very few people consider is going on a family holiday in a Motorhome! Yes, you have read right: combine your accommodation & transport all together! For some adventurous families, this proved to be excellent family bonding time.
Guided Holidays offer much less stress in terms of planning and thinking ahead all the time. Some of the most popular guided holidays are holidays where you and your family can explore nature & wildlife! Top destinations in this regard are: The Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater with arguably the most impressive wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Malaria-Free Game Reserves can be found in the South African Madikwe, Waterberg & Eastern Cape/ Garden Route areas.
The 4th aspect you should think through is, “How do I want to cater for the holiday?” Do you want to Self Cater? Must all meals be cooked and prepared for you? Or are you going really wild and choosing Camping? There are many amazing, award-winning family hotels & resorts around the world, but few consider exploring the country sides of Europe & South Africa. By staying in self contained Apartments, Boats, Castles, Chalets, Cottages, Farmhouses, Mansions & Villas where you can cater for your own family you can really cut down on the cost of the holiday. Remember that you can always book a table at a nearby restaurant if you want to take a break from cooking! Self Catering as an option is almost always easier on the budget and enables you to stay much longer. If you want to do self-catering in style, invite your cook & nanny (or granny!) to come along!
The last important deciding factor is “Do I want to plan my own holiday or would I like someone else to do this for me?” There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. LifeChanging Holidays, offers “Self-Plan” (D.I.Y) AND “We-Plan” Holidays. Visit their website to find out what the differences are. A very helpful page is their “Best suggestions for Family Vacations” page.
FAMILY QUALITY TIME is more precious than all the gold in the world. Wherever you plan to go and whatever it costs – don’t think twice – the memories you will make will last a lifetime! These memories will define you as a family, providing security in an unsecure world. Yes, it may be busy, hectic, hard work & expensive, BUT money can’t buy the time you took to create life changing family bonding memories…
So if you are not “there yet”, start saving and planning today!
About the Author: Hennie Albertse is the Co-Founder of www.LifeChanging-Holidays.com. His life recently changed with the arrival of his first born son who is about to change the way he holidays, at least for the next 20 years…