Well, we are fast approaching the end of the term, and no doubt many of you out there will be looking forward to a well-deserved break. However, as every busy parent will know, the holidays don’t start until you finish travelling. Let’s face it, travelling anywhere can be a nightmare with young kids, no matter how you choose to get to your destination. So, I thought I would reveal some of the best travel planning tips I could find - feel free to leave your own at the end if you think I have missed any!
A lot of airlines will tell you to check in a minimum of 45 minutes before your departure time. I would suggest at least doubling that time. The summer holidays can be terrible for airport queues, and we all know at least a few families who have missed flights in recent years. It’s the same principle for any other form f travel, too. I would leave an hour early for every two hours worth of driving to the airport, ferry or translation. Yes, you might be kicking your heels a little if you arrive early, but at least you guarantee your holiday starts on time.
If you are flying or sailing anywhere, the chances are you will need to hire a car. Don’t leave it until the last minute - make sure you book at least 2-3 weeks in advance - and preferably more. Also, don’t rely on the rental company to do what they say they will. I have heard plenty of stories about cars not being ready on arrival - so give them a call before you leave.
Make sure you check the dimensions of your luggage, too. Excess baggage costs a small fortune these days, and it can leave a sour taste in your mouth before you even fly anywhere. My advice is always to leave some room in each bag for the return journey. I don’t know about you, but we always seem to bring back a lot more than we leave with!
Road trip advice
If you are doing any long-haul driving, make sure you take a good look at your car beforehand. Is your oil topped up? Will your tyres last the distance you intend to travel? If not, think about replacing them. You don’t have to spend a lot to upgrade them - Maxxis tyres are affordable and a lot better than the standard set you probably have on your car. Make sure you have plenty of entertainment for the kids, too. Books, favourite toys and even a portable DVD player are all good ideas. Finally, make sure you often stop for short breaks every two to three hours. Your children will cause problems if they can’t release some pent up energy!
Have a documents bag
Finally, take one small bag with you for all your vital info. Passports, boarding passes, tickets, EHIC cards - put all of them in the one place. I often see parents frantically looking for documents at the last minute is incredible. It’s stressful for them - especially when their children are running amok, too!