Our tips for planning a long family holiday

We are heading to the US and Mexico for 2 months in the middle of this year. My husband and I have booked the whole trip ourselves and its been rewarding but also time-consuming. If you are considering a longer than normal family holiday, then check out our top ten tips:

  1. Research: It goes without saying that if you are heading to an unknown country or countries it’s a great idea to speak to people who have visited or lived there before. Tripadvisor has forums on nearly every place on the planet and I’ve really enjoyed reading people’s thoughts and experiences.
  2. Keep track: Set up a spreadsheet in google docs and start working on your itinerary. Put in a column for dates, places, accommodation and day trips. This means you won’t lose track of what you have booked and what needs to be booked.
  3. Be flexible: Deal with flexible providers of accommodation and transport. Believe me your itinerary will morph based on the availability of flights and accomodation. Life is unpredictable and so is travelling especially when you are travelling with kids.
  4. Shop around: Don’t book all your accommodation through one booking site, make sure you shop around. I am constantly amazed how much room availability and price can vary from site to site.  An aggregator site like Hotels Combined is handy when you want to compare price and availability.
  5. Know which currency: Sometimes prices will be listed in your currency but they will charge your credit card in the currency of the country you are visiting.  Be aware what currency prices are listed in and know that you maybe up for some foreign currency exchange fees on your credit card, which are not cheap so factor them in.
  6. Buy travel insurance: Get some decent travel insurance. Do your research and make sure you are happy with the coverage the insurer is providing. Always read reviews from previous customers to determine if the insurer is reputable.
  7. Get healthy: Focus in on your family’s health prior to departure. Make sure everyone is up to date on dental checks and deal with any niggling health issues before leaving. If anyone is on regular medication make sure you check they are allowed in the countries you are visiting.
  8. Think about luggage: Start looking at what luggage you have for the trip. Do you need to buy the kids new carry on luggage, are your suitcases or backpacks going to last the distance?
  9. Learn a language: If you are going to a country or countries that speak a different language to your own start learning some everyday phrases.
  10. Organise seating, meals and transfers: Book any special meals on the plane or preferred seating early. Also start thinking about transfers from the airport to your accommodation, something you don’t want to be navigating when you’ve been on a long flight and you have very tired children.

 

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