Six of the best parenting hacks for family trip success

A new survey by Expedia and Mumsnet has revealed that on average, family holidays take between four to six months to organise and (sorry dads) 65 per cent of mums do all the planning on their own without help from their partner. Sound familiar?

After all the time and effort that goes into booking your much-needed family break, you definitely want things to run as smoothly as possible.

With these stats in mind, parenting expert Sue Atkins has shared her top tips for family holiday success as part of Expedia’s new Family Travel Guide.

So, what are the tricks for making traveling with children more manageable and enjoyable?

  1. Have a plan B

Plan for a great time but prepare in case things go wrong “have a Plan B in everything”. Pack and have easily to hand extra nappies, a change of clothes, and a few toys in case your luggage is lost or your flight is delayed.

  1. Medicine

Plan ahead for an upset tummy, toothache, temperature or if your child falls over and needs cream. Pack sun cream, insect repellent and for any allergies your child may have.

  1. Relax

Children pick up on your vibes and if you’re tense, stressed and anxious they’ll unconsciously pick up on your energy and become stressed, fractious and anxious too. So deliberately relax. I think it helps to remember that children are natural explorers so tap into their innate curiosity as they find new situations fascinating. You may feel like rushing through the airport terminal, but to them it is a new, amazing world. So, slow down, use this time as an opportunity to explore, not an experience to be endured, and you’ll all have a better, more enjoyable journey.

  1. Toys

For long flights and general travel, keep children entertained with the surprise of a few new (inexpensive) toys or bring along toys your child hasn’t seen for a while. It creates novelty and renewed excitement. Don’t unleash them all at the same time. Keep them in your bag so you control the element of surprise and you’ll all have a wonderful trip.

  1. Be prepared for the climate

Kids who are dressed comfortably and for the climate and weather will be happier and more relaxed in their new environment. So, plan, pack and prepare for the travel time and the end destination.

  1. Don’t let the children pack their own rucksacks

It sounds like great idea to let your 9-year-old pack their own rucksack, but kids have a habit of not being very practical when it comes to packing. You may find three heavy Harry Potter books in their rucksack and no T-shirts, or their entire shell collection which makes it incredibly heavy to carry. Do get your kids involved but chat through the practicalities of what they need to bring and what they can leave at home. Also, talk to them about carrying their rucksack themselves as it teaches them about responsibility.

Happy travels

Organising the ultimate family trip and find your dream holiday inspiration at


Sue Atkins is an internationally recognised parenting expert, broadcaster, speaker and author of the Amazon best-selling books Parenting Made Easy – How to Raise Happy Children and Raising Happy Children for Dummies.

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