How to Survive a Family Holiday…

Family Holidays can make you or break you.  

We have just spent two weeks on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.  I can honestly say…we had a great holiday.

As  Supermum Clare Dunphy (my role model) says when travelling with children…it’s not a holiday, it’s a business trip!  And I couldn’t agree more.  As a family, we do holidays well.  We relax, we have fun and we go deep, deep into the zone.  Maybe this is because we live at the beach and our life feels like one long holiday anyway!  

Lucia on the beach

Unfortunately,  not everyone shares the same positive experience and let’s face it…travelling with small children can be fraught with stress, extreme fatigue and near marital collapse!  Here are my tips on how to survive a family holiday…

1.  Bring Food

It doesn’t matter if you are driving, flying or arriving by boat…bring your own lunch!  Food on the go is less than ideal and if you can fill up hungry kids with healthy, low sugar snacks you will be well on the way to avoiding a melt down…and then you can stop for the really important stuff…like coffee.

Frankie mango

2.  Don’t share accommodation

Okay, this might ruffle feathers but you know it’s true!  It’s wonderful to share your holiday with other families but everyone needs there own accommodation!  You need to know at the end of the day you can take your ratty kids to bed, shut the door and retreat.  This way you don’t have to worry about your baby waking up others, getting stuck with all of the cooking/cleaning/child minding duties or sharing the last piece of sticky fruit cake!

relaxed mum

3.  Take time to sort yourself out 

On the day we arrive anywhere, we unpack and stock our fridge and pantry – we even make a loose meal plan which goes like this…sausages and salad, chicken and salad, steak and salad, hamburgers and salad…and when no one can face one more bbq, pasta with pesto.  We usually eat our main meals at home and go out for treats like coffee, ice-creams and of course, the occasional cocktail!

Leo ice cream


4. Entertain the kids

There is no point expecting to sit undisturbed in the sun on your banana lounge reading your book for any length of time while you are on holidays with your kids.  Accept this and avoid disappointment! Get in the pool, go for walks, play games and have fun…failing that, make a deal with your husband and get him to do it…promise whatever it takes to get that sleep in every other morning!

farmers market


5.  Go with the flow

This is so important.  Relax, accept there are certain things you will have no control over.  It rained every day except for two while we were away!  A few days it was raining when we woke up and still raining when we went to bed!  I was dangerously close to a princess attack over the weather but my positive thinking husband saved me on more than one occasion.  So it’s not as good without the clear seas and blue skies, but you are still somewhere other than home so make the most of it.  We spent hours reading, finding lovely cafes, walking in the rain (ok, I sat that one out) and even watching TV.  Letting go of our initial expectations was hard but so worth it because we came home relaxed and recharged.

kids on beach

Do you have any tips for a successful family holiday?  Have you ever had a disaster?  I’d love to hear about it!  Please let me know in the comments below!

Happy Holidays!

mamacino x

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27 thoughts on “How to Survive a Family Holiday…

  1. This whole post made me smile. I am always the one desperate to read and relax and it never quite turns out. Going with the flow is always better x glad to have you back

  2. Beautiful pics Kristin!!! I am very impressed with how well you coped with the wet! Love your tips, the only one I’d add is buy something new & spesh for each kid to play with for the holiday: a puzzle, new colouring bk, a new novel (for older ones) or one of those Disney kids mags. They’re worth their weight in gold for the few hrs that’ll keep them occupied for :)

    • That is a great idea Kathie…we ran out of books mid holiday and had to visit the book shop which was such a hard ship, you know…I should have mentioned it’s great to get away for an hour or two and have coffee with a friend! Did I tell you Cossie lost Leonardo in the lift while we were out? It took off with Leo in it but no one else…oh dear!

  3. You poor ones, it almost rained the whole time…I can relate…I have taken numerous trips to visit my Grandparents in Germany and even in the summer months, it usually didn’t stop pouring…how frustrating!
    Great advice, by the way. To the above I would add that one must choose the best time of the day to travel (avoid very early morning and late at night flights) as my children get the crankiest when they are tired)

  4. Great ideas! I would add that if you are traveling with another family to ensure you still make special time for YOUR family, such as a trip to the park/beach/cafe etc alone. Time out from the other family is good for everyone to recharge and also then you don’t have to feel like you must do everything with the other family. Make this clear to the other party before you leave!

    • This is a great idea…we only spent one weekend with friends while we were away and it was great to spend time with them…I think it’s nice sometimes for the mums to go out for a while and then the dads can go off and do something too.

  5. Nice work! Love your tips…. my best one for flying is (for toddler boys) match box cars – new in their packet…. takes them ages to un wrap and play with them…. it’s all about killing time when you fly ;) Bummer if I had known earlier you were going to be on the Coast we could have had a coffee/play date with the toddlers ;) Next time!

    • I would have loved that Lou! Leo gets a matchbox car everytime I have to take him for a ‘big shop’ with me…less than $2 and much better than a packet of chips or something x

  6. Pingback: Love List | The Yogic Housewife

  7. Our family traveled around China for 6 months – no we didn’t know the language – no we didn’t have a guide – and our disaster hit in the first week – our kids had contracted measles in Sydney before we left…… Our children 10, 4, 3 were born at home and never been to a doctor. I spent my first night ever in hospital with our 4 year old (when we finally found one that would take a foreigner with a contagious disease) Other than that we traveled from the South to the North on anything that moved – and fell in love with the most amazing country people and learnt so much about food and simple living and the culture (all without language) we laughed, we cried and it was an amazing experience for our family, disaster included : ) The only time we went near a major city was to catch our planes in and out of the country. Our family scorned us for being irresponsible – we feel blessed with such amazing life experiences. BTW our 10 year old now speaks Mandarin – she became our interpreter (crash course in a village we stayed in for a week). We taught English – they fed and accommodated us : ).
    Travel tip – just do it, listen to your gut instinct and ride the bumps : )

    • Wow! What an adventure…we took our two girls to Italy for three months but that’s small fry compared to China! I’m off to Hong Kong next week and will be visiting Shen Zen (spelling?) while I’m there x

      • Send me an email and I will give you the tips for shopping in Shen Zhen… my 13 year old daughter and I became quite skilled at it : )
        Hong Kong we didn’t even last 24 hours – horrible place. too many laowai (foreigners) narellehetheringtonatgmaildotcom : ) Look forward to hearing from you

  8. Great post,

    I definitely agree with tip 2, as i’ve been on a few family holidays were i’ve had no space and number 4 made me laugh “…promise whatever it take”

    hope you have a great time in China

    all the best


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