Family hols aren't really holidays!

Family hols aren't really holidays!

The title says it all. How is it a holiday if the kids are screaming and running up the aisles of the plane and the husband/wife is busy looking over business proposals? Vacation usually spells exhaustion if you’re travelling with your family.

Family holidays

The title says it all. How is it a holiday if the kids are screaming and running up the aisles of the plane and the husband/wife is busy looking over business proposals? Vacation usually spells exhaustion if you’re travelling with your family.

As a parent, a family holiday is a time when you get to bond with your children without the interruptions of technology, have your spouse in your arms as you both sit in a cabin surrounded by snow, wine glass in hand, in front of a fire watching the kids play games and put on plays for you. Well at least that is how a family vacation is usually defined by the movies. However the truth of family vacations? As American author, Marcelene Cox, puts it, “vacation frequently means that the family goes away for a rest, accompanied by a mother who sees that the others get it”.

Our daily life is spent on work, the children’s matters in school, the spouse’s issues with many things and miscellaneous concerns dealing with the house, maid and just about everything else. A vacation should be one that tears you away from all these issues and supplies you with an abundance of time to just relax, unwind and have fun with your kids. You should be able to come back from your vacation, well rested with good memories and the children should be eagerly counting down to the next family holiday. But of course, reality comes and whacks you upside the head and well, you realise that such things are, at times, not possibilities but merely dreams.

TheAsianParent has drawn up a list with points that you might want to consider while planning your next holiday.

Destination Choice

Firstly, choose wisely where to go. In Singapore, families usually opt for nearby destinations such as Malaysia, Thailand or Indonesia to cut travelling time. Further destinations such as Europe, The States and such, are usually shelved till the kids are older. If your kids are the kind to get fidgety, then try to go to a place where you don’t have to sit in a plane for long. If you intend to drive up, make sure you plan out a lot of pit stops because cooping young children in a car for a long time not only gets them irritated but bored as well. Get your kids a bunch of things for the journey – healthy snacks, organic candy, puzzles and reading material.

Many parents usually opt to travel when their children are in primary or secondary schools, citing reasons that the children are at a more ‘manageable’ age or will be able to appreciate the vacation more as they are older. However, it is important to take a vacation with the children even if they are toddlers and if it becomes a little hard, there are always holiday nannies that can be employed.


Pack wisely. It cannot be stated clearer than that. You are probably itching to declare that there is no such thing as limited packing when travelling with children. We’re not saying ease up on the important stuff but don’t take too many toys or books, as children tend to lose interest pretty fast. Limit the number of suitcases as lugging around three bags and holding on to Junior’s hand at the same time, is something you would want to avoid. Also try not to bring too much on your carry on, if you’re taking a flight. Let your little one have a bag to put his colouring materials, action figures, etc because putting everything in your carry on would just result in you having to stand and reach into your overhead compartment a zillion times!

Zap the road trip boredom!

Load the car and watch the children groan and sigh because it means a limited amount of moving. Children will tire of the books and toys eventually, especially if your journey is more than three hours. Infants and children have an unbelievably short attention span and being strapped in just makes them more irritable as their movement is limited. Try to engage your child in imaginative play, even if you have very little items. For example, a doll can double up as a storybook character or a mini version of the child. At times like this, it’s not what you have but rather what you do with what you have.

Another way is to have a slipcover with many pockets. This can be bought or made. Hang it over the front seat’s back, which is a great space saver in the car, and the pockets can hold toys, games and books easily. To make it more interesting, you can allow the child to change items hourly so that there will be a keen anticipation as time passes. If the kids are around 4-6 years old, bringing along an empty scrapbook might be fun. Encourage the children to fill it up with brochures, postcards, paper menus at eateries on the way and even special types of leaves they may find while stretching their legs at the side of the road. Thoughts and feelings can also be penned down, which would make for a beautiful read, after a couple of years.

Hotel dullness: Beam me up, Scotty!

Your child should not wish to be zapped away from your accommodation just because there is nothing to do at the hotel. Choose your hotel properly. There are many child-friendly hotels in many countries. By child-friendly we are not just thinking about safety but fun as well. Child-friendly hotels usually conduct many tours, games and fun activities for children. This especially works well if you need one undisturbed day with the spouse. We don’t mean dump the kids there but if you feel the need be away from them for at least a few hours, you would at least be sure they are having fun as well and, not to add, making friends too. At times there are even some activities that request for participation by the parents, which just kicks the fun factor up a notch for the kids.

Family holidays do not have to be the dreaded family travel they are cut out to be. It can be changed and made even more enjoyable to a larger extent. Remember, it is not just a holiday but also a time to get to know your children better and a chance to bulk up on those precious memories that last longer than any souvenir!

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Written by

Miss Vanda

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