Have a plan for your holiday departure day
Call it an ‘out-the-door’ list – this should cover everything you need before you rush out the door to the airport. Obviously you’ll have your bags, but jot down everything else you need from passports and wallets, to snacks you’ve left in the fridge to give to the kids at the airport. There’s a lot to remember – not to mention getting the whole family out the door – so it can be really useful to make a list and check it off.
Watch out for packing and baggage limits
We live in an age of exorbitant excess baggage fees, so make sure you know in advance what your allowance is and weigh your luggage before you leave. If you think you might need more packing space, paying for an extra bag online before you leave might be cheaper than being stung with a hefty fee at check in.
You should also check what sized bags you’re able to take as hand luggage – if your bag is too big you might get caught out.
Make sure to keep a count of your bags. It sounds simple but when you’re travelling with the family it’s easier than you think for things to get lost!
Skip queues by buying advance tickets online
If you’re going to be visiting attractions such as amusement parks, major tourist sites or galleries, you might be able to buy your tickets online. That way you’ll be able to skip the queue when you get there, saving both time and frayed nerves
Even if you can’t buy tickets online, it can be handy to check the website of where you’re planning to visit the day before – that way you’re less likely to turn up only to find it’s closed for renovations or the exhibition has changed.
Staying in a hotel? The concierge can be your bestfriend
If you’re staying in a hotel, ask the concierge for suggestions of what you can do with your kids. Some of their suggestions may seem obvious, but they’re likely to also know about lesser known attractions, or easier ways to get around with kids. They’re there to give advice to make your stay more enjoyable, so make the most of it.
Be prepared for different safety standards
The building safety standards we take for granted in Australia aren’t necessarily the norm overseas. Be aware that child safety standards for pools, balconies, car seats and play equipment could be much laxer than they are in Australia. Be prepared to be extra vigilant.
Your family might need travel vaccinations
This is one to hit on the head at least two months before you leave. Depending on where you’re going, your family might need to get vaccinations.
Make an appointment to see your doctor at least two months before your trip to get information about destination-specific vaccination needs. If your children have any specific medical conditions, make a plan with your doctor about how you’ll get help should you need to while away.
The Australian Government website smartraveller.gov.au can give you an indication of recommended vaccinations needed for where you’re going.
Travel insurance for your family
And finally – as always – make sure you’ve got travel insurance cover for your family. The sooner this is sorted out the better – preferably straight after you’ve booked your trip. That way you may be covered if your holiday is cancelled or postponed.
Depending on your policy, you may find that cover for dependent children and grandchildren doesn't cost any extra. There are generally certain conditions (such as they’re under 25, are named on the policy and aren’t in full time work), so it's important to check.
As always, before selecting a travel insurance policy for your family, read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to make sure everything you need is covered