by Caroline aged 43 ¾ (nearly 44).
It’s no surprise that Staycations are on the rise. It’s easier, cheaper and you can speak the language. Most of all it involves less preparation.
At Lancombe we understand that even though you aren’t getting on a plane or a boat, the family holiday with children still requires some organising. So, we have some handy tips from start to finish, to make it a heavenly holiday that the whole family will enjoy.
Are you an early bird or a gambler?
There is neither a right or a wrong time to book your holiday. It’s a well known fact that there’s a lot of great deals to be had for booking late in the day. But, with a family there are some things to bear in mind. During any school holiday, whatever time of the year, the family sized properties are always booked first.
You can still receive some rewards for booking early, but having the choice of accommodation, location and facilities that you absolutely want, rather than settling for what you can get. For example, at Lancombe, we’re offering an ‘Early Bird’ booking discount of 5% for summer 2018, if your holiday is booked and deposit paid by 31st August 2017.
Research what’s right for the whole family
Whilst your idea of heaven may be a secluded property in the wilds of nowhere, or a town property with walking distance to the beach or a pub, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what’s going to keep the children happy….and ultimately you! As one guest recently said to me, “happy children = happy parents” and this is very, very true!
Children often make friends on holiday and that adds to their enjoyment (and your quiet time). So, it’s worth choosing a family friendly holiday complex where it’s safe for the children to play together. Indoor facilities are essential for those days when the sun may not be shining, for example we have an indoor heated pool & games room, which are a god send in wet weather.
Even in the winter, it’s worth taking the kids somewhere where there are outdoor activities, or jobs that they enjoy doing (like feeding the chickens) as we do at Lancombe.
Outside of summer, are there on site activities that the children will look forward to?
At Lancombe, we have a Treasure Hunt for February half term, Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday, a Spooky Walk and Games for October half term, and Santa visits us at Christmas ….all free of charge.
If you have babies or toddlers, there is sooooooo much equipment you need to bring, let alone the favourite toy (mine was a life sized chimp). Most family friendly holiday providers take a lot of the packing off your hands. At Lancombe we try very hard to think of what you will definitely need, and what you may want in your cottage or lodge ready for your arrival, such as Travel Cots, Bed Guards and High Chairs. It also gives you confidence that your children are truly welcome.
Whilst accommodation providers can’t provide everything you need, there are other options. We have teamed up with Travelling Tots, a local firm who hires out and delivers equipment for young children, such as Pushchairs, Strollers and Back Carriers. This lessens your packing even more. Have a look at our Children’s facility page as an example of what we and Travelling Tots provide: https://www.lancombe.co.uk/facilities/children
Fail to plan, plan to fail
Is there somewhere you really want to go whilst you’re away? Are the kids desperate to go to the local theme park? It is always worth checking what is near by, and researching on the internet what discounts can be had. For example, Sealife often give a whopping 30% discount if you book online before you visit. Check out the holiday provider’s Facebook page for details of local offers. Ours is: https://www.facebook.com/LancombeCountryCottages/
We’ve all been there. Allergies, fussy eaters, or just “not welcome”. If you are Self-Catering always check what pubs or restaurants children are welcomed at nearby. If it’s not easy to see, check with the person you have booked your holiday with. Most places should cater for fussy eaters these days, and if they don’t, do you really want to go there? At Lancombe we provide a list of child and pet friendly pubs and eateries in our Welcome Packs.
Whilst you may love your accommodation and the facilities you have chosen, it doesn’t mean you or your children want to stay there all the time.
Check out the nearest beaches, children’s attractions and their distance from where you’re staying, as no one wants to spend more time in the car on holiday than necessary.We do this for you on our ‘Out & About’ section at:
Involve the children
Getting the children involved in exploring maps, history, plant or animal life, is a great way to get them excited and learning at the same time. For example, here in Dorset we have the Jurassic Coast, and what child doesn’t want to learn about Dinosaurs?!
Do any of your children have special needs?
If so, it’s always worth telling the accommodation provider in advance if you have any special requirements. Sometimes, it’s the little things you haven’t thought of, that we can help with. Make sure that details of the nearest GPs and Hospitals are provided in your Welcome Pack and if not, where you can find them.
An ID bracelet for your child with their condition and GP details can save a lot of stress.
Yes, it’s the UK, so still remember to pack protective clothing, sun cream and wet weather gear.
There’s nothing more depressing than being burnt, wet or uncomfortable all through your holiday. Also carrying non prescription antihistamine cream can save you a trip to the nearest pharmacy.
Other top tips
Tap Water- Check whether the tap water is safe to drink. A lot of rural properties have bore holes, as long as they are checked regularly by the local council and maintained by professionals, the water can be more pure than bottled water. Ours is!
Laundry – Packing two sets of clothes per child per day is always worth it if trying to avoid washing every day. But accidents happen, so make sure there are facilities to wash and dry those clothes.
It’s all about timing – Particularly if this is your first trip with children, allow for the fact that you will not be as quick as you usually are alone. When you get there, be very realistic about how much you want to do in one day.
The journey – If your car journey is a particularly long one, consider setting off in the middle of the night, or before dawn, so children can sleep through most of it. Make sure you have allowed time for regular stops and research where the most interesting places on the way to stop are as your holiday has begun!
Extras – Check whether linen, towels, electric and gas are included in your price…it is in Lancombe’s prices for the cottages, lodges and shepherd huts.
Sometimes, it’s a great idea to travel with friends or family, meaning instant play mates for the children and taking turns in child minding. Although it may seem cheaper to book a large property and it’s great for get togethers, beware that you may be spending a considerable amount of time together…with children, that you may not usually do. So it’s worth choosing somewhere with individual family cottages or lodges. At Lancombe we offer discounts for booking two or more properties, so it’s always worth checking this out.
When you get to your destination, the first thing we recommend you do, is to check windows and doors are lockable. Ensure that if there’s on site facilities, you are aware of any safety rules you need to follow. Familiarise yourself with the ‘in case of a fire’ procedure.
It’s good to talk
If there’s something that’s not quite right or not working in your accommodation, talk to the Manager or Owner as soon as possible. 9.9 out of 10 things that could really bug you over the course of a week, normally takes 5 minutes for us to remedy.
The best bit
Explore – Children love nothing more than exploring their new holiday home.
Make memories – Whilst the majority of memories are in our head, we all love to remind ourselves that they were truly wonderful. Encourage your children to write a journal of each day and what they did. They can then stick ticket stubs in it from attractions or leaflets from tours.
Remember your camera – When you’re old and you can’t remember everything, you will be grateful you took photos. Also, what else will you embarrass your child with when they grow up?!
On the last day encourage the family to talk about what they enjoyed most, and what they didn’t enjoy. Because soon… you will be planning it all again.
Happy family holidays!