As winter holds us firmly in its grip, it’s an ideal time to look forward to summer holidays. For most of us, holidays are one of the few times in the year where we truly unwind and spend precious quality time with our families, away from the usual stresses of daily life.
But, especially if you are travelling with young children, some forward planning is needed as you hunt for the perfect destination and the best place catering for your needs. But with so many countries, resorts and accommodation styles available, the choice can seem overwhelming,
Here are a few considerations to help you decide:
- Long or short haul? This will depend on how old your children are, and whether they can tolerate lengthy flights. Some airlines provide baby cots, and have on-board entertainment for kids. With many long haul flights taking place overnight your child may sleep for much of the journey. But shorter trips easier may be easier to manage for younger children. Another factor to consider is the time difference when you land.
- Can you break up the travel? Consider breaking up longer flights with an overnight stopover and enjoy seeing a bit more of the world en route.
- Local weather Always check, for example, that you are not travelling in rainy or monsoon season – or in conditionslikely to be too blisteringly hot for your toddler to tolerate.
- Transport when you get there Will you be able to hire a car easily or take cabs cheaply – or is public transport a doddle? How independent will you realistically be with the kids in tow and everything you need to carry around for them?
- Transfer times How long will it take to travel between your arrival airport and your accommodation? After a lengthy plane journey, the little ones may not appreciate a three-hour drive to wherever you’re staying.
- Child-friendly hotels Over the years, hotels have got much more child-friendly than they may once have been. But, from babysitting to crèches, children’s pools and kids’ clubs, it’s worth checking out exactly what facilities a place has. Some hotels have areas like family rooms where kids can make as much noise as they like, for example.
- Room only, half board or all-inclusive? Weigh up the benefits of exploring local cuisine with room only options or all-inclusive accommodation. The latter takes the strain out of deciding where to eat each day. Equally, it eliminates any hidden costs, and makes budgeting easy, while many places have kids’ menus. Alternatively, for many families, staying on a half board basis is a good compromise – or, if you’re happy cleaning up and cooking, consider self-catering.
Finally, of course, you’ll need to look at your budget, but clearly the more comfort you’re able to travel in, the more you’re likely to be able to relax and enjoy your time together.
If you choose a destination like Lanzarote, for example, you can look forward to year-round sunshine, stunning lunar landscapes and a compact island that’s easily explored by hire car and just a short hop from the UK.
Thanks to strict building regulations, almost all hotels are low rise, and even bigger resorts are tastefully done. Away from the main centres of Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca, Lanzarote holidays can be surprisingly untouristy, especially in the north, where you ‘ll find unspoilt fishing villages and lovely restaurants.
Enjoy beautiful beaches, including gorgeous hidden coves where calm waters lap white sands. With spring kicking in so much earlier in Spain’s Canary Islands, what are you waiting for?