Planning your holiday

Planning a family holiday often feels like preparing for a complex military operation. There's the packing, the bookings, and the never-ending checklist—not to mention the worry about forgetting something crucial! It's enough to make anyone second-guess their holiday plans. But fear not, because this blog is here to help.

We've put together a list of tried and tested steps to crafting the perfect stress-free family holiday. From booking airport parking in advance to choosing the right family-friendly holiday destinations, we’ve got you covered.

So, take a deep breath, and let's make your next family getaway one for the books, with less stress and more fun.

Is a “Stress-Free Family Holiday” Really Possible?

The truth is, no holiday with the family is ever going to be completely without its hiccups. Whether it's a missed flight, a lost teddy bear, or an unexpected bout of bad weather, travel is unpredictable. But here's the good news: yes, you can make your family holiday significantly less stressful.

The secret lies in preparation and perspective. By tackling the big tasks early, like sorting out your airport parking and securing family-friendly accommodation, you're already setting yourself up for a smoother journey. Planning activities that cater to everyone's interests can also keep the peace. And let's not forget the small stuff, like packing snacks and games to keep the kids entertained during travel.

It's also about adjusting your mindset. Accept that not everything will go according to plan and see these moments as opportunities for spontaneous adventures or cosy downtime. Sometimes, the best memories are made when things don't go as expected.

Top Tips for a Stress-Free Family Getaway

Ready to make your next holiday more about the fun and less about the fret? Here are some of our top tips for a more relaxing family holiday:

1. Plan Early

Getting your holiday plans sorted early can really take the pressure off. It lets you get the best deals on flights and accommodations, so you don’t miss out on family-friendly options. Early planning also means more time to sort out the nitty-gritty details, like travel insurance and necessary documents. No last-minute scrambles, and there’s less risk of forgetting something important.

2. Book Airport Parking in Advance

Most people don’t think of airport parking when planning family holidays. But sorting out your parking spot before your trip means one less thing to worry about on the day of your trip, which can significantly ease the holiday rush.

At Melbourne Airport, we have parking options for every family’s needs and budget. From the wallet-friendly Value Car Parks to the more convenient Valet Parking service, there's something for everyone. Plus, you can book and compare parking rates online, which makes planning your family holiday a breeze.

Simply go to our parking page, click on the “Book Parking Online” button and follow the prompts. Once your booking is confirmed, you will receive an email with a QR code you can use to enter and exit the car parks. It’s that easy, and you can do it wherever.

3. Involve the Whole Family

Involving everyone in the family in holiday planning can make things a lot smoother. When the kids get to pick an activity or two, and everyone has a say in where they go, it feels more like a team effort. This way, there's something for everyone to look forward to. Plus, when the whole family's on board with the plan, you're less likely to hear grumbling and more likely to enjoy a getaway that's fun and fuss-free for everyone.

4. Set a Budget

Knowing what you can spend helps you pick the right destinations, accommodations, and activities without overstretching your finances. It means you can look out for the best holiday deals, maybe even find a family resort with a kids club or score a great holiday package to places like Queensland or Bali. A clear budget keeps the focus on family fun, not funds.

5. Choose the Right Destination

The “right” destination is the one that ticks all the boxes. That means it should match your family’s interests and budget.

If you’re keen to explore local gems, there are lots of national parks in Queensland and New South Wales with activities for the whole family. Worried about your kids being glued to their screens? A road trip to the great Australian Outback might help them reconnect with nature. Or if your family is into big thrills, the Gold Coast's theme parks and waterparks are a hit.

Love the water? Go snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef or try kayaking on the Sunshine Coast. For chill beach vibes, the island resorts of Fiji and the Cook Islands never disappoint. If you want to go further afield, you can also fly out to Singapore or to more budget-friendly destinations in Asia and Europe. With seven continents and 195 countries, you’ll never run out of destinations where everyone will have a blast.

6. Book Family-Friendly Accommodation

Family-friendly accommodations cater specifically to the needs of the whole family, offering inclusions like kids’ clubs and swimming pools. The family resorts in Hamilton Island or Noosa, for instance, feature beachfront access and activities for all ages. This means the kids are entertained while the adults kick back at beach clubs. Many of these places also offer kids stay-free holiday deals, making it easier on your wallet, too.

7. Plan Activities for All Ages

When everyone's got something cool to look forward to, things just run smoother. So, make sure that your itinerary has just the right mix of activities to keep everyone engaged.

Say, you’re visiting Cairns. The kids can see the koalas while the adults can go on a wine-tasting tour. Or, if your family is more into urban landscapes, visit places like Sydney or Brisbane for a mix of city vibes and outdoor fun. This way, everyone will have their slice of holiday happiness.

8. Pack Smart

Packing for a family vacation is about hitting that sweet spot where you've got just what you need without lugging around the entire house. Start with the essentials: swimwear for the beach, comfy shoes for those theme park marathons, and layers for unpredictable weather. Toss in a first-aid kit for unexpected scrapes and sunscreen to shield from the sun's glare. And don't forget snacks for quick energy boosts during long outings.

9. Secure All Necessary Documents

We can’t emphasise how important this step is, especially if you’re going out of Australia. Getting your documents in order before your trip is crucial if you don’t want to be the person panicking at the airport.

So, what do you need?

Passports, obviously, and make sure they're not about to expire. Visas, if your destination needs them. Travel insurance docs – because it's always better to be safe than sorry. Don't forget any medical papers if you've got conditions or vaccinations to show. And yes, print them, even in this digital age. Having hard copies can save the day if your phone decides to take a holiday, too.

10. Opt for Direct Flights

Going straight to your destination means less hassle and more relaxation time. You skip the extra stress of changing planes and the boredom of long layovers. It’s straight from home to holiday mode, which is a win, especially with kids in tow.

For the best deals on direct flights, a bit of planning goes a long way. Book early or stay flexible with your dates to catch discounts. Watching out for airline specials or using fare alert sites may also help you score a great bargain.

11. Schedule School Holiday Travel

Catching up on homework can be a bummer when you just came back from vacation. Also, you don’t want your kids to miss school. That’s why it makes much more sense to schedule vacations during school holidays. Everyone’s on a break, so it’s the perfect time to head off together without worrying about the school schedule. Plus, planning around school holidays lets you make the most of those long summer breaks or the festive season for a special family getaway.

Effortless Holidays, Happy Families

To sum it up, nailing a stress-free family holiday is more about the little wins – direct flights, school holiday timing, and spots where kids can be kids (and adults can take a breather). It's about packing light but right, having those must-have docs at the ready and picking places that cater specifically to families. Get these things in line, and you’re set for a holiday that’s enjoyable for the entire family. Here's to smooth sailing (or flying) into your next family adventure!