I’ve travelled far and wide, including a family gap year with three children in tow. Now many of you are on the brink of a post-covid family adventure, so exciting….but is it?

At Outside the Box we thought you might like some expert guidance on how organising your family travel plans can make that dream a reality while also saving you headaches, stress and perhaps costly mistakes. 

Of course, if you want more personalised help with organising for family travel, we are here to add hands on help too. Ask us about our Preparing for Travel package.

Sure, travelling before kids is different. As a family, you need more stuff. So, organising for family travel takes on a more important role. You need to be more flexible and inclusive and find a balance between rest and play…

Yet if you slow down and get organised, you will soon be on that dream trip together…

Remember: joy is portable – bring it with you.

slow down organising for family travel

Be Open

“Being open to others is as much a philosophy for life as travelling.”

Be realistic and visualise what you want to achieve through this family adventure. Include every family member in this vision. Listen to and know yourselves. You might be surprised by what you hear, and add these to the itinerary. The older your kids are, the more involved they can become in the details of your trip.

Be open to differences. Travel gives the ideal opportunity to try new things and have new experiences together.

Research your destination. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    • what is the weather usually like? Being prepared can be your saviour from a bad holiday experience.
    • learn a few words of the language when travelling overseas. You’ll find the locals appreciate you trying even if you don’t get it quite right.
    • book a few family activities in advance – an excellent idea is to organise a surprise activity you know everyone will like.

Safety First

Check if you need any travel vaccinations. Sometimes this needs to be done months ahead.
An essential is to pack a basic first-aid kit.
Research any visa requirements, proof of vaccination, plus check government travel alerts. Smartraveller has essential information for Australians travelling overseas.

Check your passport expiry dates. This seems obvious but so easy to forget to do ahead of time.
Consider booking your air tickets ASAP. This might mean a better deal and options for travel dates.

Put a realistic budget in place.
Set up multiple ways to access your travel funds.
Have a backup plan in case your credit card is rejected or lost.

Sometimes when we’re focused on leaving, we forget to make sure everything at home is in order.
Do you need a pet sitter? Are bills due when you’re away? Does someone have access to your home if required? Make sure you have travel insurance in case things take a twist.

Get Savvy with your Digital Resources

At Outside the Box, we know digital organising is needed as much as physical organising. Of course, the massive bonus with digital storage is it can take up very little space when travelling. Use thumb drives or larger portable hard drives if you have a keen photographer on the trip. And, if you go cloud-based, it can be accessed from any device.

 

Preparing for family travel using apps such as Tripit helps you keep everything at your fingertips. You can keep your copies of passports, itinerary, check-in details, booking numbers, etc. You can also jot down ideas or options for your travel dates. The extra bonus is sharing all of this with fellow travellers or even with those at home.

Organising for family travel apps and digital

Don’t forget to use what is on your phone already. Use Google to help translate road signs, images, or even speech; navigate unfamiliar streets or find the nearest café. One of the best things we can do is stay in touch with friends via social media or share far and wide, allowing others to enjoy our travels.

Charge and load all your devices. Test everything before you go.
Add some new books on the kindle? Headphones with splitters for shared iPad movies? Syncing? Have you researched mobile access and data at your destination?

Once you have the software down, then do a check of all hardware. Do you have the correct power adaptor? Will you need a USB power board? Power bank?

Less is More

Pack as light as you can manage. Weigh each piece of luggage. Try to take cabin bags only (for some budget airlines, that means 5-7kg per passenger). Everyone should carry a bag suitable for their age. Remember you can get most things whilst on holiday if you really need something.

Use soft packing cells to easily contain categories of items and a different colour for each family member. When it comes to clothing, think of light layers with mostly neutrals that go together with anything.

On the Big Day

Here’s a last-minute checklist to help the big day go smoothly:

    • Most importantly, plan for lots of extra time.
    • Grab your important documents
    • Re-check and count your luggage.
    • Check you’ve packed all liquid items in sealable/clear bags
    • Wear slip off shoes in case you need to remove them.
    • Pack all electronics so they can easily be removed from each bag.
    • Have a charging cable on hand to use whilst you wait to board.
    • Wear your heaviest shoes and bulky clothing on the plane to save baggage weight.

If your kids are young, make sure you have:

    • Healthy snacks
    • Small activities/toys
    • A change of clothes
    • An empty water bottle that you can fill up once you are through those gates.

Finally, here is my organising for family ritual on the day:
Get there early enough to maybe get a better seat on check-in, get a snack at the café, make sure all the kids have been to the toilet, say any goodbyes and de-stress in the departure hall.

Bon Voyage, have the most wonderful time these holidays resting, adventuring and coming home safely.

“Oh, the places you’ll go” – Dr Seuss