Parenting

How To: Survive Your Family Holidays

A foolproof guide to ensuring your family getaway doesn't turn in to a family feud.
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You’ve finally made it, the end of the year is in sight and what better way to celebrate then packing the family up for some quality time away.

While it sounds great in theory – sunsets on the beach, splashing around with the kids, the intoxicating allure of the wide, open road – the reality is often pretty different. Crippling sunstroke, adjudicating arguments and mosquitoes the size of your head.  

But this year, rather than allow your holidays to become a living nightmare where Sauvignon Blanc is the only saviour, we’ve got you covered with a few helpful tips for all types of getaways.

Holiday: Camping

Spending time camping in the great outdoors remains one of the most popular family holidays, presumably because it’s cheap and you bail the moment you get over it. There are a million things you’ll need to remember to take – booze, books, torches – but there’s one thing you absolutely can’t forget…

Hack: Take an air mattress.

Have you ever had a good night’s rest in a sleeping bag? Of course, you haven’t. If there’s any chance of you having fun while camping, an air mattress is a must. The kids will be fine, their young bones can survive the unforgiving terrain, but once you’re over a certain age, everything is a potential injury. Pump that bad boy up, zip the mosquito net closed and let the latest Liane Moriarty fool you into being somewhere else.

 

family holiday

Holiday: Road Trip

For so many families the holiday break offers an opportunity to go and see far-away relatives you can’t stand – how relaxing. The worst part is, flights are too expensive, so you’re packing all 55 children into the back of the Corolla. Buckle up kids, only 16 hours till we reach your cousins place in Cootamundra!  

Hack: Pack Snacks.

When you’re travelling a long distance in the car, the obligatory McDonalds lunch stop ain’t gonna cut it. Road trips are boring and boredom leads to hunger, which leads to hanger, which leads to arguments. Avoid this headache by stuffing the car full of snacks – fruit roll-ups, Red Rock Deli chips, put an entire BBQ chook in the back. Pretend you’re preparing for the apocalypse and load up.

family at the beach

Holiday: Staying with another family

Inevitably there comes a time when you’ll have to go away with another family. Either they’ve got a really good holiday house you want to take advantage of, or your kids are friends and have orchestrated the entire thing without your knowledge. Before you know it, you’re sitting down the coast with a person you barely know, calculating how many meals you have to suffer through.

Hack: Organise separate activities

If you’re hoping to survive a trip away with a fellow family then you’re going to need to lay out some early ground rules. Make it clear your family will need solo time – organise an early beach day or buy tickets to a film but don’t extend the invite. Added bonus – nothing will bond your family quicker than complaining about how weird the other family is.

kids at the beach

Holiday: A week at a resort

Some lucky families will undoubtedly be dusting off their passports and heading overseas – Bula Fiji! – to live that resort life for a week or so. But before you start swimming in a breakfast cocktail, you’ve still got to keep an eye on those pesky offspring you produced. Or do you? 

Hack: Abuse the Kids Club

The best thing about staying at a resort  – besides having club sandwiches twice a day, every day – is the kids club. There is absolutely no shame in using the kids club as a professional babysitter for the duration of your trip. Drop them off when the sun rises and pick them up the day you fly home. Plus, let’s be honest, the kids will be crying out for time away from their parents, so everybody wins!

little girl swimming

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