We all love to travel and for some reason when you have a family everyone assumes it’s not possible. Our aim is to show you those travelling dreams of yours can soon become your reality. Ensuring you travel better, cheaper and for longer.
Introducing Cathy from mummytravels.com, winner of the Brilliance in Blogging award 2016 for best family travel blogger.
I’m an award-winning travel-obsessed writer who’s visited 60 countries and is never knowingly underpacked. I’m also mum to the mini traveller – aka four-year-old Minnie* – and trying to work out how to cling on to normal globetrotting life by my fingernails. The blog was set up when I was pregnant to answer the question of whether you can keep travelling with a child in tow, after everyone told me I’d have to stop once I had a baby. Aged four, she’s taken more than 15 overseas trips and countless in the UK.
*not her relationship name
MummyTravels.com Family Travel Tips
1. Best family travel / advice tip you could give
Always plan ahead – and then be ready to abandon the plan. Knowing I had food and entertainment, or had planned somewhere for lunch or to help her nap, and an endless supply of wet wipes always made me feel a bit more relaxed about travelling with my daughter when she was little. I soon learned she wouldn’t necessarily nap, eat or anything else when she was ‘supposed’ to but at least there was a back-up in place!
[Tweet “Always plan ahead – and then be ready to abandon the plan. #travel”]
2. What is the most important reason travel as a family?
To show my daughter the world. There’s no greater pleasure or greater education. She’s had far more experiences this way and soaks up everything new like a sponge. I love rediscovering it through her eyes too.
[Tweet “There’s no greater pleasure or greater education showing my daughter the world.”]
3. Any tips to save money travelling as a family?
I’ve found some of the practical changes end up saving money – we stay in AirBNB or self-catering villas a lot more for the space and flexibility so that’s often less than a hotel. I’m also more likely to go out for lunch than dinner and hitting the bars!
[Tweet “we stay in AirBNB or self-catering villas a lot more for the space and flexibility.”]
4. How to you begin to plan for a family holiday?
For now, it’s usually looking at a holiday which tempts me or the opportunities I get – then I work out how family friendly it is. Although I’ve found that with enough determination and planning, pretty much everywhere is family friendly – there are kids worldwide after all. Now she’s a bit older, I like to talk to her about what we might do in advance or look at photos too, as well as finding it on the map. And I have a huge packing list so I don’t forget anything vital!
[Tweet “with enough determination and planning, pretty much everywhere is family friendly #travel”]
5. Tips on keeping the whole family entertained during travel? i.e. airplane / car journeys
When they’re little, it’s all about quantity. 10 things that will entertain for five minutes and then start again: books, stickers, apps, their favourite tv/films, colouring (water magic pads are brilliant). Anything interactive is ideal so lift-the-flap books for example and puzzles/activity books now she’s older. I usually pack a magazine or two as well. For the first few years, don’t expect to relax with a film yourself – then if you do, you’re winning.
[Tweet “When they’re little, it’s all about quantity to keep the family entertained. #travel”]
6. How many family holidays do you manage to fit into a year?
As many as I can! She’s as happy with mini breaks as big getaways so we often do more shorter trips although hopefully a couple of bigger breaks as well. For the past couple of years we’ve done the #take12trips challenge to arrange one trip or day out a month and usually manage closer to three.
[Tweet “#take12trips challenge – arrange one trip or day out a month. #travel”]
7. How do you manage to afford to travel as a family? Any tips?
There’s no way I could afford to travel this much if it wasn’t part of my job. But it has also been great making the most of travelling out of peak season before my daughter starts school. I often travel solo with her which means we can squeeze in to one room (if we’re not doing AirBNB). Most of my available spare cash goes on travel though – I’d rather blow it on holidays than endless new clothes and nights out (although they’re in shorter supply without a babysitter anyway). I’m ruthless about selling things on on eBay for the same reason.
[Tweet “Make the most of travelling out of peak season #travel”]
8. Any destinations or countries you’d recommend to travel to as a family?
I’ve just come back from Burma earlier this year which was amazing – incredibly child-friendly although I’m glad I waited until she was almost four thanks to the malaria tablets. She loves the beach too: anything from rock pooling and sandcastles in southwest England to the Canary Islands, Caribbean and Florida’s gulf coast. But Copenhagen was also great with a toddler.
[Tweet “Anything from rock pooling & sandcastles in England to the Canary Islands #travel”]
9. What destinations have you found to be the most affordable and enjoyable?
The Canary Islands again – there’s a lot more to discover than the reputation suggests and they’re not too pricy if you stay in a villa. The same goes for Portugal. I’ve also appreciated the advantages of all-inclusive for the first time: we stayed in great ones in Antigua and St Lucia, both part of the Elite Island Resorts group, and there are so many things to do plus no worries about counting the cost of every ice cream and drink. There’s something to be said about knowing the cost upfront and travelling just outside high season was less than you might expect.
[Tweet “Appreciate all-inclusive. No need to count the cost of every ice cream #travel”]
10. What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve had to make by travelling as a family
To start with it was the spontaneity, being able to just head off on a whim without worrying too much about cots and high chairs. It’s still tricky to wander aimlessly with my daughter, something I’ve always loved doing to discover the destination. And as I often travel solo with her, I’ve missed a lot of the more adrenaline fuelled thrills which are one thing that really isn’t compatible with a preschooler. But I’ve had such wonderful experiences and found you really can still be adventurous with a bit of planning so I don’t think we’ve missed out. She’s also taught me to slow down and enjoy the moment a bit more.
[Tweet “You really can still be adventurous with a bit of planning. #travel”]
If you enjoyed Cathy’s 10 Family Travel Tips, head over to her travel blog at mummytravels.com where you can discover more about her family travel adventures.