Everything seemed so much simpler before kids! Remember the days when you could just take off spontaneously without a care in the world and come back tomorrow or next week? Now, a trip to the village shop needs military- style precision planning.
OK, so both of those are slight exaggerations, but there is no denying that there is far more to think about when there is a little one involved, and so the thought of planning a family holiday is enough to send anyone into a cold sweat. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind:
Do your homework
This is the age of choice. Get online and spend time just looking at reviews, not only of hotels themselves, but of airlines, resorts and even the travel agents themselves, such as these Thomas Cook reviews. Candid customer feedback will tell you more than 100 glitzy professional photos on a website ever will. When you know which agents you want to use and which once to avoid, you can start narrowing down your choice.
Stick to your budget
Many families end up going over budget on the hotel and then spend the holiday either in a state of constant worry or simply without enough spare funds to spend on fun activities, meals out and so on. That scenario is no fun for anyone – you set that budget for a reason, so stick to it and everyone will have an enjoyable and relaxed time.
This is a family holiday, right? So that means get the whole family involved in choosing and booking the hotel. Ask everyone to contribute at least one factor that they think is important in a hotel – and everyone includes your spouse or partner, nobody gets to duck out! This will help you draw up a priority list for the next tip.
Depending on where you are going and what you are doing, different hotel features might be more or less important. For example, if the hotel will just be a base from which you will explore a vibrant local area, then features like pools and restaurants are of less importance than they are if you plan to spend most of the holiday in the hotel itself.
If you see a hotel that seems to tick all the boxes, try searching for it on a number of different sites. You’ll be amazed at the range of prices that pop up for exactly the same room on the same dates. You can save yourself a fortune.
Expensive doesn’t always mean best
From the above, you will have worked out that hotel pricing is a complex beast, and can fluctuate wildly on the basis of a huge number of factors. So this is not a case where the “you get what you pay for” argument comes into play. Don’t assume something is wrong with a hotel deal just because it is coming in at a great price.