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The first family vacation you take can be a real milestone.

That is, you’re now bringing your child along with you for the first time, learning what it takes to travel with an infant, a toddler or a small child, managing the trip around their needs, and also finding the right services for accessibility purposes.

Family holidays are different to the holidays you may have as a double-income no-kids couple, as now you have to manage your energies throughout the day, staying up late is less suitable, and of course, managing in transit moods and tantrums! 

Prior planning is essential to perfecting your first family vacation, and being prepared will go a long way until you confidently have enough experience. 

How To Perfect Your First Family Vacation

Find Family Appropriate Accommodation

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It’s good to find accommodation suitable for families, because while a resort, hotel or bed and breakfast might suggest they’re favorable, they may not have the amenities or general clientele appropriate for your needs.

In many cases, it’s nice to have your own space to relax and unwind, taking up space as a family instead of feeling constricted or limited by that.

For instance, Muskoka Cottage Rentals are highly comfortable and while also offering you your own space to relax in.

Cottage rentals can be a good way to set up your first family as a vacation, as worrying about your child making noise, or having to listen to other hotel guests may prove an annoying obstacle.

Consider Commute Times & Segment Your Approach

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Without children to think about, you may have thought nothing about hopping on a flight, driving for hours and hours each day, and really maximizing your travel time.

However, children have needs, and they can become quite irritable in uncomfortable surroundings.

For this reason, it’s good to make sure you split up your long road trip into segments, so you all have the chance to rest up and sleep well overnight before continuing on.

The same goes if you have a long flight booked – splitting this into a couple of flights might be more convenient for you.

Moreover, you might invest in those home comforts to bring with you, from blankets to baby-approved song playlists to in-car screens that play your child’s favorite movie to keep them comforted during your long commute.

You’re certainly due for an upset at one point or another, but here you’ll be able to handle that and restore your energies after the fact too.

Make A Flexible Itinerary

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It’s important to make an itinerary where you can, so you can stick to seeing one thing you wish to see each day, a small effort that will entertain your little one, and of course, ensuring all of this is accessible and appropriate for children.

So for instance, if it’s just you and your child, you might skip heading to the local theme park because otherwise you’d have to take the rides one at a time.

However, you could visit some wonderful landmarks nearby, go shopping, enjoy a peaceful time at the beach, and eat well in beautiful restaurants.

That said, we’d recommend keeping your itinerary as flexible as possible. Make sure you allow your child to have their afternoon nap at the same time, and retire early as well as wake up early.

Outside of that, you might have to come back to your accommodation quickly if they’re not feeling well, or book your evening meal reservations slightly earlier than most to miss the crowds, or attend children’s shows in the morning.

This way, you have time for everything you wish to experience, while also giving yourself some time to recollect, too.

List A Few Goals You Wish To Achieve

France Paris Eiffel Tower Child RF

It’s nice to just take your holiday at your own pace. Don’t feel obligated to go anywhere or do anything.

However, it can be nice to curate a couple of goals ahead of time.

Perhaps you’re looking forward to seeing a family-friendly outdoor performance of Shakespeare in the countryside, with many people attending. Perhaps you’re going to the family-friendly folk festival to listen to some inoffensive music and meet new people.

It can be nice to set upon those basic priorities and have fun doing so, as opposed to feeling utterly compelled to get from A to B and back to A again as you might otherwise.

As a parent, you have stress enough to manage already.

Prepare With All Child Equipment

Child plane RF

It’s important to make sure your child has everything they need and by extension everything you need to look after your little one.

For instance, portable bottle sanitizers can ensure you remain hygienic on the road. A travel cot can be ideal, because not all accommodations have them. 

The same goes for clothing, baby-approved neutral PH suncream, protections for their pushchair in case it rains, any medicines needed, and whatever else is necessary for your situation.

Having this to hand, and backups if needed, can go a long way to soothing your worries.

Don’t worry, because you can also buy a good amount of these items while at your destination, unless you’re heading to a very remote place. In other words – there’s no need to bring two crates of diapers (or nappies) for now, a little more than enough will do.

With this advice, you’re sure to perfect your first family holiday in the best possible way. Not only will you have fun, but you’ll feel so much more prepared for the second adventure.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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