Holidays are arguably the highlight of anyone’s year, and taking the kids away with you is an experience that’ll stay with you (and them!) for years to come. And while travelling with kids is never easy, it’s always worth it. There are loads of blogs out there about ways to make travel easier (we’ve even done one ourselves that concentrates on iPads) but what about making sure that everything is as amazing as it can possibly be once you’ve arrived at your destination?

We decided we’d put our heads together and come up with a few things that’ll ensure you and the kids have the best family holiday ever – and don’t forget to check out our fantastic and kid-friendly holiday villas for somewhere amazing to stay!

1. Limit your travel time

And by that, we mean choose a destination that’s nice and easy to get to. There’s plenty of great places in Europe that make great destinations for a holiday with the kids, and the less time you spend on planes getting to where you’re going, the more likely it is everyone will be in a good mood when you arrive.

2. Prep the kids beforehand

Wherever you’re heading, it’s a good idea to give the kids an idea of what to expect. With the aid of a couple of books and some websites, it’s easy to give kids of any age an introduction to the culture, sights and cuisine of your destination. Not only will they bit a bit more prepared for new things (see below!) they’ll be a lot more invested in learning while they’re away.

3. Make sure they try new things!

This might not be feasible if your nippers are a bit picky when it comes to their food, but you can instil a lifelong love of travel in them if they can be persuaded to broaden their horizons and try a few of the local dishes. And it doesn’t just extend to food – why not bring along some new art materials or a new book for them to enjoy too?

Chateau Ariege - Midi Pyrenees - Olivers Travels

Chateau Ariege – Midi Pyrenees – Olivers Travels

4. Don’t limit yourself to one family…

If there’s one thing that’ll help things go more smoothly, it’s having some extra pairs of hands around to help you deal with over-excited (or worse, over-tired) kids. Don’t just head off on your own – if you’ve got friends whose kids are a similar age to your own you can share costs as well as taking turns to look after the little ones, and the kids will love having a new friend along for the ride. You could even invite the grandparents!

5. Plan some surprises

There’s nothing kids love more than surprises, so make sure you’ve got a couple up your sleeve before you head off on holiday. What form they take is up to you (and will have a lot to do with what the kids enjoy) but there’s nothing quite like seeing the look on their faces when you let them know about the upcoming trip to an awesome water park that you’d previously “forgotten” to mention.

6. And sometimes, let the kids take the lead

If they’re old enough, chances are your kids will know exactly what they like (and especially what they don’t). Giving them a bit of leeway will make them feel much more grown up, and so long as they don’t start asking after something totally ridiculous there’s nothing wrong with letting the kids make a few decisions, which could range from what to do on any given day to which restaurant they fancy eating in.

Chateau De Baloigne - Rhone Alpes - Oliver's Travels

Chateau De Baloigne – Rhone Alpes – Oliver’s Travels

7. Arrange to do something out of the ordinary

There’s one easy way you can make sure everyone has fond memories of the holiday, and that’s to do something totally memorable! Wherever you’re travelling, there’s bound to be lots of opportunities for some exciting activities. You could choose pony trekking, kayaking or a hot air balloon ride – the whole family is bound to love doing something out of the ordinary.

8. Pick the right accommodation…

Where you’re staying can have a massive effect on your holiday, so make sure you’ve picked the right place. When you’re travelling with the kids (and especially if you’re thinking of going away with friends) a villa makes the perfect choice. You’ve got shared spaces, a kitchen to whip up food whenever you like and you can let the kids do as they please. It knocks the spots off a hotel, and is usually cheaper too!

Villa Palombaggia – Corsica – Oliver’s Travels

9. …And make sure it’s got a pool!

Because let’s face it – everybody loves a bit of time in the pool, and it’s a great way to keep the kids happy and entertained (and not a bad way to keep yourself trim after a bit of holiday excess, come to that…)

10. And lastly, don’t forget the babysitter!

Because you’re on holiday and you deserve a bit of quality time with your significant other! If you’re travelling with friends you might even be able to convince them to look after the kids for the night (so long as you return the favour!) but if not, hire yourself a babysitter and head out on the town. Our concierge team is here to arrange exactly this kind of thing (and a whole load more), so get in touch and see what they can do!

Family Holidays - Oliver's Travels

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