THE BLOG

Ten Tips for a Happier Family Holiday

06/03/2013 21:39 GMT | Updated 06/05/2013 10:12 BST

No doubt you've met parents with infuriatingly well-behaved children who will tell you that family holidays are a piece of cake; that their little angels always sleep through flights, never whinge on long car journeys or turn their noses up at foreign food.

For most of us, however, getting family holidays right is all about making compromises. You won't please everyone all the time, but you can ensure that all ages have at least something going for them. Ten things that should definitely go into the equation are:

1. Water

Whether it's the sea, a lake or a swimming pool, most children (and plenty of adults) consider swimming an intrinsic part of every holiday.

2. Food

Don't skip the local flavours entirely, but always ensure there's something on the menu that kids know and like.

3. Friends

Opportunities for interacting with other children of their own age is particularly important for tweens and teens and organised kids' clubs are usually a big hit with children and allow parents some adult time.

4. Gear

Plan and pack with military precision to ensure you've got everything you need, especially if travelling with a baby.

5. Versatility

Research your destination, accommodation and activities carefully to make sure they meet the needs and ages of everyone in the family.

6. Challenges

Banish boredom by ensuring there are plenty of new experiences and adventures available for both you and your children.

7. Money

Don't feel you have to spend a fortune to have a memorable family holiday. Boat trips and sandcastles, surfing and rockpooling, dangling crab lines off a harbour wall... it's the simple (and inexpensive) pleasures that often make family holidays a success.

8. Attitude

Children quickly pick up on stress or anxiety, so try to stay relaxed, particularly during long journeys.

9. Expectations

Keep them realistic; remember that what you might find interesting might bore your children senseless. Don't chastise them for ignoring the architecture in Venice's Piazza San Marco in favour of feeding the pigeons.

10. Fun

What it's all about. Travelling with kids might not always be easy, but try to keep the stressful (or just downright miserable) moments in perspective. You'll laugh about them in years to come.

* Mark Hodson is Editor of 101 Holidays