Going on holiday is meant to be relaxing & fun but it can be so stressful, especially if the organising & packing is left up to us mums (sorry dads no offence but it happens, a lot). We’ve been on small holidays just the four of us & we’ve been on big family holidays with about 15 of us staying in a holiday let together. So these top tips to ensure a stress free holiday have definitely come in handy!
1. PLAN YOUR JOURNEY & ANY REST STOPSWhen we travelled from Manchester to Cornwall, which a long drives for any kids but is especially stressful for our boy Archie due to his Autism. We made sure we headed off first thing in the morning before we get settled into any day time routine, plus this also means that Archie will be having his nap during the drive too which will help.
If we are going abroad then we always think about travelling to the airport, will we be booking a taxi in advance or arranging a lift with family or friends. Are we pre booking transport with the holiday or arranging a taxi to our accommodation once we arrive.
2. THINK ABOUT PACKING AT LEAST THE WEEK BEFORE
I find the most stressful part is when people can’t find the clothes they want to pack, or something needs washing last minute.
I start a list a couple of weeks before to make sure everything is getting organised and people know what they need to have ready. If we were going somewhere like villas in Menorca, we’d need very different clothing than if we were going to a Haven Holidays site somewhere in the UK so being organised about the packing is key.
3. PACK TOYS, BOOKS ETC FOR THE JOURNEY
Even the Teenager will get bored on the journey so we’ll be ready with books & toys, the iPad will be loaded with films. I’ll be making Archie a little travelling kit with crayons, stickers, colouring books etc. So hopefully the kids will be kept occupied & us parents will be less stressed.
4. ARRANGE THE FOOD SHOP
When the whole family went away for a UK, we made sure we’d all written a list of essentials that we’d like, including the beer & wine, so once we get there we don’t have to do a ‘big shop’ we could just do an online shop instead that covered all 15 of us. Leading up to the holiday we all been putting money into a kitty to pay for the shopping & any left over will go towards a takeaway for us all one night.
If it’s just us & the kids we’re not quite as organised as there’s only four of us so we can take it a little easier. We pack the essentials such as tea & coffee, sauce & butter, then do a shop when we arrive as we like to have meals out too. The same with our holidays abroad, if we’re self catering then we’ll do a small shop however for the most part we go all inclusive so we don’t need to stress about the food.
5. DON’T STRESS OVER MEALS
Again, going back to the big family holiday, as there’s so many of us there’s no way we can try to have meals together, you just can’t physically cook for that many people in one go. Instead of stressing over meals we’ve decided to have a couple of BBQ’s, then we can do our own thing for other meals. Some may want to eat out, some may want to cook in the house.
6. PLAN LOCAL ACTIVITIES OR DAYS OUT
With Archie’s Autism I want to make sure we have different options on our holidays in case he gets overwhelmed with the amount of people around, or the noise, any thing can lead to sensory overload so we need to be prepared. That also means having places to escape to if needed. I’ll always have a look online at places we could visit, choosing a number of options. Then when we arrive, we can just pick and choose what we fancy based on hings like the weather each day.
7. SCHEDULE SOME ALONE TIME
If you are going away as a large group you want to make sure you have time for yourselves and your immediate family. as much as we love our extended family, seven days & seven nights can be too much for us all. I’m sure we’ll want time to ourselves as much as they want a bit of time alone too.
8. ESTABLISH A ROUTINE
When it’s just the four of us we easily fall into our usual routine as we would at home as Archie is so routine led, he really struggles with changes so holidays can be chaos. If we don’t maintain his bedtime routine then no one will be getting any sleep. When we’re away with family we make sure that everyone is aware of our routine and the reasons why we’ll be sticking to it, this will make it easier on everyone.
Even children without autism tend to love a consistent routine so whilst there’s always flexibility to the normal routine such as staying up later for example, maintaining some aspects so the children know where they stand can really help reduce the stress levels all round.
9. BE REALISTIC
When you’re going away with a large group things are not exactly going to go to plan. The kids could get over tired, the adults could have hangovers, we could all get each other’s nerves in fact we probably will. Some of the couples coming don’t have children or may want to go away without the kids so we all have to be realistic about what we expect from the week
10. ENJOY IT & RELAX
We’re all in need of a holiday so the main thing is to just relax as best we can and enjoy the week away
What would be your advice or tips?