10 Misconceptions Of Family Holidays – And Our Clever Hacks

Planning the family getaway doesn't need to be a pain!

By Steve Thio        22 March 2022

More and more countries are opening their borders and doing away with quarantine requirements, and many Singaporeans are excitedly beginning to plan their next trip with the family. Here are some tips to help you alleviate the stress of planning a family vacation!

Family holidays are expensive

Not necessarily! People have the notion that family holidays are costly because you have to pay for more people, but that really depends on your choices. One budget-friendly tip is to book your holidays early to take advantage of better prices – you already know the school schedule in advance.

And why not visit destinations that are in ‘low’ season? These places would be friendlier for the pocket compared to more popular seasonal destinations. There are some countries that are ‘low’ season during the traditional ‘high’ season period – for example, Bhutan is ‘low’ season during summer as most tourists prefer to visit the country during fall and spring. Low season prices will generally be lower across the board – from accommodations to meals, flight tickets and even fees to tourist sites.

To get the best deals, always do your research: check online for the best deals and search for sites that offer valuable advice and tips for a budget friendly family holiday. Online forums and Facebook groups are also great for getting more info and advice from other families.

Flights with family are exhausting

The solution? Pick a destination that doesn’t require hours of flight time, or a long journey to get to your hotel or resort. Long flight times mean cranky, moody kids. Stick to short flights (3-4 hours at most) or flights with stopovers to let the kids stretch their legs a bit.

Tip: make sure to always check-in online; this will make the process at the airport much easier.

Family trips are hectic…

…only if you plan and schedule them that way!

If you’re packing too many activities and events in your itinerary, you will probably be stressed out trying to keep to the plan. A good rule of thumb is to have generous time slots for each activity and session – especially when you have kids in tow.

Holidays are a great opportunity to slow down your clock and learn to enjoy and experience at a slower pace – you may just reap better rewards!

It’s tough to keep the kids entertained

A major bugbear for parents holidaying with young kids is how to keep them occupied and entertained, especially when there’s a lot of travelling time involved. Besides sing-a-long sessions and games where everyone can join in, check out these fun and educational kid-friendly travel apps: www.happyplacehunters.com/17-kid-friendly-travel-apps

If your kids love reading, sign up for a Storytel account and get access to over 250,000 audiobooks and ebooks, which you can download on your device before your flight.

SAFRA members enjoy 30 days’ free trial on Storytel for new subscribers. Find out more at www.safra.sg/promotions/storytel-sg

Kids aren’t enthusiastic about the holiday

They wouldn’t be if you’re planning and making all the decisions for the holidays based on you and your partner’s preferences, or what you think is best for the family.

Get the kids involved in the planning as well: get their feedback and take into account their likes and dislikes. If your kids aren’t sure of what to expect from the trip, show them YouTube videos or Instagram accounts of the destinations and tourist attractions. This will help them come to a decision.

Not everyone can get what they wish for during the trip, so negotiating and some give-and-take helps to make sure everyone is agreeable to the itinerary.

There’s no me-time during family vacations

Unfortunately, family holidays mean less or no ‘me’ time. But you can still carve out some private moments for yourself or for you and your spouse with some clever planning. If your hotel or resort has a kid’s centre, leave them there with the minders for a few hours to do some personal shopping or spa treatments on your own!

Or you can plan with your spouse to take turns taking care of the kids; she can bring them to the amusement park while you go off and have your own ‘me’ time. Do the same for her when it’s her turn.

Popular tourist spots are expensive

They can be if you’re going to the usual hotspots. But you can also have a great holiday at less touristy places that are off the beaten track – the countryside instead of cities, seaside coves instead of crowded beaches.

And these less popular locales will probably be cheaper and have less crowds which is a big plus during these times. Beautiful rural destinations with gorgeous outdoor landscapes and spaces – think farm stays! – may also be a lot more fun for kids than theme and amusement parks. And they’re probably way cheaper!

Package deals are best

Not necessarily. Family package deals are great for convenience and ease-of-mind, and when things go awry, the agency will be on hand to help you deal with the issues. But they aren’t necessarily the best deals. Some of the offerings may not suit your family’s needs and preferences. And if you wish to have some special items and services, you would probably have to pay for the add-ons.

You can always start with a more affordable basic package and customise it by paying for add-ons you prefer. Check online whether you can get the same package offerings with different vendors and sites.

SAFRA members enjoy up to $50 off selected travel packages at Dynasty Travel. Find out more at www.safra.sg/promotions/dynasty-travel

All-inclusive deals are best

Not all deals! All-inclusive cruises, resorts and hotels may not really mean what you think they mean: read the fine print, terms and conditions to confirm what exactly ‘all-inclusive’ means. Your meals and accommodations may be included in the package price but you may have to pay extra for activities, hotel transportation, or even use of the kid’s play centre.

Note that the cheapest deals online are not always the best, and that pictures and hotel reviews online can be deceiving.

BnBs are better than hotels

Not always! There are some great finds on Airbnb that are actually great for families with a budget – you can opt for larger apartments or homes with kitchens where you can cook your own meals and save.

But the great thing about hotels and resorts are the services and facilities that you don’t get from renting someone’s home: you don’t need to clean up after you check out, and you get to enjoy common facilities like swimming pools, playrooms and spas.

So depending on what kind of holiday you are planning for, choose the right accommodation that offers ease, convenience and amenities that fit your budget best.

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