Here in the UK and Ireland, we’re spoiled for choice whether it’s a castle, a beach, a bustling city or a long walk in the countryside, there’s plenty for families to see and do. But without proper planning, a big family day out could spell either bliss or nightmare if you’re not fully prepared. To help you plan the best family day out, we’ve put together our top dos and don’ts to ensure you and your little ones have a fantastic time together.
Do… plan your journey
Begin planning your big family day out by mapping the route you’re going to take. This will ensure you won’t end up in a stressful situation if you can’t get 3G or 4G to load your Maps app while you’re on the road. And, public transport tickets are often cheaper if you book them in advance rather than hoping to find seats at the last minute.
Don’t… overlook the details
As well as planning out the route you’re going to take, make a note of identifying places you can pull over for a toilet trip, nappy change or bite to eat. A big day out inevitably means a shuffle of various family members needing to use a service station, so get on Google and look to see what’s available; service stations with a M&S food section will ensure you can find something healthy for the family to snack on rather than only having fast food options.
Do… pack a picnic
If you want to keep costs down or are catering for family members with specific dietary requirements (or are just plain old fussy eaters), you might find that packing a picnic is your best option. As well as sandwiches, fruit and other snacks, here are some other picnic ideas.
Do… pre-book entry tickets
Buying entry tickets to your chosen destination (if indeed you need tickets at all) is often the cheapest way to have a family day out. Take advantage of early-bird booking deals, and keep an eye out for money off vouchers too.
Don’t… wing it
If you want an enjoyable family day out, you might want to plan how you’re going to spend some of your time. For example, going out for a long walk at the beginning of the day will tire older toddlers, and if you’ve got a baby in tow, you’ll need to confirm that where you’re going is accessible with a buggy. So, don’t wing it unless you’re ready to embrace the challenges that come with that approach.
Do… read reviews
The internet is a useful tool when it comes to planning days out – use it to see what other people are saying about the activities you’ve planned or the places you’re hoping to eat in. You’ll find comprehensive reviews on Facebook pages, Google and sites such as Trip Advisor, and keep an eye out for reviews specifically detailing child-friendly features such as children’s menus or play areas.
Don’t… forget wet weather gear
Whatever the time of year, good weather is never guaranteed, so don’t head off without a supply of suitable clothing. As a minimum, make sure you have a lightweight coat for each of your kids (an outer layer is a good idea even if the weather is dry as they provide protection against wind), shopping for macs for girls and boys before you go.
Don’t… forget to take photos
Finally, don’t forget to take photographs of your time together! If you’ve followed the tips above, your trip will be such fun that the day will whiz by, so whip out your smartphone or take a proper camera along with you to document the day.