With school holidays upon us, now is the time to break the mundane routines and plan that much needed family break. A shared adventure strengthens family bonds and creates lifelong memories. Besides being a lot of fun, holidays can also provide the perfect opportunity for the whole family to discover new talents, learn different skills and find interesting hobbies. Shaun Pozyn, Head of Marketing for British Airways (operated by Comair) and father of a little boy, shares some tips on how to really make the most of your family getaway.


Get the kids involved 

Involve your kids as much as possible in the holiday planning process to ensure everyone gets to do what they want to do. Research your destination and give your children a short list of activity ideas and get them to pick their favourites. Children love to be given responsibility and the process can teach them valuable lessons about compromising, planning and even budgeting.

Shaun’s helpful hint: When checking in online for your British Airways (operated by Comair) flight, let your children have input as to where they want to sit on the plane and allow them to pick the seats for the whole family.


Pack smartly

Assign each child their own suitcase and encourage them to choose and pack their own clothes. This teaches them valuable travel and decision making skills, and hopefully decreases the chance of wardrobe arguments. Guide them to pack lightly and choose colour-coordinated items. Maximise space by rolling clothes and stuff socks and accessories inside shoes. Pack what they will need first on top so they won’t need to scratch through their whole suitcase to find their pyjamas at bedtime.

Shaun’s helpful hint: If your child is bringing along their favourite teddy bear, doll or blanket on the flight attach a luggage tag to it, so if it gets lost it can be returned, or use a dummy clip to attach it to your child.


Location and comfort

Once your family has agreed on sightseeing activities and places to visit, choose a hotel that is centrally located and within walking distance to most of the activities. Decide what is important to your family and choose a hotel wisely.  If your kids love to swim make sure your hotel has a swimming pool. Check that the room layout provides you and your family with enough comfort and space.

Shaun’s helpful hint: You can book your hotel on ba.com and spend the Avios you’ve earned on over 1 500 hotels in South Africa.


Car savvy

See more of your destination by hiring a car on holiday.  When travelling with children, opt for a SUV or larger sedan car to ensure your family has enough comfort and space, especially for all the luggage. It’s also a good idea to request a car with leather seats which are easy to clean in case your kids decide to decorate the seats with ice-cream, juice, tomato sauce or any other sticky substances.

Shaun’s helpful hint: British Airways offers car rental in partnership with Avis. You’ll save when you book your car hire at the same time as your flights and you’ll earn additional Avios with every rental.


Ditch technology

Holidays are a chance to escape mundane routines, emails, meetings and client demands and enjoy quality family time together. Turn your data roaming off while you are out with the family to stop those work emails and meeting requests coming through. Activate your email ‘out of office auto-response’ before you go on leave and trust that your work colleagues will handle things in your absence.  Instead of uploading every snap to Facebook or Instagram while you are out, be present and in the moment and wait until the children are asleep at night to do it – or even better, wait until you get home from your trip.

Shaun’s helpful hint: Turning my phone onto flight-mode is second nature to me when I board a plane, but the trick is leaving it on flight-mode even after I’ve disembarked, when my holiday officially begins.


Learn a new skill together

Make your holiday more memorable and learn a new skill together. If you are heading to the coast, take a family surfing lesson or try paddle boarding. If you are going on safari, learn the names and interesting facts about the animals you spot and quiz each other. Find something that’s new for everyone. You’ll impress and inspire your children with your sense of adventure and share in the joy of mastering a new skill together.

Shaun’s helpful hint:  If you fall in love with your new-found sport while you are away and decide to buy the whole family matching surf boards, you need not worry about how to get them home. We recommend purchasing an extra bag online for less, to cover your sports equipment.


Make memories

Music evokes memories, so why not pick a holiday theme song that the whole family loves. Every time you and your kids hear the song after the holiday has passed, it will remind you of the beautiful memories you made together. Remember to take lots of holiday photos of the special times shared.

Shaun’s helpful hint: Load an iPod with some fun holiday music to keep your kids happy and quiet on the flight. It is a good idea to give your children a disposable camera so that they can capture the holiday from their perspective.


Take time out

Although it is natural to try and fit in as much as possible on holiday, be sure to make time for afternoon naps – it is an opportunity for you to recharge your batteries and have some quiet time while the kids rest. Plan the bulk of your exploring and sightseeing activities in the morning, so after a hearty lunch you can head back to the hotel room for some rest and relaxation.

Shaun’s helpful hint: Although a holiday is a chance to escape routine, try and stick to your family’s normal sleeping patterns. Tuck your kids into bed as close to their normal bedtime as possible and awake early in the morning and head out straight after breakfast to miss the crowds and queues.

There are few things more rewarding than a fun family holiday. Do your research, plan properly and snap up the opportunity to travel with your kids. When it’s time to return to your normal routine again you will feel invigorated, have a clear mind and be ready to take on the new school term.


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