We decided for Ethan’s 7th birthday to have a short family getaway, rather than a party. He had been curious about theme parks so we figured now was a perfect time to introduce him to the awesome fun of the sunny Gold Coast. Both my husband and I have wonderful childhood memories of Queensland holidays and couldn’t wait to experience it with our kids. Ethan’s birthday happens to fall in the off season so we saved some money, but still enjoyed Queensland’s beautiful weather. Here are my top family travel tips and some photographs of our time away (what would a post of mine be without photos?!). There are also some bonus tips from Ethan (age 7). Definitely some I did not think of!
Allow plenty of time to get to the airport. In your flight survival kit my suggestions would be a few little toys, drawing supplies, snacks because kids always seem to be hungry when you have nothing to offer, lollies for little popping ears, bandaids, light spare clothing, fully charged iPads (they CAN be your friend) and wipes. Even if your toddler is toilet trained, you may wish to consider putting them in a pull up. Ava simply refuses to use the toilet on the airplane. Says it’s too scary. On this occassion she held on, but better to be safe than sorry. On the flight home if it is night time, dress kids in PJ’s so they can be transferred straight to bed.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
Go to the supermarket and stock up on snacks and fruit. We also purchased some adult beverages. This really saved us some money. Talk to your kids about the importance of not touching the minibar when you get to the room!
Choose a kid friendly place to stay. Seaworld was a great choice for us. It was close to the places we wanted to visit, had easy access entry into Seaworld, the kid’s swimming pool was really cool and they had fun activities and familiar characters there too. The kids especially liked the night time Spongebob water light show.
There are lots of deals around for discount packages to the parks. We had ours included with our accommodation package. So don’t pay full price if you are visiting more than one of them. We hired a car which made it easier to get to places and gave us more flexibility.
Decide on a meeting point if the group breaks up. I also find it helpful to dress little ones in bright coloured clothing. It makes them much easier to spot if they decide to do a bit of a runner on you! Both our kids know their full name and parent’s names. Ethan knows his address and Ava (age 3) knows her home suburb.
Think about which shows you would like to see and find out the times in advance.
Just because you are an adult, don’t let that stop you from getting on those thrill rides. So much fun!!
Wave and smile enthusiastically at your toddler when they go past you on their billionth lap on those little car rides. Even though you will probably be bored out of your mind, the smile on their face is priceless.
VISIT PLACES THAT HAVE ANIMALS
Kids love animals (our kids do anyway). Provides lots to talk about and learn.
TAKE SOME PHOTOGRAPHS OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Not every image needs to have a person or animal in it. Sometimes it is nice to look back on and remember the scenery and other details.
ALLOW FOR SOME UNPLANNED TIME
We drove into town where we wandered around, finding out where our legs would take us. It was very relaxing. We ended up at a kid friendly cafe and then had a play on the beach. It can be a good idea to carry a little city guide with you. Most places have them. They come in very handy and have some good vouchers too.
TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
Try not to get too hung up on producing the images you imagined you would get in your mind. The photographs I took on this trip are far from my best. However, they are my family memories so I love them all the same.
Remember to spend some time without a camera and be present for your family. It becomes very easy to spend your entire holiday behind a lens. Enjoy just being with your family. It’s worth it.
Hope these tips have been helpful for some of you. Let us know in the comments if you have some super travel tips of your own.