All Inclusive Family Holidays – 10 Tips

Families with young children to think about have, over time, found that booking their annual family holiday in advance always reflects on the quality of their holiday. The opportunity to choose where they stay and what types of rooms will suit their needs whether it be family suits or interconnecting rooms for the larger families. School holidays and school half term holidays have always cost late bookers the quality they desire and although the cost maybe right the facilities of the hotels that are left over in this incredibly busy time rarely offer what families want for their holiday. The good five star family hotels in Turkey and Greece specifically are the ones that offer the extras that allow mums and dads to have a break from entertaining their kids 24/7. Hotels with Aqua parks and mini clubs allows parents to enjoy a drink or two around the pool whilst the kids are well catered for elsewhere within the hotel. The following tips are basic guidelines for you to get not only the best value holiday but also the holiday that you and your family need!

1. Booking in advance – The more ahead you book the better offer; your holiday is cheaper because you have early booking discounts in place. You get to choose what you want; will you require family suites or two rooms? Will you need a hotel away from the pool area and therefore quieter? Are you looking for a specific hotel only – this is so very important, I have lost count of the people who call me two days before departure in August wanting a specific hotel only and simply not believing that their choice is unavailable!

2. Choosing the right hotel for you – Each resort has its own locally appointed star rating and many do not compare to UK standards, nor can they be compared to each other. Not every, all inclusive hotels are built the same, and some many deals for many hotels that sometimes you can get lost in it all. Choose an experienced travel agent and discuss your needs and then together you can come to a decision about what is right for you, despite the advent of on line bookings it is still no substitute to a travel agent who knows what they are talking about!

3. Families with Teenagers – Recognise that the needs of a family with teenagers are different to the families with younger children. Older children seldom want to participate in Kids Clubs, they want to aviod their parents and young children as much as possible and prefer to have a holiday of their own. Taking teenagers to hotels that cater for mainly adults or mainly younger families is often torturous – for the parents who will have to listen to the constant whining of a bored teenager.

4. Families with younger children – Again the needs of a younger family need to be catered for. Mini clubs and baby sitting services are often vital to help the parents have a break too. High chairs round the restaurant are simply overlooked good sized children’s pools with shaded areas are also often overlooked, or simply forgotten about. And unless your young are used to blaring music and bright lights most young families will of course rather not have blaring club music booming through the hotel floors from the surrounding area at 2 am – so make sure the actual location is right for you. A prime example is Marmaris on the sea front in May will vary to the same location in August at the height of the season when everything will be going full swing. A couple of kilometres from the sea front where most clubs, bars and restaurants are located is not a negative hotel location for a young family but in fact very positive.

5. Room Types – There can be problems with room types, where some families assume they have a particular room type just because they are travelling as a family. This is untrue. The cheaper options will always be offered first, this will be a twin or double room with two extra beds, if you want family rooms then you need to ask, and again there is a common presumption that a family room has two separate rooms, again, this is untrue. If you are specifically wanting a family room with interconnecting doors you need to ask, and these definitely have to be booked in advance to secure them as most hotels have less than 3% of their total rooms that provide interconnecting doors that works out to be an average of nine rooms per hotel that provided interconnecting, so you can imagine how soon these get booked up.

6. Flexibility – When shopping around for a family holiday it is important to allow some flexibility, asking to travel on a specific day of the week can increase the cost of your holiday by 40% in some cases. Whereas allowing yourself some flexibility will give you the very best offer, prime examples are Sharm El Sheikh, always cheaper to fly on a Thursday and Rhodes with only two main flights a week always cheaper to travel on the Wednesday instead of the Saturday. Again, an experienced travel agent will discuss this with you and offer suggestions.

7. Half Term – Do book in advance, if you think about it the October half term is the very last bit of summer sun most people will see for eight months and it is one of the most popular weeks of the year, often outselling August. Needless to say in October parts of Europe are cooler so if you are looking for guaranteed heat, remember you are not the only ones who are searching. After the Christmas and New Year Holidays the next half term is February, in the UK February is in the midst of a bleak winter, however, for most of the Med it is the beginning of spring and whilst temperatures are not scorching hot they are still more pleasant than ours. Again if you and your family are desperate for guaranteed heat you will need to book Egypt and the Canaries even Malta to chase the sun rays, at that time of year, and these destinations are rarely if ever available last minute, the stuff left will always be the holiday you don’t necessarily want to go to.

8. Holiday Insurance – The importance of good family insurance is regrettably overlooked, most families are unaware that booking your personal insurance at the same time as your holiday is vital, all the best laid plans can change for a thousand and one reasons, and personal insurance will protect your booking form the moment you book, not just whilst you are away. If you are insured and you do need to cancel your holiday for any reason then you will be covered in full, paying a little extra to cover excess is always a good idea.

9. Infants – Do request cots when booking as they will not automatically be given to you due to the number of people who take their own travel cot.

10. Dietary requirements/or Special Needs’ There has been an increase in allergies and food intolerance lately, and many families are affected. It is absolutely vital you mention any special needs you may have at the time you book not after you have made your holiday reservation, your travel agent will re-direct your attention to something suitable for your needs if the hotel you chose is felt to be unsuitable, plus they ensure that the hotel is made aware of any needs you may have, mentioning a concern after you have booked and you find your chosen hotel is unsuitable can create amendment fees which are easily avoided.

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