You’ve found your holiday destination, booked your accommodation and now all that’s left is to get there. But sometimes getting from A to B with the kids in tow isn’t as plain sailing as it seems. Here, TV psychologist Dr Becky Spelman suggests her top five ways to have argument-free travel, ensuring your family holiday gets off to the best possible start.
1. Plan your journey ahead
A good family holiday always starts with a well-planned out journey. Think about all your travel options and consider if it’s really the smartest choice. Getting stuck in traffic or getting lost on route not only causes unnecessary delays but can also be the recipe for a family “cargument”. It’s no surprise a recent survey by Virgin Trains found 61 per cent of parents think they would have fewer arguments if journeys had been taken by train. Refreshments on tap, space to move about, Wi-Fi and loos mean the simple stuff is taken care of. But whichever route you decide to travel, make sure the experience is planned out in advance.
2. Think about who sits where
Who gets to sit where topped a recent poll of the most common car arguments. Planning ahead is the secret to success here; make sure the kids take turns to sit in the favourite seat and when it comes to train travel, ensure you book seats well in advance to get cheaper fares and seats together.
3. Make sure you have lots of snacks on hand
Snacks can be the perfect tonic to resolve a toddler meltdown, starve off boredom and keep hunger at bay until your normal family meal time. Plus, it’s ok to treat the kids when you’re on holiday! If you don’t have time to pack in advance, make use of the onboard food and snacks facilities – no unnecessary pit stops at service stations required.
4. Take time out for yourself
It’s the start of your holiday so take some time to enjoy being together, especially if you’re travelling by train and not stuck behind a wheel. Firstly, you don’t have to concentrate on the road, leaving you time and the kids time to relax and enjoy movies, games and the stunning scenery, and you can of course treat yourself to a glass of wine from the onboard shop!
5. Bring distractions
Keeping the kids entertained throughout any journey is the key to a hassle-free trip. If you have a tablet, bring it, if you don’t, invest in one! With all the kids’ apps, movies and TV programmes you can download, they will be kept busy for hours. It really is the modern-day saviour of long distance travel. Not only do Virgin Trains have free onboard Wi-Fi if you book direct, they also have free movies, magazines and games on Beam. Don’t forget to download Beam before you catch the train, and remember your kids’ headphones too, so other passengers can enjoy peaceful journeys.
To help families tackle the season of ‘carguments’ and start their trip in a more relaxing and enjoyable way, Virgin Trains is launching a summer family promotion on its East Coast route, with 50 per cent off family travel on selected routes between August 7 and September 10, for journeys booked between July 31 and September 2 via www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/family-promo with the code FM50.
On the West Coast, Virgin Trains’ family ticket is a super flexible, anytime Standard return that can be booked for as little as £99 for a journey from London to Manchester or Liverpool for a family of four. For more info and to book visit www.virgintrains.co.uk