Family holiday checklist

Preparing for a family holiday - your holiday checklist

Is your family holiday almost upon you and are you looking for a holiday checklist? Then read this to help you get ready.

The secret ingredient to a smooth and stress free family holiday is good preparation. This is our list of things when preparing for a family holiday. This has been created from research, speaking to other families and our own experience. 

If you are one of those who love lists, you probably do all of this already. But this is for some of us who leave everything till the very last minute.  To prevent panic in the final moments before  we leave on holiday, it's great to have a reminder of the things to the preparation for that holiday. 

Read this for all that you'll need to do to organise your home and work when on holiday

​There are seven aspects of preparing for your family holiday.

  • Bookings & Confirmations
  • Getting to the Airport / Station
  • Making the Journey Bearable
  • Weather
  • Amenities at the Destination
  • Last Minute Panics

Bookings & Confirmation

If you did your bookings well in advance, say 6-12 months before your trip, it's a good idea to reconfirm your bookings the week before your trip. These will include your travel, accommodation, car rental

This will also be the time to organise sight seeing trips, book restaurants, rent any equipment that you'll need at your destination. 

Then ensuring that all bookings are on both the parents phones or  printing a copy of all confirmations  and having them all in a file along with identification documents will be one major step towards a great holiday. 

Preparing for a family holiday - confirming reservations

Getting to the Airport/Station/Car Rental

In the week before your trip, you'll also want to think about how you are going to be starting your journey. Do you need to catch a flight or train? Or do you have to get to a car rental ? 

If you have to get somewhere with the whole family, how do you plan to do that? 

Do you need to book a taxi or a long stay at the airport? 

Allow plenty of contingency for this first leg because if you are late you may end up missing the whole holiday. It's better to be early and getting bored than getting stressed and missing the plane or train. 

About 6 hours before your journey or the night before, check to see if there are any planned engineering works or strikes that can affect public transport. If there are, this might result in more traffic on the roads too which you'll have to factor in if you are driving yourself to the next leg of your journey. 

Preparing for a family - getting to airport

Making the Journey Bearable

If you've got young children in your family, there are a few things you definitely need to do to make your journey bearable

Have multiple things to entertain them on their journey - electronic devices, colouring books, favourite toy etc. If they get bored with one, they can switch to the next one. 

Have food with you - snacks are useful for any leg of the journey usually. If you don't want to pay high rates at stations or airports, take some sandwiches along. 

Also prepare for what happens when you get to your destination. If you arrive late evening after the restaurants close, what about any snack or meal requirements? Should you book a restaurant for that night? Will you pick up something from a supermarket on the way to the accommodation? 

Have a change of clothes for your children and yourself easily accessible. This can either cabin baggage if you are flying or in a separate bag if you are travelling by car or train. This prevent rifling through larger cases. ​

Preparing for a family holiday - making the journey bearable

Mother and child traveling on commercial airliner

Holiday Weather 

Preparing for a family holiday - destination weather

Weather forecasts at your holiday destination are crucial to deciding what to carry with you.

Do you just need a fleece, do you need warmer clothes, do you need raincoats? 

Will you be able to buy clothes at your destination if you got the weather wrong?  

Holiday Amenities

Preparing by doing some checks on the specific amenities available at your destination is a good idea. For instance, are there ATMs within easy access?

Preparing for a family holiday - destination amenities

If there are familiar supermarkets, perhaps not bothering to carry loads of diapers but buying at the destination is a more practical option. On the other hand, if the supermarket doesn't stock a particular food that your baby/toddler likes, then you may need to carry this with you. 

Are there fast food chains to provide a backup option for food? If you are in the country side, it's possible that some of things you may take for granted in a city are just not easily accessible. 


Keeping all this in mind, you should make a judgement of what you specifically need to pack for your holiday. To help you along, we've created a set of travel checklists that will be helpful with your packing. 

Do make sure that you have enough space in your the luggage  for souvenirs or any shopping you do at your holiday destination on your return​

Preparing for a family holiday - packing

Last Minute Panics

Preparing for a family holiday - last minute panics

On some trips, you maybe unfortunate enough to have some calamities at the beginning of your journey such as a flight delayed, losing your wallet, or forgetting your passports. 

It's worth the adults having a discussion on some of these what ifs  and being ready with contingencies. These may not happen but if they do, you are ready. This one aspect alone of being ready for the crises will make a holiday ​much less stressful. 

Preparing for a family holiday is easy when you know the list you need to go through to get ready. You may also find  these other preparation ideas helpful.