Side Street Style: My Ultimate Pre-Holiday checklist for families

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog


My Ultimate Pre-Holiday checklist for families

stylish family

A relaxing and enjoyable family vacation can be one of the most rewarding experiences anyone could ever hope to share with loved ones. Or it can prove an unmitigated disaster that you almost immediately regret. Often, whether your vacation is a success or sinks depends largely on your preparation for it. So, to make sure your next family vacation gets off on the right foot, check out this definitive list of everything you need to do –– before you hit the road:

Get the Papers in Order

If you’re taking your family on an international adventure, then you’ll need to ensure you all have the proper paperwork first. Visas, identification forms, and/or passports all need to be up-to-date and correct, otherwise your dream holiday could get stalled at the starting gate and it's surprising how many people don't check the expiry on their passport and especially with children's passports which need to be renewed more often than adults. Take some time a few months before to get all this sorted –– you don’t want to be scrambling to get a government-issued document in a matter of days or hours and believe me I know as we have had a few close calls!

Kids who travel

The Doctor’s Office

The unfortunate truth is that both the very young and elderly are more susceptible to sickness than the rest of the population. Therefore, if you plan on bringing your little ones along with you to exotic destinations, including rural areas in Europe, schedule a trip to the doctor’s in advance of your holiday. Having grown up in South Africa and visited some very far-flung destinations I have had many essential vaccinations over the years and while it's not a pleasant topic talk about it's an important one. Rest assured that tests involving pediatric blood tubes might sound a little frightening at first, but they will ultimately ensure that you and your kids can have a stress-and-illness-free vacation.

Build an Itinerary

While children are very flexible and adaptable (often more so than adults) you still want to have some idea of what to see and do at your chosen destination. Visiting a foreign country without a set plan might sound wild and debonair, but it’s likely to end in boredom and frustration with kids in tow. Instead, make arrangements to visit historical landmarks, sporting events, or even theme parks well before you take off.

Family Amsterdam

Language Basics
Again, we can’t stress enough how fulfilling a trip to another country is. However, if you’re traveling to a place where English isn’t the main language, it’s vital that you and your children learn the basics of the native tongue. At a minimum, it could help you make friends with a local or two, or it may just prove indispensable should an emergency arise. Remember, you can never be too careful!

Be weather prepared

No matter what kind of climate you are going in to make sure you are prepared and practical. If your heading to Iceland research on how to stay warm, dry and comfortable and the same goes for traveling to a hot destination and packing plenty of suncream, UV sunglasses and appropriate clothes. 

Make a packing list

It's so easy to overpack when it comes to family travel but by planning in advance you can avoid this. Research your destination and likely weather conditions for the time you are visiting and write a practical list of what you really need. Also pack your bags in advance and then review what you have packed removing anything unnecessary as you want to be as light as possible because more often than not you will have to end up carrying your kid's backpacks as well as your own. Children actually need very little despite there being plenty of products on the market so keep things simple. I have also written a post about a how to pack like a minimalist for a weekend break, check it out

travel check list


  1. Great advice. I'm a planner and I like to have everything organised before we go, I spend a lot of time researching before we go!

    1. Researching is so important, I always pack and then repack and take anything we don't absolutely need out

      Laura x

  2. Great travel tips here. I like to plan in advance when it comes to family holidays.

  3. Some really great tips. Definately get the paperwork organised , we forgot half of ours when we went to Markova , was a nightmare!

    1. It's so easy to overlook! Paperwork is key

      Laura x

  4. Good tips... thankfully we've never had a passport mishap per se, but we have had one occasion where my finger was hovering over the "book" button when we realised my partner's had run out.

  5. Great tips for travelling with a family - always pays to be organised :-)

  6. There's such a lot to think about isn't there? I generally find holiday organising very stressful.

  7. I love going away but I hate the packing - this is a really helpful guide.

  8. Some truly terrific work on behalf of the owner of this internet site, dead outstanding content.

  9. Some good tips here. Think the point about language is important. When i go to a different country i do try and get some basic phrases


Lovely comments

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