How to beat travel stress on family holidays

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Take a breath and be kind to yourself right from the start on your next family holiday. That means trying to take the travel part in your stride, staying calm, and finding ways to make everything as easy as possible.

Family Transfers are expert on stress-management for travelling families. Their UK and European private transfer services are designed with the sole purpose of getting families to and from airports, train stations and ferry ports, on time, safely, and without any fuss.  They arrange everything in advance right down to child-seats, cocoon you in spacious family-size vehicles, and give you complete peace of mind whether you need transfers from Faro Airport to a remote country villa in Western Algarve, or you’re arriving in Beauvais for a weekend at Disneyland Paris.

So who better to advise on a few other easy ways to cut down travel stress on your next family holiday? Here are seven of their top tips that are surprisingly easy to master.

1/7  Get to the airport relaxed, and on time: stop stress before it starts

Travel stress is cumulative, and hard to stop once it kicks off. Be aware of potential triggers and build as much calm into your journey as possible.

Getting to the airport smoothly is a great start. Family Transfers not only arrive at your door punctually, in a seven-seater family vehicle, fully prepped with the child-seats you need, they also drop you off right at the terminal building. And because every booking is handled individually, in advance, right down to the last detail, you don’t have to think about anything: except holding on to that wonderfully relaxed frame of mind for the rest of your journey.

Family Transfer services now cover most major UK airports, train stations and ferry ports. You can also easily book transfers for the return journey: your driver will be ready and waiting on your arrival, so you can keep that holiday feeling for longer.

Complete the quick quote Family Transfers form online, or have a look at their FAQ page for more info on one of the easiest ways to avoid family travel stress.

2/7  Be kind to yourself: organise a private airport lounge pass

Private lounge passes for major airports cut out the stress of keeping everyone happy and safe, in the lull between check-in and boarding. They sound like a luxury, feel like a luxury but, even at London airports, come in at less than £20. Which is a small price to pay for everything from play areas and game zones for young VIPs, right up to blissfully comfy seats and mini-spa treatments to help you follow the calm parents equal calm kids in-flight rule.

Lounge passes for airports worldwide are easy to book online, and family passes start at around £14 for major UK airports.

3/7  Over-explain airports to under fives, for your own sake

Even if kids are used to travelling, most under fives have fairly limited recall of anything that didn’t happen in the last three minutes, so it doesn’t hurt to quickly remind them of what to expect at airports. Watching their best loved Ted disappear into the dark recesses of a security scanner can reduce the calmest of kids to hysterics and, unless you thrive on chaos, you want to avoid that at all costs.    

The Airport Book by Lisa Brown shows younger kids an airport through the eyes of a little girl and her sock monkey.

4/7  Dress to see and be seen at airports

Everyone daydreams about a glamorous travel look, but unless you’ve someone to deal with the bags, and the kids, reality calls for a more practical approach. Comfort comes first, of course, but dress for visibility too. Any parent can lose sight of a child at a busy airport, and it’s a heart-stopping moment everyone knows. The kid wearing something bright and distinctive is easier to identify in a crowd and much easier to keep in your eyeline. And children will usually spot a high-vis parent before the panic of being lost forever and ever hits: a minor trauma best avoided, since it can set the tone for an entire holiday, especially with under fives. 

Bright beanies or caps are a simple solution for most kids. Although, colourful hoodies are a lot trickier to take off, and stand-out hair bobbles are good for younger girls.

5/7  Pack for in-flight health, happiness and a little peace

There isn’t a list written that doesn’t tell you to pack extra sweaters for kids to counter sub-zero cabin temperatures, charge all their devices for optimum distraction and avoid sugar for obvious reasons.

But think about putting a small bottle of lavender essential oil into your in-flight kit too: a couple of drops on a tissue within breathing distance of kids, calms them in seconds. Add antiseptic wet wipes to your must-haves, since planes are like flying petri-dishes, and nothing’s more stressful on holiday than irritating, low level bugs. And it’s worth packing pull-ups for longer flights with under fives. Even if they’re beyond the nappy stage, toilets aren’t always free when you need them, and small accidents don’t become big dramas.

Lavender essential oil is available in 10ml bottles, so no issues with liquid allowances at security.

6/7  Pick a low-stress seating plan

If you can possibly avoid leaving seat choices to chance, do. Keep younger kids away from aisle seats: the combo of drinks trolleys and little heads or hands never goes well. Back of the plane is good for toddlers and toilet trips. The front always has a bit more legroom, and bulkhead is best for babies.

You’ll find seating plans for most aircraft online, so you can work out what seats are likely to work best for your family.

7/7  Arrange stress-free European transfers, before you travel

Don’t leave anything to chance when it comes to getting from the airport to your hotel or resort with kids. Arrange transport in advance, and remember you’re on unfamiliar territory, so keeping things simple is always a good plan. Family Transfers private transfer services are now available at major airports and train stations in Portugal, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

Just like in the UK, their vehicles are family-sized and fitted with the child-seats you need. Easy online booking means your transfer is ready and waiting the minute you arrive. Plus all Family Transfers’ drivers are bi-lingual, and know precisely where you’re going, which is exactly what you need when you’re travelling with kids.

Family Transfers private transfer services now include all major Paris train stations and international airports; Faro and Lisbon Airport; Amsterdam Schipol; major airports and stations in southern Spain, Madrid and Barcelona; major Italian airports, Rome Termini Station, and Civitavecchia cruise port.

The Family Transfers lowdown

  • Gatwick to Central London costs £100 per family one way.
  • Barcelona Airport to City Centre address costs £79 per family one way.
  • London Heathrow to Central London costs from £80 per family one way.
  • Manchester airport to City Centre costs from £85 per family one way.
  • Edinburgh airport to City Centre costs from £57  per family one way.
  • Faro airport to Albufeira costs from £55  per family one way.
  • Lisbon airport to City Centre costs from £35 per family one way.
  • Paris CDG airport to City Centre costs from £80 per family one way.
  • Paris CDG airport to Disneyland costs from £95 per family one way.

All prices include two child car seats in large MPV vehicle and a meet & greet service.

Family Transfers cover family travel to and from all London airports, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Edinburgh airports, as well as several major UK train stations and ferry ports.

Their services are also available across Europe, and they now offer private transport for family days out and excursions in several European cities too.

Find out more about Family Transfers stress-busting transport options for travelling families.

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