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With the summer holidays long gone and October half term looming large, many of us face the prospect of several months without a long break. As winter sets in and the opportunities for two-week getaways grow scarce for most families, especially those including school-age kids, it’s time to think about treating ourselves to weekends, long weekends and hopefully also the odd week away.
But how to make the best of short breaks, especially when travelling with younger kids, given that the average person takes five days to wind down, according to a study done in August 2013? We asked the expert team at Luxury Family Hotels to give us the benefit of their wisdom. These are their tips for relaxing short breaks with kids.
– Try to avoid using smartphones, iPads and other gadgets and focus on enjoying every minute of being ‘out of reach’. If it’s imperative that you remain switched on, for work or personal reasons, try to check your messages just a couple of times a day, at set times, and to respond only to urgent issues.
– Bear in mind that you don’t need to head very far from home to get a real break – driving can be a good option with very young children, but longer journeys can still be tiring. Have a look at the country-house hotels located within an hour or two’s drive of your house – you may be pleasantly surprised.
– Look into accommodation that includes a babysitting service and/or a crèche or kids’ club so you can get a break – even if it’s just an hour to swim or have a treatment. Another wise move is to book a hotel offering children’s high teas and baby-listening – which works the telephone system – so that on at least one evening of your break you can enjoy a quiet dinner without having to pay extra for a babysitter.
– Check what amenities a hotel can provide so that you don’t have to waste time loading the car or to feel cramped en route. Super-family-friendly venues such as Luxury Family Hotels provide essential equipment such as cots, baby baths, bottle warmers and sterilizers, so you can travel light.
– Do load up with space-conscious toys and stationery – flatpacks of multi-coloured Plasticine, stickerbooks or packs and of course good old pens and paper are all tried-and-tested favourites for keeping kids entertained on the move.