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Family holidays are a perfect opportunity to create life-long memories in the sun, but if you don’t protect your child against its harmful rays, you could have a very unhappy and sunburnt kid on your hands. Furthermore, research by the Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that 80% of our lifetime sun exposure occurs when we’re children, and just one instance of blistering can double the risk of skin cancer later in life.
To make sure your children travel safe this summer, we’ve put together these top tips for sun safety.
Getting kids to sit still long enough to apply sun cream can be a nightmare in itself, but apply the right protection at the right time is vital in avoiding sun burn. For example, sun screen should be liberally applied every morning before you set off, and then topped up every few hours (even waterproof creams will start to fade after a few hours of wear). The absolute minimum factor you should use is 15, but if your child is especially pale skinned or sensitive to the sun, you shouldn’t use less than 25.
Once at the beach or in the pool it’s very unlikely that your child will happily agree to regular breaks in the shade, so try to plan your days to minimise playtime in the sun between 10am-4pm when it is at its hottest. Schedule a long lunch, indoor play or even some reading or tablet time in the shade, just to ensure your children don’t get too much sun or become dehydrated. (Note: even on cloudy days UV light can still be extremely strong so don’t be fooled!)
The right clothing can be just as important as sunscreen when protecting your children this summer, so when you’re out and about, make sure they wear UV sunglasses, hats with brims and breathable clothing that covers their shoulders. Dark colours, long sleeves and trousers will all help protect them, but when they have to strip down to their swimming costumes, just make sure you have a large umbrella to offer some shade.
It may sound unusual, but some medications can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun’s UV rays, so make sure you talk to your doctor before your trip. The most common culprits include antibiotics and acne medication.
Don’t be so busy getting the kids ready for the sun that you forget to protect yourself. Apply plenty of sunscreen throughout the day to show the kids that it’s necessary, and make sure you all drink plenty of water and stay hydrated to avoid sunstroke and other easily preventable illnesses.
Holiday insurance should be a vital part of your family holiday planning, because, just in case you or your children fall ill during the trip, you can seek medical treatment safe in the knowledge that any expensive bills will be covered – as long as you communicate with your insurance company’s emergency medical helpline, who will help you through the process. Visit Holidaysafe.co.uk for more information on award winning family travel insurance.
Tips for travelling with children – http://www.holidaysafe.co.uk/family-travel-advice/travelling-with-children/
Staying safe at the beach – http://www.holidaysafe.co.uk/family-travel-advice/staying-safe-at-the-beach/
Family travel insurance buyers guide – http://www.holidaysafe.co.uk/family-travel-advice/family-travel-insurance-buyers-guide/
Single parent travel insurance guide – http://www.holidaysafe.co.uk/family-travel-advice/single-parent-travel-insurance-guide/
Taking the family skiing isn’t the cheapest holiday option around, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost the Earth. Skiing is a wonderful skill to learn, and the kids will have loads of fun gliding across the snow. If you do have a limited budget, though, how do you keep the costs down without spoiling the fun?
Here are our money-saving tips for that next family ski trip.
Before you even start looking at which resorts are best for you, you’ll need to decide when you want to go skiing. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t travel during the peak seasons, if you can help it. This includes Christmas, New Year, half term and the Easter holidays. Remember that the country you’re travelling to will have its own busy periods, so check when the schools over there break up before booking.
So when are the best times to go? December (before Christmas), January (after New Year) and early March are probably the most affordable times to go skiing. Flying during the week could also save you a lot of cash on plane tickets.
There aren’t as many last-minute deals around as there used to be, especially when it comes to skiing. Instead, you’re much better off booking your holiday in advance, as it means you can travel when you want.
In fact, if you have the opportunity to do so, book as much as you can in advance, as you’ll likely receive discounts for doing so. This could include your lift passes, skiing equipment, additional excursions, etc.
Finding the most cost-effective ski holiday isn’t as simple as just picking the cheapest flights and accommodation you can. You will also need to look into the cost of lift passes, ski schools, food and drinks, entertainment, airport transfers/public transport and gear hire at each resort.
There are several great budget resorts to choose from in Europe though – consider travelling to countries such as Bulgaria and Slovenia instead of expensive Switzerland to save some cash. Many of the resorts here are just as good, if not better, than the more expensive ones! If you do want to go to a popular resort, remember that the lift passes will likely cost twice as much as they would at a budget one. Even food and drink is bound to be more expensive.
Catered hotel accommodation may seem an attractive option, especially when you have little ones, but it tends to be a lot pricier than the alternative – a self-catered apartment. This type of accommodation gives you the facilities to make your own breakfast and packed lunches, which will save you lots of money on expensive meals out. You will find plenty of picnic spots in which to eat your lunch, which is good because those mountain-side restaurants aren’t cheap!
When buying food for breakfast and lunch, be careful not to buy from any small local stores, as these will be expensive. Look out for the larger chains instead.
Package holidays offer convenience, which is why they’re so popular with families. However, this convenience can come at a cost – you could stand to save a lot of money if you book your accommodation and flights separately.
Whatever you decide to do, make use of all those comparison sites out there; you should never purchase the first deal you see (unless it’s amazing!). It’s best to book your accommodation as early as possible, but flights fluctuate in price all the time. Try using a site such as Airfarewatchdog.com to monitor flight costs – if you want to spend under a particular amount, you can set up email alerts so you’ll be notified when prices have dropped below your specified threshold.
Be aware that many holiday websites track your cookies and therefore know how many times you’ve looked at particular flights. This can cause prices to rise, so always delete your cookies before heading back to the site, or just browse for holidays in incognito mode. You can do this by selecting the ‘incognito window’ option in your web browser.
Unless you’re planning on skiing often, there’s little point in purchasing you own skis, especially when you consider how fast your kids will grow out of theirs! Plus, you will likely have to pay additional baggage charges for taking skis with you on your flight. With several suitcases and bags to worry about, you don’t want to have to carry skis around with you too!
Hiring the heavier ski gear you’ll all need, such as skis, poles, boots and helmets, is a much more cost-effective option. The things you won’t want to hire are your salopettes, ski jacket, gloves, goggles and any other clothes you may need. It’s actually cheaper to buy these, or borrow them from a friend! You may already have a jacket suitable for skiing in, and salopettes can often be found for discount prices in outdoors stores. Decent gloves and a pair of goggles won’t cost you much either.
Just don’t forget any other extras you’ll need, such as sunscreen and ski socks. If you wait until you arrive to buy them, you’ll likely end up paying premium prices!
Many resorts will allow children under a certain age to ski for free, so before buying everyone their own ski pass, check there aren’t any deals on beforehand. At some resorts, you may need to stay with your child in order to get them free access to the slopes, which isn’t suitable if they’re attending ski school, so make sure you read the terms and conditions.
It may be a skiing holiday, but that doesn’t mean you all have to hit the slopes every day. After all, skiing is a tiring activity that relies on muscles you simply aren’t used to using. Families with young children in particular may need a break from the mountain. Some parents save money by buying just one adult and one child lift pass, so that they can ‘tag out’ each day. However, this means you won’t be able to enjoy skiing together, plus this method only really works if you have just two children.
Purchasing shorter ski lift passes is a better way to save money, and it means you can explore more of wherever you are. Why not take a day trip to the nearest town or simply spend a day hanging out in a warm swimming pool? You could also build snowmen, go sledging or stage a snowball fight – whatever keeps your kids entertained and lets you repair those aching muscles!
Staying with a larger group can really cut down the costs of everything, as you’re essentially buying/renting everything in bulk! Travelling with another family you are close to, or even members of your extended family, can not only save you money, it makes for a great holiday.
Travelling with friends may mean the kids have others of their own age to play and ski with, while the adults get to enjoy grown-up conversations in the evenings together. Staying with extended family is a good way to help your children bond with their aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. You’ll create memories for life!
It’s easy to forget that skiing can be a dangerous sport, so taking precautions is vital for your family’s own safety. If something were the go wrong, the medical bill could be incredibly expensive – travel insurance that covers you completely will give you peace of mind. All your gear is covered too, so you don’t need to worry if little Timmy somehow loses his right ski, whether you’ve chosen to rent or buy.
Skiing isn’t just for the rich – it’s more accessible than ever, even if you’re on a budget. Just like with any holiday, you need to do your research to find the best deals, but all the effort is worth it. You’ll learn something new, travel somewhere you may not have visited otherwise and of, course, have tons of fun.
Our winter sports travel advice section has lots of advice for families looking to go on their first skiing holiday, including how to keep children safe on the slopes, tips for first-time skiers and how to choose the right holiday insurance.
Learning to ski is great fun and easy to do no matter how old or young you may be. That’s why skiing holidays are so popular with families – they’re a fantastic experience for everyone involved! However, with so many resorts to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the one that’s going to be most suitable for your family.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best family ski resorts for beginners. The hard part is choosing which one to visit first! We’ll leave that decision up to you.
Before we start listing resorts, it’s important to understand the piste classifications. When you go skiing, you’ll notice each route or run is marked by a colour, which indicates its difficulty. You don’t want to take on a run that’s way above your skiing capabilities, so make sure you take note of what the following colours mean on European slopes:
North American and Australian/New Zealand piste classifications vary slightly, but green and blue always mean easy and moderate. Black runs, with or without a diamond, will always be the most difficult ones and should be avoided if you are a beginner.
Film fans may find this resort to be somewhat familiar – it’s been featured in numerous movies, including ‘For Your Eyes Only’ and ‘Cliffhanger’. Cortina d’Ampezzo’s beauty and fame are not the only reasons why you should visit, though.
At Cortina, almost all the slopes are rated easy – intermediate, making it the ideal resort for beginners. You’ll be surprised how quickly you pick up skiing, so it’s always good to a have few moderate and intermediate runs at your resort, as you’ll want to push your skills further once you gain some confidence.
The mountain has more than enough slow zones and gentle, easy runs – perfect for you and the kids. During the first few days, you’ll definitely want to hang out at the Mietres ski area, which is exclusive to beginners. Not only can you practice your skiing here, you can also get used to the lifts you’ll encounter on the mountain. Trust us; you’ll be thankful for the chance to prepare!
Once you’re ready to progress, head to the Socrepes area, which can be accessed via a cable car in the centre of town. There are 140 ski runs across the whole resort, so you’re bound to find a new one to try each day.
This resort is an extremely cost-effective option if you and your family are new to skiing. There are three free ski lifts at the bottom of the mountain, meaning you don’t need to purchase a lift pass until you’re reading to move further upwards onto the more difficult slopes. This allows you to practice in your own time.
Grande Massif is one of the best ski areas for newbies. Here, you’ll be able to ride down a number of short, gentle green and blue runs. There are also two nursery areas for the little ones. We highly recommend that your family goes to ski school – the École du ski Français is fantastic. The school teaches skiers of all abilities and ages, and the instructors are multilingual.
No cars are allowed in the centre of the resort, meaning the little ones can run around freely. Plus, all the shops, ski lifts and other services you may need are situated conveniently close to your accommodation.
Families with young children who are looking for a skiing holiday that won’t break the bank need look no further than this resort. Set in a quiet, traditional village, Beitostølen is just a 45-minute journey away from the closest airport and four hours from Norway’s capital, Oslo. The mountain has gentle slopes with long green runs ideal for skiers trying to get to grips with the basics.
The local ski school is fantastic and all the instructors speak fluent English, so your kids should have a whale of a time. Even if they don’t go to ski school, children under six can get a lift pass for free too. Once you’re all used to your skis and the snow, you can move onto some of the intermediate runs.
When you need a break from skiing, there are lots of activities you can all take part in, such as the family slalom race, snow rafting, sledging and mini snowmobiles.
Parents will also be pleased to know that the accommodation is close to the slopes – something which you’ll all be thankful for after a long day of skiing.
Another great but inexpensive resort is Kranjska Gora between the Julian Alps and Karavanke. The wide tree-lined runs are ideal for beginners and the gentle nursery slopes are nice and close to the village. If there’s anyone in your party who has skied before and needs a bit of a challenge, there are plenty of intermediate runs to keep them happy too.
Sometimes on skiing holidays, it’s good for the adults to have some time apart from the kids. The excellent clubs for both skiing and non-skiing children allow you to do just that. Children as young as six months and as old as 12 years can spend some time at the Pepi Penguin Nursery or Whizz Kid’s Club while their parents take some time to perfect their skills on the slopes.
If, however, you choose to take your children skiing with you, children under the age of six can use the ski lifts for free when they’re with a parent. Bear in mind that if they are going to ski school, they will need their own lift pass.
The excellent variety of beginner and intermediate slopes means you’ll never be bored in Arinsal. It’s just one of the three resorts that make up the Vallnord domain; Arinsal is easily the best place to learn the basics for skiing; Pal is better for beginners and intermediates that want to step up their game, and Arcalis is known for its wonderfully empty slopes.
Your Vallnord ski lift pass gives you access to all three resorts, so it’s worth catching a shuttle and giving each a go one day. Don’t worry if you don’t have time though, there are plenty of red and blue runs in Arinsal to satisfy you.
If you have kids under the age of 12, you’ll save some money on lift passes, as they are free for skiers up to the age of 11. The ski school is one of the best in Europe and has friendly English-speaking instructors. Thanks to how high up the mountain they are, the nursery slopes the kids will practice on always have great snow conditions.
Bulgaria is another great place to go skiing if your family’s on a budget and Borovets is the country’s oldest, most famous and most popular resort. It’s a great place to learn to ski if you’re all complete newbies and the English-speaking ski schools are excellent. In fact, some of the 200+ instructors are former pro skiers.
The mountain has 150 snow cannons, so you’re guaranteed to enjoy fantastic skiing conditions all season, right up until April! Many of the runs are wide and tree-lined, making for relaxing and beautiful rides. Most of the hotels are just a short walk away from the lifts, so the kids won’t have too much to complain about after skiing all day.
Eating out is inexpensive and there’s a huge choice of restaurants to choose from. The night life is fantastic here too – ideal for any revellers that may be coming away with you. Every bar worker speaks English, so there’s no need to worry about any miscommunications.
This is only a small selection of the many great family resorts that best cater to beginners, but you’re sure to find a destination here that suits your budget. Remember that even adults can go to ski school or get private lessons if they want to sharpen up their skills or learn the sport from scratch. At the end of the week, the family can all meet up together to see how much they’ve improved and what they’ve learnt.
For further advice, check out our guide to keeping the kids safe on the mountain and our top tips for skiing beginners. Don’t forget to buy the right travel insurance before you go!
The thought of foreign cuisine can fill your heart with dread if you or your children are particularly fussy eaters. Unfamiliar dishes and new surroundings can become overwhelming for some, but this shouldn’t have to put a damper on your holiday.
The choice of food available will obviously vary dramatically depending on the country you are in, and while your appetite shouldn’t hold you back from seeing everything the world has to offer, you may wish to consider a destination based on the food available.
For example, if you have a very low tolerance for spicy food, you may wish to be careful when travelling through India as different regions will vary in spices used, with the South generally producing hotter food than the north.
If your children are reluctant to try a particular dish, do not pressure them as this can put them off for good. Most places will offer some form of western dish, while it is a shame to travel half way around the world to eat the same food you would back at home, it may be a way to ease them into trying something new.
If your children are struggling to adapt to the local cuisine then be patient and adapt their meals so they are more familiar to what they are used too. Introducing small changes in meals while keeping some familiar favourites will help bridge that gap for them.
Be careful not to give them something which is overloaded with flavour or spice as the shock may make them close up to trying new things.
Depending on the age of your children you may want to motivate them into trying new things with making meal times fun, allow them to choose their own dishes (with your expert guidance) or vote on which restaurant to visit as a family. This will keep things exciting and hopefully distract them from the anxiety of trying new things.
For some, the fear of trying new food simply stems from the fear of getting sick while abroad. Tales of sickness from eating “local” food have attributed to this general fear.
The truth is, when travelling to certain countries (specifically in Asia) you are much more likely to get sick whilst eating the local attempt of westernised cuisine than actually indulging in the local food. With the exception of the local water (which should be substituted for bottled water).
Local food is usually much fresher and better prepared than any western dish you may be tempted to order.
The best general advice is to look for the places where the locals are eating and follow suit. This will generally give you a good indication of the best places to eat.
Many countries are famous for their national dishes and where better to try an authentic dish, than the country it originated from.
Often the foreign dishes we have available in the UK are a far cry from the true representation of the dish. An open mind and an empty stomach are the best companions you can have when travelling anywhere if you are looking for a new tasty experience.
Going on holiday should be a time of relaxation, however when travelling with young children, everything can become more stressful. Here are our top tips for travelling with children;
Since 1998 children can no longer be added to their parent’s passports, they need their own to travel abroad. Anyone under 16 needs a child passport to travel abroad; after 16 they can apply for an adult passport. Remember that a child passport is only valid for five years – make sure your children’s passports have not expired, and if they have, leave yourself plenty of time to renew it before travel. You can find more information here.
The hardest part of travelling with children is keeping them amused, happy and well behaved during travel. Every child is different, and they will react to this new and stressed situation in different ways. Create a happy environment and in your hand luggage, pack some favourite soft toys, and plan some games. A pack of playing cards can be a simple but great way to amuse kids, teach them some games and play them on the flight when they need to sit still. Story books, portable DVD players and narrative CDs are also a great way to keep them amused.
It can be extremely tempting to let children bring a bag full of their favourite toys, to keep them amused throughout the holiday. However, you have to be careful as these toys could cause delays at security (as they may want to go through the bag,) and could even be confiscated. Toy guns and anything which could cause hurt or alarm to other passengers will not be allowed. Also, make sure that you or your child will be able to lug a bag full of toys around the airport all day, travelling is tiring enough!
Many people forget to plan meals when travelling; all the other planning involved seems to take over. However it is important that you pack some snacks for your kids, something easy and healthy and maybe a treat if they are behaving well. You can’t be sure that they will like the food at the airport or on the plane, plus it can be very expensive, and if they get hungry they could become difficult.
On long haul flights, everyone needs to sleep to avoid a terrible journey, natural sleep aids are a great back up plan if your child cannot fall asleep in the strange environment. You could also try packing a blow up travel pillow and a familiar blanket or throw to help make them comfortable.
Unfortunately, there is no magic answer to this issue, as every child and family is different. However if you prepare beforehand by getting your kids excited about travelling, by carefully packing things to keep them amused, by packing snacks and natural sleep aids – you should find that the experience isn’t that bad. Happy travels!
Going on holiday is an enjoyable experience that many people look forward to; however, when you’re pregnant rules and regulations can present nasty surprises if you haven’t done your research. There may be restrictions on when and where you can travel, as well as certain conditions applied to you.
Before you even book your holiday, you need to find out if there will be any restrictions imposed if you travel when pregnant. For example, some airlines will let you fly anywhere at any point in your pregnancy, whereas others have slightly stricter rules. Most airlines will allow you to fly up to 36 weeks (if you and the baby are healthy), however if you’re carrying multiple babies this is usually reduced to 32 weeks, and if you’ve had problems with previous pregnancies this could be reduced further. Similarly, cruise ships may stop pregnant women travelling at the later stages of pregnancy, particularly in the last couple of weeks.
Airlines may allow you to fly up to 36 weeks, but after 27 weeks they will usually require a letter from your doctor or midwife. This letter will have to state your due date and whether you are safe to fly, as well as highlight that the chance of you going into labour mid-flight is unlikely.
When it comes to travel insurance, you need to be aware that companies may have different rules about pregnancy and travel. Pregnancy is not an ‘illness’, it is a natural and wonderful experience for any woman, however travelling later in pregnancy can put you and your child at a greater risk of medical complications, therefore most insurers will limit cover for travel after a certain point (just like an airline). Furthermore, although you shouldn’t need to declare your pregnancy to your insurer, you will need to declare any issues linked to your pregnancy, for example if you have high blood pressure.
It’s worth bearing in mind that your feelings on travelling may change as your pregnancy progresses. A trip that you planned when you were only eight weeks pregnant may not seem quite as appealing once you reach 28 weeks. As your bump grows larger, you may find some things are uncomfortable and the familiarity of home could seem like a nicer option. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, you may experience various unpleasant symptoms including nausea and sickness. This also tends to put some women off of travelling or embarking on long journeys.
During the earlier days of your pregnancy, most insurers and travel operators are more than happy to allow you to travel almost anywhere. If you’re planning a trip to a far-flung destination, however, you may have to consider inoculations, and some of these are not recommended or even suitable during pregnancy, so give this careful consideration before you travel. You will also need to consult a doctor to find out what is safe for you to take, for example anything from malaria medication to travel sickness tablets could be unsafe for pregnant women.
When you do book a trip anywhere, be sure to do lots of research and read through every detail of the policy to ensure that you are covered for everything you need. If anything changes between booking your trip and actually going on it, inform your insurer and holiday operator. Listen to your body throughout your pregnancy as this can often give you the best indications when it comes to making decisions about travelling.
For more information on quality pregnancy travel insurance, visit our dedicated pregnancy page.
Every year, thousands of holidaymakers flock to beaches around the world to enjoy some sun, sea and relaxation. However, a holiday disaster can easily happen at the beach, so here are our top tips for staying safe and well at the beach;
Enjoy the beach!
P.S. For more information, watch our Beach Safety Video;
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