I adore filling up our days with family trips; be they close to home or further away I am never more in my element than keeping the kids entertained with fun things to do and because we are such frequent day trippers I have a few top tips up my sleeve for that perfect family day out.
The key to a great, hassle free trip is to plan and prepare to make sure that you get the absolute most for your money and time. If you don’t do this you may find yourself caught short and having to go home early which is never going to be the ideal choice when you’ve invested so much already!
So… Here are my top tips for a fabulous family day out!
- Make sure you look at the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Just because it’s going to rain doesn’t mean you have to stay at home, you may just have to be creative with clothing choices or on the other side of the coin sun cream might be well and truly needed so be informed!
- Look on line for coupons and offers to assist you with ticket prices where you are headed. Things like the theatre and big corporations like Merlin very often have some mega deals to be had and usually places are much cheaper if tickets are purchased in advance.
- Make a goodly sized packed lunch which will see you not just over the middle of the day lull but beyond it as well. You may think having a heavy bag full of food is going to weigh you down but believe me it won’t stay heavy for long and you’ll be grateful that you don’t have to open your purse every time someone says they’re hungry!
- Take extra clothes with you. An emergency jumper here and a last minute pair of trousers there may just save the day when you least expect it!
Where to go?
- Don’t just consider local options and places that you’ve been before. Get on line and see what’s out there within a drive away – even if it takes a few hours. Packing the car up early and leaving for a proper day out at the crack of dawn is half the fun. Just make sure you have air in the tyres, enough petrol, multi-car insurance, a break down recovery in place and, probably most important if you’re a rubbish navigator like me, a working sat nav then you can be away! The kids will think of it as a real adventure and remember it forever!
- If staying local it’s worth reading up what annual passes are like for attractions in your area. I recently wrote an article about annual passes for fun places in Norfolk (my area) because we find they give the best value for money. Very often you only have to visit a place two or three times to make your money work and a lot of places will let you upgrade your day ticket to an annual at the end of your first visit so that you can try before you commit yourself.
Extra things to remember
- Take a camera – you won’t want to miss those smiles!
- Having a bottle of Calpol with me wherever I go is always on my list.
- Keep everyone hydrated and take bottles of water with you – the bag gets ever heavier!
- Check opening and closing times of your destination before you set off to avoid disappointment.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new – if you haven’t been to London before then don’t just think ‘it’s too big and too scary’, take a leap! A day out in London can be very inexpensive with lots of museums, city farms and other places of interest being free or cheap as they are subsidised by the government. Check out my days out guide for some London ideas.
- Don’t be too swayed by trip advisor. Lots of people only take to their keyboard when they have had a bad experience and you will probably find most people, when they’ve had a good day, don’t take the time to write about it. Looking for blog reviews is often a better option.
- Think ahead and if your kids are likely to get bored on the journey take a pack of cards, a book or some colouring. Happy kids are busy kids after all.
- If your child is likely to get travel sick then be prepared with a tablet and a carrier bag – think of every eventuality!
- Don’t assume everything fun will cost money – a bear hunt in your local park might be just as much fun with a picnic to pad out the day!
- It’s often handy to have a £1 coin or token with you… Lockers and the like might be very much needed with a bag like I’ve just advised you pack!