Raising kids is one of the most rewarding tasks life can offer. Sure, there are tantrums, tears, bickering, and sometimes fighting. But nothing can bring you joy like your children’s laughter, smiles, and hugs. Those magic family memories will forever be ingrained in your kids’ and your mind. And what makes the most magical memories are family holidays – trips to new places with fresh sights and sounds, and experiences.
Australia is an excellent country to explore with your children, offering vibrant cities, pristine wilderness, sandy beaches, lush rainforests, and plenty more to explore. Last year, I traveled all around Australia with my kids. It was a wild experience and at times a little stressful, but I returned home full of gratitude. I also learned a few things, which I’d like to share with fellow traveling families today.
In this informative article, I’ll share six of the top things I learned about traveling with kids while exploring the wild Australian outback.
1. Arranging Your Accommodation Ahead of Time Is Key
During our trip, we stayed at many places, including the Turtle Beach Resort, located just south of the Gold Coast in the seaside suburb of Mermaid Beach. By booking our accommodation early, we were able to enjoy our stay in this luxury resort with absolute comfort and total peace of mind.
But in the serenity that I enjoyed at Turtle Beach, my mind also floated back to a time when I was unprepared and forgot to pre-book our accommodation. This meant we had to scramble to find a hotel, caravan park, or motel to stay in. It was a busy period, and many places were fully booked. You could imagine how stressful this experience had been, both for us parents as well as the carload full of kids that were growing tired after a long day. Thankfully, I found us a room after calling multiple places. I learned my lesson, though: always book accommodation in advance, especially during busy periods.
2. The Kids Will Get Bored – Be Prepared
Another thing I learned during our family trip was that kids get bored quickly, even when traveling. I already knew this about regular life, but I’d hoped that the excitement of a vacation would mean staving off their boredom. Sadly, this was not the case, but luckily, we came prepared.
We had activity bags for both kids, designed just for this scenario. These holiday activity bags were packed full of things like coloring books, toys, books, car-friendly puzzles, and other activities that they could complete during long drives or flights. We also packed a small stack of board and card games that made for a wholesome family activity during the evenings after a big day of sightseeing or when the weather was too foul to go exploring.
3. A Trip to the Gold Coast is a Must
The highlight of our trip for my kids had to be our time on the Gold Coast. They absolutely loved it. The theme parks made for several days of fun and adrenaline. They loved basically all of the rides – the roller coasters, the water rides, and everything in between. The Gold Coast’s beaches also made for some fun days. Our older kid even took surfing lessons one day!
Needless to say that the kids were sorry to leave when our time at the Gold Coast drew to a close. Just be mindful that as this region is one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations, accommodation rates, and even the costs of entry to attractions like the theme parks can be a little costly. We managed to save some money by purchasing a bundle deal on the theme parks, and it was still a touch expensive, so be sure to budget specifically for Gold Coast prices when planning to visit this beloved Australian destination.
4. Not Every Meal Has to Be Healthy
As a responsible parent, I try to promote healthy eating at home. Yes, the kids get a treat once in a while, but I believe in a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. One thing I learned while traveling is that it can be hard to eat healthy when on the road. Not every place we stayed had kitchen facilities, and sometimes we just had to dine out.
Rather than have a protracted battle over ensuring the kids ate something healthy on the menu, we made our peace with the fact that sometimes they’d have to eat nuggets, pizza, chips, and other indulgent food when we’re away. It was okay; they ate – didn’t die, and they were happy, as you could imagine! And isn’t that what a holiday is all about?
5. We Took Lots of Photos
Like most, we’re a family that just loves to make memories. But taking time to preserve memories can be tricky when traveling with kids. That’s why you should make sure your camera is on your person and fitted with a full battery at all times.
Thankfully, we were able to take photos at every sight we stopped at, so every beach we went to, and every hotel pool, zoo, museum, botanic garden, and yes, even the theme parks where we spent a large chunk of our time on the Gold Coast. My kids love scrolling through my photo gallery and hard drives to find photos of their big Australian trip, and I’m so glad we managed to capture so many photos to share with them as they grow older. The days of the family photo album are gone, replaced by digital galleries, but the basic idea is the same. We took heaps of photos so our kids could remember their holiday fondly for years to come.
6. Be Open To Spontaneous Adventures
Not every little activity was planned along our trip. Sometimes we arrived at a location with no plan for the next day. When the day broke, we just hit up Google Maps and found some local activities to embark on without any expectations. And surprisingly enough, these shoddily planned days actually ended up being some of the best days.
Although it can be tricky to relinquish your plans and control as an adult, kids absolutely love spontaneity and the adventures that are made possible by throwing caution to the wind. So try taking on their approach. You’ll find that the chaos and unexpectedness of the day will end up making these spontaneous adventures some of the most memorable experiences across your entire holiday.
And that’s a wrap on our fun Aussie holiday. I hope you’ve learned something from this little exploration into my family’s latest holiday, whether it be how to pack an activity bag for road trips or long flights, or how to ensure that your kids stay well-fed when on the go.