Happy kids, happy holidays

Holidays are a time for excitement, adventure, fun, laughter and relaxation. Unless you’re a kid that forgot to pack their favourite toy! Then it’s the worst day of their life! Due to unfamiliar surroundings and different routines, you may find that the kids need extra assurance, to help them settle into the holiday. First impressions can make or break a great family holiday. Get everyone off to a great start on that all important first day of a family vacation and you set the tone for the remainder of your trip.  Happy kids make for happy holidays all round!

Research conducted by Booking.com of over 12,000 parents from 25 countries worldwide, reveals how parents cope in those make-or-break first 24 hours of a trip. From food snack packs to travel games and other insider tips, parents reveal the necessities they rely on to keep kids happy on holiday.

Happy holiday ideas from Kiwi parents

When Kiwi parents were asked how they best prepare for the first day of a holiday, they cited the two most important things to pre-empt disaster were to bring travel games and books to occupy their little ones as well as having an emergency food snack pack to hand (both 51%).

The full results were as follows:

  • Packing an emergency food snack pack (51%)
  • Bring travel games and books to occupy them (51%)
  • Packing key items (e.g. swimming costume / ski gear) separately or at the top of the case (44%)
  • Cover them in mosquito/insect repellent / sunscreen (38%)
  • First aid kit on hand (38%)
  • Ensuring they’ve bought comforts from home so the space doesn’t feel too alien (33%)
  • Packing travel adapters and chargers at the top of the case (30%)
  • Scoping out the quickest route to the beach / ski slopes (28%)
  • Enrolling the kids in advance into kids’ club (9%)
  • Renting a buggy/baby stroller (9%)

Yet as two in five parents (41%) believe that the first 24 hours of a trip can be memorable, it’s sometimes the trials, tribulations, excitement and drama that are the things which can really make a holiday special.

Share your tips below for happy holidays with kids.


Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a nationally representative sample, provided by Research Now. In total 18,496 respondents were surveyed (1,000+ from the UK, US, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, India and Russia and 500+ each from Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand and Taiwan), which included over 12,000 parents. Respondents completed an online survey between 27th April and 15th May 2017.

Booking.com – the world leader in booking hotel and other accommodation online. Guaranteed best prices for any type of property and no booking fees.


  1. dawnblyth 06/01/2019 at 9:36 pm

    Sometimes when we go away on holiday it can feel like we are taking everything bar the kitchen sink. In saying that its better to take it with us rather than buy the same items again. Being prepared is key. It saves a whole lot of time and stress down the track by being prepared at the start.

  2. Alezandra 04/01/2019 at 8:24 pm

    Great! We just had a day trip and I actually forget my son’s lunch/snack box. We did have a separate bag for other snacks and such but he was so attached to having his own that we had a tantrum in the car. It’s good to know that I am not alone with forgetting this.

  3. Shorrty4life1 03/01/2019 at 4:01 pm

    Games, sunscreen and mosquito repellent and swimwear are always the nessesities at this time of year. Those were the main things for our camping trip to ocains Bay over Christmas.

  4. kymmage 31/12/2018 at 12:50 pm

    I always pack their favourite milk and their favourite chocolates. We pack pretty light and make sure they have their DSs and a selection of games. Teddies and favourite blankets too. They help them feel ‘at home’ for sure.

  5. felicity beets 27/12/2018 at 12:31 pm

    Renting a buggy or a stroller is a good idea I had not thought of as they can take up so much room in the car, especially if you have more than one child. I think also bringing favourite toys from home is good as well as making sure you have snacks so they don’t get hungry.

  6. SarahBlair 21/12/2018 at 11:51 pm

    I am taking my kids on a plane for the first time ever in a week and my 4 year old is terrified!! The flights are booked but he doesn’t want to fly! He loves to Colour in so I will get him a new colouring book and crayons for the flight and we will watch the planes take off and land for a while before we board, Im hoping that this will help his anxiety!

  7. MuddledUpMolly 20/12/2018 at 10:04 pm

    These tips come in quite handy for this time of year with so many families out and about travelling. We definitely make sure we are prepared with snacks for our kids. Our daughter is now two so I think this year will be harder than the last two years to occupy her for longer periods of time without resorting to the use of devices.

  8. Micht 18/12/2018 at 7:31 pm

    These tips are great and spot on.. i do believe it becomes so stressful that even the scolding from us as parents dampers it all… i would love to keep them happy and relaxed throughout their school holidays…and i will definitely use this as my to do list

  9. Mands1980 18/12/2018 at 5:30 pm

    I’m one of those mums that has to be organised I take lots of snack foods, games to play and of course books to read. Warm clothes and cooler if hot, plenty of fluids and paper and pens or felt for kids to draw. There is always so much to think about.

  10. Bevik1971 18/12/2018 at 11:54 am

    I usually go a bit overboard when packing for a trip with our daughter 🙂 I would definitely take too much then not enough. Some games to keep them occupied and definitely snacks and drink are a must 🙂 Stopping when you are road tripping is important too, not just for toilet breaks but to stretch legs etc

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