If you're planning a family staycation this year, there are several things to consider before you book. Author Tim Saunders has kindly shared his top tips for this unique kind of holiday to celebrate the release of his new book Family Staycations. 

Tim Saunders and his son Henry

Tim Saunders and his son Henry

Holiday’s needn’t cost the earth to be memorable.

A trip to the beach and an ice cream on a hot summer’s day can be just as rewarding as driving miles to some far flung destination for a two week stay. It’s about spending quality time together as a family, enjoying each other’s company.

If staying away, comfortable beds are vital.

Some providers are better than others when it comes to such things. But we all need a good night’s rest in order to really enjoy any holiday, especially when going away with young children because they require so much energy. Travelodge always gets its beds just right; you can almost guarantee a great night’s sleep when staying with them. Their full English breakfasts are fantastic, too... Some independent providers do need to raise their game and replace their mattresses more frequently. Just think about the number of people sleeping on one over its lifetime – but don’t think about it for too long otherwise it’ll put you off even going away! Bed bugs can still be a problem. Not a nice holiday memory.

What else are you looking for from your accommodation?

Do you want to cook for yourselves or not? Self-catering or hotel? Luxury hotels can have more than one restaurant offering a range of cuisine. What standard of accommodation are you after? Budget or luxury? Get this right before you go away and then there won’t be any nasty surprises. If selecting self-catering accommodation are their decent takeaways in the area? What about local restaurants? Or it might not matter at all.

If choosing self-catering it is always helpful to know the set up.

Is it a single holiday cottage, for instance? Or are there a number on one site? Are there any rules about noise? Obviously if you are going to somewhere like Butlins noise is expected and shouldn’t come as a surprise. Besides you might not mind either way but need to be aware nonetheless. However, if you are looking for a restful night’s sleep, a noisy hen party next door probably won’t appeal.

Who are you travelling with?

Do you need to consider any special facilities for less able guests? For instance, older members might appreciate staying in a bungalow over a townhouse. If there are stairs how safe are they for children or the elderly? There can be some quite dangerous staircases about.

You want peace of mind when you’re away.

Does the property meet any recognised safety standards? Ask for proof that the gas boiler has been regularly and recently serviced. Is the heating reliable and is there plenty of hot water? Are there any mice or rat problems?

What about parking?

These days it is common to have to pay additional charges when parking at some hotels. This is more likely to be all inclusive if choosing self-catering.

Family Staycations by Tim Saunders (www.travelwriter.biz) is available in ebook, paperback and hardback from amazon.co.uk

MORE: Autumnal leaf peeping: A spellbinding staycation to Toad Hall

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