Keeping kids happy on your summer holidays is no mean feat, but the right tech can, as always, help take the stress out of travelling abroad...

roaming smartphone

Keen to make your family holidays run that little bit smoother? Here’s Vodafone’s Ellie Allen with some indispensable tips…

It’s that time of year again! Many of us are finally jetting off on a well-earned break in the search for warmth (or cold, if that’s your thing), to be free of work, chores, and the good old school run. But although it’s an exciting time, it can also be stressful. That’s why it pays to be organised and plan ahead to ensure a smooth journey – and to get the most from your trip thereafter. Ready to make your summer holiday one to remember?

Before you go

Don’t forget your toothbrush, or more importantly your passports! Packing smart and well in advance of your departure date is a must. If you feel a bit overwhelmed by it all, there’s a whole host of fantastic apps available to give you a helping hand. Here are my favourites:

triplistTripList – iOS only – Free
Create a list of things to pack and do, then add to it easily from the built in smart catalogue. All your list items are shown in categories, making it easy to organise your packing, whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, on cruises or in campsites. TripList also makes things easier with notifications that remind you of due dates like deadlines for online flight check-in.

packpointPackPoint – Android and iOS – Free
PackPoint is becoming the go-to packing app for regular travellers, and with good reason. Just add your destination, dates, length of stay and whether it’s for business, leisure or both. PackPoint then offers a grid to check off which activities you’ll be doing and when. It even asks if you’ll be doing laundry on your trip.

packing proPacking Pro – iOS only – £2.99
This app creates packing lists for you based on who and how many are travelling, and for how long, as well as the temperature at the destination and the type of trip. You can then make Packing Pro look the way you want with app-wide themes along with packing list layout, display and font choices – you can even attach photos to your items too.

Take the stress out of flying

I spent the Easter half term break in Lanzarote with my family. I’m an infrequent flyer, so was surprised to find that EasyJet have an app that held all the vital information I needed for my journey – from flight tracker to boarding passes for everyone in my party.

I found using this app to be a fantastic experience because it rids you of any fiddly bits of paper – you only need your phone. But the EasyJet app is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stress-free flying. Other flight providers offer the same kind of service too:

 

easyjet appEasyJet – Android and iOS – Free
Bin those easily-lost paper passes. With EasyJet’s app you can search, book and manage flights from the palm of your hand. You can also check in and download mobile boarding passes (which look like QR codes and are scanned at the gate like a normal ticket) for any flights departing from most of the airports EasyJet flies from.

ba appBA – Android, iOS, Windows Phone Store, and BlackBerry World – Free
You can use British Airways’ app to store up to eight boarding passes on one device. Frequent flyer? If you’re an Executive Club member you can search and book Reward Flights with Avios, access your digital membership card, track your points and see your account, too.

virgin appVirgin Atlantic – Android and iOS – Free
Keep an eye on your upcoming flights, view your latest Flying Club mileage balance, check flight times and statuses or start planning your next big trip. It’s the ultimate Virgin Atlantic travel companion. Virgin also offers some self-proclaimed ‘cool stuff’ extras such as the Flying without Fear programme, and free access to Headspace to keep you calm in-flight.

Travelling with kids

‘Are we nearly there yet?’ There’s only so long you can sit in a traffic jam and patiently listen to those words before self-combusting, and ‘I Spy’ loses its appeal after the first 60 seconds. Thankfully, these days there are plenty of ways we can keep the younger generation distracted from sitting still for long periods. Here are my favourite ideas:

eBooks – Comics, activity, colouring and traditional reading – these are all guaranteed to hold children’s attention for a while. There’s a range of kid-friendly Kindle readers out now, as well as a whole host of free books you can download. Prefer to listen? Give an audio book a try via Audible.

Healthy snacks – Kids are always thinking about their tummies, so a constant supply of nutritious snacks are a valuable addition to any travel packing. Getting children involved with preparing their food is an amazing way to encourage them to have a healthy relationship with it. Look online together for recipes to make for the departure day.

Kid-friendly cameras – Photos are always a great way to keep a record of the holiday, but it’s really interesting to see your trip through the eyes of your child. Check out the top 13 cameras for kids this year, written by Ephotozine.com.

Films – From Peppa Pig to Harry Potter, you’re guaranteed to find a film to suit any age, but be sure to download them to your tablet or iPad before you go, and check you’ve got earphones and a sharing jack (if you have more than one child). Most phones have this capability too.

Games – Pack a traditional pack of cards or travel chess, or save space by downloading them to your device. The popular parenting site, Netmums give their top 10 kids apps here.

Get more from your trip… You can now enjoy 4G roaming in over 100 destinations worldwide, and you can use 4GB of monthly data without worry in 40. Find out more here.