Q&A: Family holidays

When it comes to travelling with kids, many imagine the horrors of toddlers screaming for entire flights and shudder. But travelling overseas with your children (of any age) can be a wonderful experience for any family. We asked Travel Counsellor Candy Penesis how agents can best sell family holidays.

Which destinations are most popular for family holidays?

I would say the most popular destinations right now are Fiji, Bali, Phuket, Hawaii and Los Angeles. Apart from being relaxing and full of warmth and sunshine, these destinations are only one plane trip away. No lengthy transits at various airports. A huge plus when travelling with small children.

What sort of activities do travellers want to do on a family holiday?

Most travellers are looking for a balance where they can do some sightseeing along with the chance to ‘flop and drop’ for a while to simply relax. For many, after seeing the popular tourist sites like a monkey forest, a Buddhist Temple or a historical site it’s time for fun parks and water parks. These parks are a huge plus for a family as it gives them the opportunity to have fun together.

What are your suggestions for a good inter-generational holiday, a family with young kids and teenagers?

It’s always good to consult your kids and get them involved in the planning experience.If each child picks something they want to do, they’ll all be happy. Cruises are a fantastic way to please the entire family regardless of age.Choose a great ship and you won’t be disappointed with the endless food, pools, kids clubs, night clubs and amazing shows each night and there’s plenty more.

Are FIT holidays more popular than all–inclusive packaged options?

FIT (Free Independent Travel) is more popular than ever before particularly with Australian travellers. With access to research what they want, clients are able to plan their own vacations. Setting up their own experiences like local cooking classes and enjoying the culture of the country they visit is important on their to do list.However, there is still a market for the all-inclusive package for those that want ease in planning and no fuss vacations.

What are your top tips for selling family holidays?

I love to paint the picture for the family when booking their holiday and get them excited about their chosen destination. I encourage them to choose the right type of holiday and help them to make the right flight and accommodation choices from my recommendations. Once they are booked, my top tips would be to pack light and sensibly, to check-in online, get to the airport early, make sure the kids have plenty of entertainment for a long flight and take a change of clothes and your toiletries in your cabin bags and take lots of photos.