I guess you could say that, for most families, holidays often turn out to be a bit of mixed blessing!
On one hand, there are getaways to faraway climes; sun, sand and sea, drinking cocktails at sunset and lounging by the pool. Kids love holidays too – it brings the opportunity to play around in the pool, meet new friends and to try new activities.
And of course 2 weeks off school!
What’s not to like?
Well, summer travel has its dangers as well as pleasures, and we would do well to heed them, less our summer holiday become a summer disaster.
First, some of the most important safety things to consider…
If you are visiting sunny climes such as the med you need to take proper precautions: The risk of skin cancer rises significantly whenever the skin is damaged by the sun (Cancer Research UK)
Kids should be on at least Factor 15 sunblock, at all times during the day (NHS Choices)
It is likely that they will be in and out of the pool all day, so remember it needs to be regularly reapplied.
Tip – encourage your kids to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (12pm – 2pm).
Perhaps take a family siesta during the midday heat? Though if you have a crying baby this is easier said than done!
Just remember though, going on holiday and being in the sun gives the vital opportunity to get a Vitamin D boost – great for strong bones, for kids and adults alike.
If you are holidaying in the UK, remember that there are plenty of insects that can provide a nasty sting – and not just bees and wasps. Caterpillars, midges and even some spiders will not kill you (in the UK) but can give a bite that is itchy and painful.
So take care, and have insect repellent with you to ward the critters away.
Holidaying abroad – as in the UK there are plenty of insects that can take a bite out of you, but on the continent mosquitos are perhaps the main problem. These little beasts can be deadly - due to the fact that they can carry malaria.
Thankfully, the danger or your family contracting this disease from bites is pretty low, but the risk is there.
This risk of malaria is greatest in tropical areas, rather than the Med. In these areas, many take greater precautions such as mosquito nets.
Read up on the country you are visiting to get the right advice. (See NHS Choices for general info)
For many holiday makers, the summer holiday is often an opportunity to take a break from the normal routine of exercise and healthy eating, and to “splurge” on delicious food, or lazing by the pool all day.
This is definitely an option.
You’ve worked hard all year, why shouldn’t you take a break?
Well, of course, it’s not either/or.
With a bit of thought and creativity, you can work in healthy habits into your travel itinerary. For example, rather than spending the whole week on the beach with your phone, you could take some windsurfing lessons for a few hours, or perhaps water-skiing, just to give you a bit of a work out and to break the day up.
The lessons would work your core whilst still allowing you to enjoy the pleasures of sea, sun and sand.
If you’re more of a pool family (rather than beach), then another idea is to take in some pool aerobics. Great fun in the sun! Get the kids involved too.
Or if you are going on a city tour, then skip the bus tours and hire some bikes – many hire shops will do kids bikes at a reduced rate.
You get to see more of the city on bike that you ever would by car or bus.
1st tip – Beware of buffets! Many holidays these days are all inclusive, and many of them have buffets in the restaurants for their main meals. It’s so easy though to overload your plate and end up overeating each night.
To make you watch what you eat, try using a smaller plate – this will force you to take smaller portions.
Calories on holiday do count!
One thing to try is going self-catering rather than all inclusive – that way you know what is going in your food so you can make healthier choices.
You can also try local food markets to get the freshest produce in the area. Stock up on fruit for the kids; most kids love local fruit like watermelon.
But then again – for many people the whole reason behind a summer holiday is to take a break from cooking – so if that’s your choice then fair enough!
So enjoy your summer break – take in the sights, enjoy the beach/pool, and just relax into the chilled out atmosphere.
Just remember to take a few bits of our advice, and you can enjoy it even more, knowing that you are safe and healthy on holiday.