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Take the Family › Top 10 Tips to Make Your Family Self-catering Holiday Your Best Ever

Top 10 Tips to Make Your Family Self-catering Holiday Your Best Ever

By TakeTheFamily
In the French Alps with Ski France.In the French Alps with Ski France.

Self-catering holidays are perfect for families, providing the space and flexibility that are much-needed on holidays with kids. Add in a pool and sports facilities, either on-site or nearby, and you have the recipe for a family holiday you’ll remember for all the right reasons.

We asked our partner Summer France and Ski France – a specialist in family holidays and beach breaks on the western coast of France, as well as family ski holidays in top French Alpine resorts – to share their wisdom on getting the best out of a self-catering break with kids.

• Think location, location, location. If you’re travelling with young children, it’s really useful to be near shops, extra activities (such as a pool) and child-friendly transport into town. It’s also handy to have outdoor space for the kids to run around in. Recommended resorts: Moliets, Provence and Vendée.

•  Check transfer times. The shorter (or more seamless) your transfer, the less flustered and overall better your trip is going to be.

•  Be flexible about when to travel. Saturday is the most popular changeover day, so if helps if you can arrive on a weekday instead. Unlike many Alpine accommodation providers, Ski France lets its customers choose what day of the week they want to arrive and how long they’d like to stay – a flexible approach that means guests can say goodbye to changeover-day jams and ski-lift queues and hello to better-value flights and holidays that are exactly the way you want.

•  Take favourite foods. Think about what your kids usually eat and check if it’s easily available in the country you’re travelling to. For example, it can be hard to get hold of their usual sausages, cheddar cheese, Marmite or favourite cereals, so you may want to bring these from home. A small frozen milk can defrost on the journey – useful for the kids and for a cuppa on arrival if you bring teabags. Pack salt and pepper and a small selection of herbs, plus a corkscrew so you can enjoy a glass or two of the local wine of an evening (most bottles in France still have corks).

• Cater to special diets. Self-catering accommodation is ideal for people who are gluten or lactose intolerant, as you can eat what you like, but as it’s often hard to find specialist foods in other countries, bring these items with you.

• Check what not to take. Most accommodation has fully equipped kitchens; items provided can vary, but Summer France and Ski France properties have everything parents generally need, including pots, pans, plates, cups and cutlery.

•  Be ready for rainy days. Prepare for less than perfect weather by taking books, DVDs and board games. Villas La Clairière aux Chevreuils in Moliets has a free Wii with a bank of games in reception, plus board games. 

• Pack a picnic. Bring a cool bag, clingfilm and plastic bags so you’re ready to make the most of fine days.

• Make sure everyone gets a break. Look up local restaurants to give yourself a break from cooking. Summer France and Ski France staff should be able to recommend good family-friendly options when you book.

• Avoid car sickness, especially on hairpin bends in the mountains. Try to stop children looking at books/electronics in the car and encourage then to keep looking out the windows (games such as I Spy can help).

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