Making happy holiday memories

Travelling Well | Sarah Marinos | Posted on 14 March 2019

Tips for a successful family holiday.

For many of us, childhood holiday memories trigger smiles and happy feelings. Maybe those memories are of lazy days at the beach with siblings, camping in the bush, or an overseas adventure. These happy moments help build our identity and sense of belonging, explains Derek McCormack, principal specialist at the Raising Children Network.

“Creating positive memories within families is important for us as children and as adults. They make us feel good and help us develop a sense of security,” he says.

close up of a young girl holding a red autumn leaf in front of her face

Photo by Gabby Orcutt on Unsplash.

“Memories are created through rituals, and holidays are an opportunity to begin a new family ritual or to enjoy established rituals. Families get time to focus on each other away from day-to-day stresses and routines, and they can slow down and enjoy quality time together.”

So how can you build some positive holiday memories?

  • Plan your escape together. “Talk about where you’d like to go and what you’d like to do,” says Derek. “Invest together in what you want, and holidays go more smoothly.”
  • Find out what activities and places of interest are in the area to keep everyone entertained, says Martin Zumstein, manager of RACV Goldfields Resort, near Creswick. “We have a kangaroo trail and Sovereign Hill and Ballarat Wildlife Park are nearby,” says Martin. “Look for a range of experiences that are within an easy drive.”
  • Give older children space. “They may have different interests so give them free time and then plan things together, such as dinner or trips to the beach,” suggests Derek.
  • Look for holiday destinations that will keep children entertained so adults can enjoy a quiet moment. “Look for kids’ clubs or holiday programs,” says Martin. “During school holidays we have sports programs during the day and movie sessions in the evenings.” 
  • Keep happy memories alive. “In my family we shoot a lot of video and turn that into a holiday movie,” says Derek McCormack. Talk about the holiday, look at photos together and keep the memory going. 
  • You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create holiday memories. “A simple camping trip can be memorable, as long as you’re away from normal routines and demands,” says Derek.
Woman holding a koala at ballarat wildlife park

Up close with koalas at Ballarat Wildlife Park.

girl in tradiotional goldrush dress running behind a horse and cart on Mainstreet at Sovereign Hill

A trip into history at Sovereign Hill.

Close up of kangaroos at Ballarat Wildlife Park

Kangaroos at Ballarat Wildlife Park. Photos: Visit Victoria.

Five essential holiday ingredients

  1. Something for the kids: Look for plenty of amenities like playgrounds, a swimming pool and more, so you can fill your time.
  2. Family-friendly dining: Are there places to eat on site if you don’t want to leave your resort or hotel? And are there family-friendly restaurants within walking distance? 
  3. Relax the rules: Holidays are a time to change up the workaday routine. So why not have an ice-cream at 9am or go for a walk in the dark with the kids and a torch. The kids will love it and you’ll be laying down memories that will last for years.
  4. Interconnected rooms or family suites: Some resorts offer family rooms but if parents or teens want privacy, book interconnected rooms or a suite. Then parents can unwind in their own room without disturbing little ones. 
  5. Give your whole self: Perhaps the best thing you do with your kids on a holiday is to give them your undivided attention in an environment that encourages exploration, play and wonder. So put away that phone and be in the moment with them.