Taking the whole family on a long-haul holiday can seem a daunting prospect, but it needn’t be. Indeed, a child’s curiosity and enthusiasm about the world can make it an even more enriching experience for you. Plus, their demands are usually relatively simple – somewhere to run around and play, swim, and try new activities.

However, choosing the right holiday to suit a whole family can be tricky, and more than ever, planning is crucial.

Planning your holiday

First of all, think carefully about your children’s ages – a five-year-old has quite different needs to a 13-year-old.

Older kids can cope better with hotter conditions and climate, and will probably enjoy activities that test their skills, such as fishing trips, biking and surfing.

If you’ve got a mixture, a resort catering to all different ages may be the best option. Plus, a “staying put” holiday will give them time to make friends.

If you do choose a touring holiday, make sure you are not in the car for more than three or four hours a day, and ensure you have lots of breaks in between. Combine the driving with a place where they can run around and let off steam.

Whatever you decide to do, involve your children in planning the trip. Talk about where you’re thinking of going, what you will see and do, and ask what they would like to do. Buy books about where you are going, and let your child look up the destination on a map. The Scrambled States of America is a fun introduction to the US by Laurie Keller.

While you’re away

Encourage them to experience local culture, including meeting and playing with local children of their own age.

Use different forms of transport – Rent bikes, take taxis, and try the local trains, trams or boats.

Take a selection of books and story tapes, plus their own personal stereo. Or you could bring a portable DVD player. These will prove invaluable on long journeys, not least the flight over to the USA!

Most facilities can accommodate a child’s needs:

– Nearly all restaurants have highchairs and kids menus, and even provide paper placemats and crayons to keep them occupied.

– Car rental companies should provide appropriate child seats or restraints, as they are required by law in every state.

– Motels are a good bet, since most rooms have two double beds and the option of extra fold-away beds, which can sleep a whole family.

For more detailed information about child friendly activities, have a look at your destination page.

Boston – the best sporting city in North America

Think fame, fortune, films and dreams

The city that never sleeps

The United States’ historic capital

Enjoy the natural beauty the States has to offer

Glitter Gulch and The Strip

A multitude of activities and permanently good weather

Savour the sights of the 2000 mile journey across Canada