Five ways to avoid family holiday stress this summer

·6-min read
A view of Carcavelos beach in Carcavelos, outside Lisbon, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
A view of Carcavelos beach in Portugal (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

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Increased travel restrictions and more UK holidays being taken have changed the way we are spending summer 2021.

We've pulled together a list of ways you can still enjoy your summer getaway even with complicated travel requirements and after a period of increased stress for many people, whether you're travelling in the UK or abroad.

Read on for our pointers and some celeb tips – and how to avoid family fallouts!

1. Make sure your paperwork is in order

If you're travelling abroad, many countries require proof of vaccination status and a negative test for adults entering the country, with requirements for returning home too. Make sure you're aware of what's needed before heading off on holiday and that you have all the documents you need, either electronically (on a fully-charged device!) or printed out.

You should also check the validity of your passport when travelling abroad, and make sure it still has at least six months left on it.

2. Agree in advance what you all want from the holiday

Many stresses on holiday come from not agreeing in advance what everyone wants to get out of the holiday. Avoid arguments by discussing in advance any particular activities that you want to take part in, or just what you're looking for out of the holiday as a whole.

As Eddie Boxshall and Denise Van Outen discovered when on holiday in the Maldives, if one of you has gone on holiday looking for a chance to chill out and relax, and the other wants to take in all the sights and sounds, this can lead to disagreements! 

Watch: White Wine Question Time's Best Laughs

Boxshall explained to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time what happened one evening on a holiday the pair had taken together. He said: "We'd gone away and we were on this island and it was paradise. It was just this beautiful night and I opened the doors up. 

"We were very lucky, we had [one of] those water bungalows. The doors were open, the drapes were blowing in the wind.

"And I stood outside and it was a full moon and the sea was like diamonds and I turned round and I was just like: 'Oh my god, I love you.' And I said: 'Denise, you've got to come out here. You've got to come and see this.' 

"I said: 'I feel like I'm having this magical moment, very spiritual.' She went: 'I've seen it before. I'm trying to sleep. Will you shut the doors?'"

Van Outen explained: "I have been to the Maldives a few times. I just thought he was just standing there honestly, for ages and I was just thinking: "Oh my god, I'm gonna get bitten stiff by mozzies!"

Read more: The best British camping places to book for stargazing

3. Plan ahead - make bookings

As well as everyone being clear on what they want to get out of the holiday, it's important to book ahead to make sure you are not left disappointed if your chosen restaurant is fully booked or the gallery you want to visit has no availability. 

Covid has changed the capacity of many indoor venues and restrictions relaxing does mean an influx of people to certain areas - leading to popular sites being booked a long way in advance.

Listen: Kate Thornton revisits some of the most jaw-dropping revelations, including stories from Craig Charles, Susannah Constantine and Arlene Phillips

4. Come home armed with stories to tell

Keeping a holiday journal (or scrap book with the kids) is a great way of preserving your special memories of your time away, and will make sure the stories live on.

Vernon Kay returned from one trip to the US with a dramatic story that unfolded when he was catching up with Tamzin Outhwaite and his friend Adam on a trip to Florida.

He told Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time: "We saw a lady get taken away by the riptide in the sea. And I jump up and jump in the sea, Adam follows me, but the funniest thing ever... 

"I'm six foot four and I've got really long legs right so I look like a giraffe when I'm running. So for me to know that I have to dive into the sea I have to go a little bit farther out from other people. 

Vernon Kay had to eat deer testicles for the latest I'm A Celebrity trial. (ITV)
Vernon Kay appeared on I'm A Celebrity in 2020. (ITV)

"So Adam, as soon as he hits water he dives in and this the tide goes out the moment that he dives in and he just slaps the sand. It's the funniest thing ever, because you're caught between a rock and a hard place because this poor lady is screaming because she's being swept out to sea.

"Adam's just like boom! Faceplant into the sand. Thankfully, I was quite tall, so I was able to just tippy toe into where she was drowning. And we dragged her out and you know, someone called the the ambulance."

While we won't all return from holidays with a heroic story of saving someone else's life, it is worth remembering while away that the aim is to make wonderful memories – whether travelling alone, with family or with friends.

Read more: Vernon Kay reveals the surprising celeb he took advice from before the show

5. Relax! 

And speaking of making memories, remember to make the most of your holiday and plan activities that will help you relax. Some people like a full itinerary, some just want to lie on the beach and read. Make the most of the time that you have and the people you have around you – just as Imelda May's family did on their family holidays which she recounted to Kate Thornton.

Buy it: 11 Past The Hour | £23.02

11 Past The Hour
11 Past The Hour

The Irish singer songwriter told Thornton about her childhood memories of holidays in Morocco, travelling in unreliable old cars, and the friends that her parents would make along the way.

She said: "[The cars] always broke down. So dad was always underneath the car and he'd befriend people. I remember when we were in Morocco, I think we ran out of money or something. We were getting chased down the road by somebody. I don't know why, I was young, maybe they hadn't got enough to pay for something. 

Imelda May and Jools Holland arrive at the Music Industry Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London
Imelda May and Jools Holland arrive at the Music Industry Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London

"And they'd got chatting to this antique dealer earlier. And he said 'come here' and brought us in. And then he brought us down to this lovely restaurant and bought us dinner! 

"Another time we broke down in France and the mayor of the town hired a car for the family so we could drive back, and then shipped our car back! My dad used to just make friends with people and I think they just fell in love with them and everything always turned out okay!"

Watch: White Wine Question Time's Biggest Revelations

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