Ever tried going on an outing with your family, only to end up cutting it short because your child is having a meltdown mid-trip? Or perhaps you had to cancel altogether before you could even board the plane because you don’t think your kids can handle it.
Traveling with children may not be all rainbows and butterflies, but it does offer something priceless: a deeper familial bond. That said, you shouldn’t give up hope on planning a successful family outing in Doha.
There are ways to make the trip a lot less stressful and more enjoyable for you and your children. Below are five secrets you can try to make this happen:
1. Early Planning
Planning is probably the best way to boost the success of any endeavor – family outings included. It becomes even more effective if done well ahead of time.
For an overseas trip to Qatar, you should consider coming up with a plan several weeks early. Choose a date and time according to everyone’s availability.
Here’s a tip: Schedule activities involving your kids around the time of day when they are at their best behavior. This could be after breakfast or in the afternoon after a nap.
Don’t forget to account for your travel time and add an extra hour, so you get to enjoy the trip at a leisurely pace.
Also, learn more about the destinations and kids’ activities in Doha that you’d like to try. Write down all the potential places and activities that match your family’s idea of fun. Look for more details, figure out the logistics, and seek some discounted days and other promotions.
2. Checklists for Everything
Checklists serve as an outline or guide for the entire trip. You can have lists for several things, including the itineraries you should check out, what needs to be done during the preparation stage, and what you need to pack for your trip.
When creating a checklist with tasks, you need to be as detailed as possible. It also helps to include a timeline or specific deadline for each item on your to-do list, so you know whether you’re well ahead of the preparations or are falling short and need to step up.
Checklists for the itinerary or destination selection should also be labeled with appropriate descriptions and information. For example, if you’re looking at the best restaurants in Doha, try to include the names of the foods and beverages that your family will surely love.
As for the packing list, you should consider adding priority tags to every item so you don’t overpack but still avoid leaving anything important.
For instance, your children’s favorite toy could be considered essential, as these can help calm them when they feel nervous about riding a plane or get scared or upset anytime during the trip. Just remember not to pack too many toys as it will distract your little one from the outing itself.
3. Recommendations and Reviews
Whether it’s choosing a location, an activity, or a place for the family to eat in, you’ll need something to guide you in making all the decisions necessary for travel planning. And two of the best tools you can use are recommendations and customer reviews.
You seek recommendations from your friends, family, and acquaintances who have visited Doha, Qatar. Those living in the area might also have some insider information that could be helpful on your family trip.
Reviews also give you a closer look at venues, amenities, and experiences that are more realistic than what you’ll find on the official websites and social media pages of these establishments or places. They may also contain some helpful tips on how to get more value for your money and potentially make the experience more memorable.
Don’t forget to take each review with a grain of salt, as some of them could be biased or may contain unfounded complaints. To balance it out, it would be best to get information from more than one source.
4. Complete Travel Essentials
When traveling, the biggest challenge parents face is being far away from the things that keep their children happy, comfortable, and safe. But staying someplace other than your home doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have everything your family needs.
With thorough planning, careful preparation, and complete travel essentials packing, you can help your kids have a good time.
Below are some travel essentials you might want to include in your packing checklist:
When visiting Doha and other desert cities in the Middle East, you need to make sure you and your kids wear comfortable clothing throughout the trip.
When visiting during warmer months (May to September), you should consider packing loose clothes and those made from cool fabrics like cotton, silks, and linen.
Typical summer clothing is fine for the cooler months in Doha (December to March) since the temperature would be lingering around 20 or so degrees Celsius. You may also bring jeans or trousers but ones with looser fits.
If you’re going to be moving most of the time, you should also consider packing some easy-to-eat snacks. Kids get grumpier than usual when they’re hungry, so you must make sure they are well-fed and happy.
Don’t forget to bring water or water bottles to refill on your trip. Staying hydrated is vital in an enjoyable family outing.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to have something to soothe your children whenever they feel homesick or upset about something during the trip. This can be toys, books, and other items that they’ve formed an attachment to.
Some kids need their favorite stuffed animals, a binky, or a (literal) security blanket. Teenagers and pre-teens may need their smartphones or tablets.
Whatever it is, make sure that it won’t distract from the family outing. If you must bring devices, monitor their screen time.
Whether you’re headed to a beach, a waterpark, or a theme park, you need to protect your children’s skin from the potentially damaging rays of the sun. And that means having sun protection items handy.
Use a natural zinc-based sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Choose water-resistant products if you’re planning on going on a swim, apply them 20 minutes before going out. Reapply as needed for every couple of hours.
Use physical sun protection like sunglasses and hats, as well as lip balm with SPF 30 to prevent your lips from cracking.
Parents need a lot of patience when it comes to their kids, so don’t leave home without it.
If you’re having a difficult time with your child’s meltdowns, take a deep breath through your nose, then exhale slowly through your mouth. You can also count from one to ten, so you can readjust your focus.
Make sure you don’t fight fire with fire. Yelling at a screaming child will get you nowhere. Instead, try to listen and observe. Once you know the reason behind the tantrum, you should be able to find a solution or, at least, a viable compromise to offer your child.
Have Pure Family Fun
Planning a family outing in Doha doesn’t need to be as stressful as you think it would be.
With early planning, a checklist for everything, guidance from reviews and recommendations, and tons of patience, you should be able to have pure family fun.