Unlock the secrets to fabulous family summers

Maximise family adventures and minimise
travel worries with unique coastal
and island destinations.

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Travelling as a family can often be a stressful affair for both parents and children, especially should a combination of unexpected delays and unpleasant surprises in an unfamiliar environment crop up.

With the peak season for family summer vacations around the corner, here are some factors to consider when planning for holiday arrangements.

Picking a destination: city centre or coastal chill?

Arrive at your resort destination by the novel means of a seaplane transfer

Depending on your choice of destination and preferred itinerary, city centre locations often offer families a relatively more convenient experience with shorter ground transfers from airport to hotel as well as amenities and attractions within accessible distance. A more buzzy nightlife scene also lends cities their perennial appeal, which is a great option for parents with older children.

Where longer travelling and transfers are possible, going with resort destinations can usher your family vacation into a world of privacy among pristine coasts and private island locations that will make the extra effort worthwhile.

To reach these resort destinations, novel transport arrangements can range from seaplanes to chartered transfers. More than just a means to reach the destination, this can turn the travel experience into an exciting journey for the family - especially for the children.

Family-friendly ready

Now that you’ve coordinated the travel dates, selecting the suitable accommodation when travelling as a larger or extended family can pose extra challenges and stress - especially with some hotels unprepared with an organised list of family-friendly arrangements and inclusions.

It may be helpful to consider booking your stay at resorts that have stated packages and arrangements upfront for families that offer flexible bedding arrangements as well as ‘free breakfast’ amenities for children under 12; these will go a long way in minimising any hassle or potential surprises upon arrival.

Room interiors specially designed with children in mind are also key considerations. At Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya, family-inclusive options include accommodation categories that offer separate bedrooms for parents, and for children, bunk bed additions and colourful décor. Another special feature is the Family Villa at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, which takes children’s safety into account with child safety locks at the terrace and bunk beds.

Larger family-friendly accommodation types can also be a good option for a home-away-from-home experience with adjourning facilities such as your own private pool or sundeck.

The fun factor

Caption: Children ages four to nine can dive into a buffet of activities at Camp Safari

As parents, if you anticipate that keeping your children engaged on a holiday trip will prove more than a handful on a holiday, fret not. Many family-friendly resorts also offer dedicated children’s programmes ranging from single activities to half- or full-day programmes. With younger children, parents needn’t worry as babysitting services are also on hand.

The best of these programmes for children, such as the Kids' Club at Centara Hotels & Resorts, offers an entire day programmes of complimentary activities on a daily basis.

These include brand signature programmes such as Camp Safari and E-Zone, which cater to children of different ages. At Camp Safari, children ages four to nine can participate in as many activities to win special prizes and stickers. For older children between the ages of 10 to 17, the latest entertainment and games gadgetry such as PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and computer games are available at E-Zone.

Other activities such as painting, drawing, colouring, games, arts and crafts, Thai dancing, garland making and mobile making are also offered at its various properties.

It’s playtime!

It's play time! It's play time!

What would it take to sustain the interests of children at a resort? Having the necessary hardware - water parks, slides and sculptures - and design themes are sure ways to inspire enthusiasm and hours of uninterrupted playtime.

Staying at bigger resorts will offer the added benefit of scale, such as the Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya, where children can dive into a ‘Lost World’. The sprawling 19-storey ocean-facing resort is designed around an enormous water park replete with swimming pools, waterslides, giant sculptures and palm trees that tower over a lazy river and Monsoon Island.

At the Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, children can make a splash at any of the four swimming pools with children’s pool as well as an extensive water park complete with a lazy river, waterfalls, waterslides and Jacuzzi pool.

And the resorts certainly live up to the hype. At the recent TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Hotels 2018, the Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya topped the awards for Family Hotels in Thailand, while the Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket was ranked a fourth in the same category.

Maximising get-togethers

For urban dwellers, getting in touch with nature on vacation is a rare treat, with countries in the South-east Asia region like Thailand a popular choice for its tropical beaches and islands getaways.

Kick the action into high-gear with kitesurfing (Credit: haydenreece/Getty Images)

Kick the action into high-gear with kitesurfing (Credit: haydenreece/Getty Images)

Kick the action into high-gear with kitesurfing (Credit: haydenreece/Getty Images)

But beyond just a soak and tan in the sun, families with a more adventurous and sporty bent can consider other ways to maximise their experience by trying out something new. From water sports to marine activities, getting closer to nature provides a genuine way for parents and children to unplug and spend quality time together.

Thailand’s leading hotel group, Centara Hotels & Resorts offers a selection of adventure, sports and marine activities at its properties in enviable destinations such as Pattaya, Phuket, Ko Samui, Krabi and Maldives.

A dive centre and non-motorised water sports are available at Centara’s Krabi resort

A dive centre and non-motorised water sports are available at Centara’s Krabi resort

A dive centre and non-motorised water sports are available at Centara’s Krabi resort

At the Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, daytime activities for the whole family can include snorkelling, trekking, ATV rides and island hopping. At the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, the resort offers a PADI dive centre, and complimentary non-motorised water sports such as sailing, snorkelling, windsurfing and kayaking.

Nature within reach: Diving amongst the fishes offers active families a great setting to bond

Nature within reach: Diving amongst the fishes offers active families a great setting to bond

Nature within reach: Diving amongst the fishes offers active families a great setting to bond

For the ultimate nature experience, consider new private island destinations such as Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, which enjoys the private island setting of Machchafushi. There, families can opt to go on diving trips, snorkelling by day, as well as half- and full-day nature-based excursions such as sunset fishing and cruises. By evening, the resort offers families the unique experience of sleeping at its 112 villas, which are built directly over the crystal blue waters.

A well-rested parent
is a happy parent

On shorter trips, maximising your time with family as well as consciously setting aside some time for date nights or alone time can be challenging - and a main source of guilt for some parents.

To ease this burden, family-inclusive resorts offer a number of thoughtful features that are intended to give parents the option and peace of mind to take time off to rest and recharge. Centara Hotels & Resorts, an expert in family holidays, has family-friendly accommodations and facilities at more than 35 properties in 19 destinations, including the Centara Karon Resort Phuket, which has been a family favourite for seven consecutive years in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards.

Parents can benefit from additions such as two-tier spaces, one for families and children with meal inclusions and one for adult-only areas for parents, dedicated children pool and play areas, and supervised children’s programmes with daily activities and babysitting services.

While there is no perfect formula for family vacations, it certainly won’t hurt to have some rest, peace and quiet amid the family fun and laughter.

This article was brought to you by Centara Hotels & Resorts.