How To Give Your Kids More Freedom On Holiday 

Travelling with children

Kids freedom on holiday

Families don’t always get the opportunity to go on holiday as much as they’d like. As an opportunity to bond without the distractions of normal working life and a chance to form life-long memories, holidays are a unique and invaluable time for busy families.

Holidays are also good for you and your kids. In fact, they make your children happier and smarter – so it’s an important part of their upbringing. To make the most of the holidays you go on as a family, we’ve got some top tips to give your kids more freedom which’ll help grow their independence, support their learning and, more than anything, let you all have great fun. Check them out:

1. Let them pack their own bags

Start things the right way by giving your kids more freedom early on. To make them feel fully involved and excited about their trip, the 101 of how to fly with children suggests getting them their own bag to pull onto the plane. Fill in with much needed time-killers (like activity or colouring books) and let them choose a book of choice and a favourite toy.

2. Give them a day to plan

To engage the curiosity and imagination of your kids, let them choose an activity for one of your days away. Share ideas with them to kick-start the process and browse the internet together to see what sparks their interest – whether that’s trying out something new together, visiting somewhere iconic, or a family-favourite activity. Book early to avoid disappointment.

3. Push yourself

If you’re not ready to set up rendezvous points for everyone to return to within a reasonable timeframe and allow your kids to adventure on their own, Everyday Family recommend setting an eyeshot (or earshot) approach. Let your children roam ahead or behind of you, but ask them to ask within your line of sight or hearing distance. Try not to interfere if they’re happy roaming and exploring at their own pace.

4. Give them financial independence

Without a doubt, your kids will see a souvenir, activity or even just an ice cream they want during your holiday. Instead of having to come and ask your permission every time, why not give them their own holiday allowance. It’s a way of overseeing what your kids are spending, without cramping their style.

It’s a great way of teaching them about the importance of money management and you could even give them holiday savings goal to top up their holiday budget before you head off.

Giving your kids more freedom is daunting, but it’s essential to loosen the reins as they grow up. How much freedom you decide is, of course, up to you – but hopefully these ideas will help you with your upcoming holiday. What other ways do you encourage their independence on holiday? Share your tips and experiences with us.

Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Coromandel
  • Dunedin
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Hawkes Bay
  • North Canterbury
  • Manawatu
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Northland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Rotorua
  • Queenstown
  • Taranaki
  • South Canterbury
  • Taupo
  • Southland
  • Waikato
  • Wanaka
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…

Auckland destination2

Auckland

New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!

Wellington

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.

Christchurch

With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.

Queenstown

With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.

Rotorua

Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!

Northland

Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.