Often trips are laid out for singles or couples. But what if you want to travel as a family? What are your experiences when you travel with children who all have their own opinions and what can you expect? When I talk about children, I mean eight to twelve-year-olds. Of course, every child is different and these are just some tips and experiences I have made.
We, as a family of five, travelled to Kerry for a one-night stay and put a whole lot of action into it. Here is what I learned about travel with children in general and what you can do with them in Kerry.
Tip #1 – Length
Staying only one night is often not a bad idea. Especially with children, it can be easier to travel for a shorter period of time. Every child will want to bring some books, toys, and other things they just like to have around. And that’s fair enough. In the evenings, children need to be entertained too. The longer you travel, the more things they will bring. So, either your car will be packed to the top or – if you were to fly somewhere – there will be a lot of baggage to add on.
Tip #2 – Accomodation
We planned our stay rather spontaneously – not the best idea. There are a lot fewer places suitable for families with more than two children. Therefore, by booking in advance, you won’t only get a better price but also more options.
Apart from places being booked out early anyway, there are also fewer accommodation possibilities when you travel with five people. Family rooms are very rarely equipped for five people. So, you either have to book two rooms or look for something else. Whether you are comfortable booking two rooms or not highly depends on how old your children are or if you are okay to not sleep in the same room as your partner.
The best solution I found for travel accommodation with children is self-catering options. These come mostly as houses or apartments with kitchens and sitting rooms as well as multiple bedrooms. Not only is everyone together, you also have a bigger space available, and can make meals you and your kids like. Self-catering houses and apartments can be found on many different web pages, but two of the most popular ones are Airbnb and booking.com.
Although you have a bigger space to yourselves, houses and apartments are not necessarily more expensive. Most of them are the same price as B&Bs and are often even cheaper than hotels.
Tip #3 – Decision making
At least when your children are old enough to, let them have a voice in the planning. Show them the different accommodation options you have found and tell them the possible things you can do there. You want your children to enjoy the holiday just as much as you do. And a child that moans and complains the entire time because you are only doing things they don’t like, isn’t much fun either.
You will be surprised about how much of an idea they have of what to do. Children also have a different perspective of things and can suggest things you didn’t think of. In the end, it is a family holiday and every member should be looking forward to it.
But now, on to Kerry. As mentioned at the start, we only stayed in Kerry for one night. However, we had two good days on Ireland’s west coast. We stayed in an Airbnb in Tralee and planned our trips around the Dingle Peninsula and surrounding areas. Here is a list of a few things you can do there.
First, if you have never been to Kerry before, you will be absolutely blown away by the view. This is not the place where you want to be lost in your phone. The only reason you should have your mobile device out is to take picture after picture.
Roads lead you right beside (or on top) of mountains with the sea on the other side. Often I didn’t know whether to look left or right first.
Mount Brandon is a 952 high mountain and one of the top ten peaks in Ireland. There are multiple ways of climbing it, all with different lengths and difficulty levels. Unless your children are fit, motivated and enthusiastic about the hike, don’t take the route starting in Faha. Most places will suggest this route as it is the most scenic one. However, with 6-7 hours, it is also the longest and most difficult one. Instead, take the one that starts from the west and is called the medieval pilgrim’s route (also called The Saint’s Route).
Due to the short time and hot weather we didn’t hike up Mount Brandon, but for everyone who is interested, read this article by The Idyll.
On our way from Tralee to Brandon Bay Beach, we had the absolute best weather. However, at a certain point, we drove into dense fog and drove in it for about seven minutes. Afterwards, the sun was shining at its best again. Whatever that was, it was very unusual and unexpected, but also added to the whole Kerry experience. Once we arrived at Brandon Bay, the view didn’t disappoint. The beach is located facing Mount Brandon and, with the fog in front of it, it seemed like the mountain was flying on top of a cloud. The beach is not huge but the view is absolutely stunning.
A quick hint in advance: The water is relatively cold.
For dinner, we decided to go to the famous town of Dingle. On our way to the Peninsula’s name-giving town, we drove over the Conor Pass. The Conor Pass is one of Ireland’s highest mountain passes with scenic views you can only imagine. The pass is 12 km long and drives you right into Dingle. The always bending road leads you up through mountains only to show you the beauty of the Peninsula. If the pass happens to be on your way, don’t miss out. Not only you but also your children won’t stop wowing at the stunning view.
However, take your time driving up. Take stops and look around. The roads are right beside cliffs and the tiniest distraction can lead to an accident you don’t want to happen.
Dingle is a very beautiful Irish town, just as you would imagine it to be. There are plenty of restaurants around where everyone can find the food they want. Prices shouldn’t be any more expensive than they are, nonetheless, that is to be expected. There are also some cute little souvenir shops where you can get something to always remind you of your special trip to Kerry.
Dingle also has the Oceanworld Aquarium and many boat offers. I can’t say a lot about the aquarium apart from it being there since we didn’t visit it. It is open daily, for more information check out their website.
Dingle Boat Tours offer a lot of different boat rides, from ferries over to the Blasket Islands to self-riding boats, you can book a lot of different options.
Slea Head Drive
The Slea Head Drive is another route to follow when you are on the Dingle Peninsula. It takes about three hours to complete and shows you some of the spots you keep seeing on Instagram. There are many places to stop at and explore, including beaches. Therefore, if you and your kids don’t mind a drive, give this one a try and see more of Kerry’s beauty.
Jamie Knox is the only paid activity we did and it was definitely worth every cent. Located on the Dingle Peninsula as well, Jamie Knox offers a lot of water activities for the whole family. We decided to take some surfing lessons. For a good price, we got 90 minutes in the water including board and wetsuit. The teacher we had was absolutely amazing. After a short introduction, we went straight into the sea. Our instructor spent some time with each of us individually, set us up for waves, and was giving tips. He was also very good with children. At some point, he spent about ten minutes with our eight-year-old and got him to stand up on the board! Therefore, there is no age limit for surfing and if you want to get your kids into it, Jamie Knox is the place.
Afterwards, we went on the water trampolines they offered separately and spent a whole hour of fun in the water. Everybody was exhausted afterwards but it was nothing food couldn’t fix.
To summarise, there is a whole lot that you can do in Kerry. It is just up to you how much time and money you want to spend. Travelling with children to Kerry makes the journey a different experience, all in a good way.
Have you been to Kerry before and think I missed some of the highlights? Let me know in the comments.