Our love affair with Sri Lanka knows no bounds it seems, with the sub-continental destination topping the popularity charts for some years now.

Frankly, we’re not surprised. It’s one of the easiest, most welcoming destinations for kids, with a shorter flight time than the Americas or South East Asia but best of all, as a two-climate island, is perfect to travel at Christmas, Easter and during the UK’s school summer holidays.

Just back from Sri Lanka herself, Mulette Helene, herself a mum of three, has these following top tips on how to keep your kids entertained and travel happy whilst there.

Sri Lanka family travel - village visit by ox cart

Top Ten Tips for a Hassle-free Holiday

1. Don’t be scared of encouraging them to try funny sounding foods. Spring hoppers are just plain old rice noodles and curd is just natural yoghurt. Before long they’ll be stretching themselves to potato curry and milk rice – though there is usually always pasta for supper and eggs any which way for breakfast, so no one will go hungry.

2. Get up early. For parents of early risers it will just be business as usual. For late starters though, it really is worth making the effort to set that alarm, beat the heat and the crowds, take some snacks for breakfast on the road and get to the next stop in time for fun in the pool.

3. Turn that vicious air con off! The first thing I do when I walk into a hotel room. Air conditioning is usually on full blast in hotels and is not only freezing but also noisy, often accompanied by a luminous bright light which is hopeless for sleeping but also really bad at allowing your body to adjust to the ambient temperature. A low setting ceiling fan is much nicer.

4. Pack a ‘Spork’. If you are up for trying a local lunch at one of the many roadside stalls, you will need a fork and spoon as the locals use their (right) hand – much as some children will relish this thought. A knife will also come in handy when you are desperate to try a juicy mango, papaya, Jackfruit etc… from one of the snacks along the road.

5. Stick with bottled water. Many hotels will greet you with a cold flannel and glass of delicious wood apple/passion fruit/soursop/coconut etc… juice. These should be fine as the hotel industry recognise that travellers prefer bottled water and mix the juice accordingly. When it doubt, check.

6. If you can, make sure the children have their own cameras and have them at the ready at all times. Wildlife abounds in Sri Lanka and I would never have snapped that elephant on the road if my camera had been packed away. Similarly, sometimes the best off-the-cuff shots are taken through a car window.

7. Time for the kids to do what they love – wear the same thing day in/day out. Yes, minimise the packing and let them wear the same clothes with just a quick rinse each night. Things dry in a few hours in the tropics and it will end up in the same state before lunch so why not make your life easier…

8. Bring some entertainment that does not require charging. Take them back to pre-tablet/IPod days and pack a travel draughts/ludo set, a puzzle book or anything that does not involve strife should there be a power cut.

9. Pop some socks in your bag for when you visit certain religious sites. You will need to take your shoes off and it is no laughing matter for you, let alone the youngsters, to walk around on the stone floors in the burning heat – or should I say hop around…

10. Teach them a few words of Singhalese and Tamil. If your six year old managed an ‘Ayubowan’ they will be welcomed with open arms into the hotel/restaurant/spice garden/tea plantation/village – and soon be playing cricket or hide and seek or swapping games on phones and crossing the great cultural divide.

Sri Lanka family travel - photo of elephant snapped from car

Sri Lanka family travel tips – make sure the kids have their cameras at the ready…

Sri Lanka family travel – Top Tips for Parents

Helene has some top tips for parents, too. Remember that alcohol is not automatically served everywhere, most hotels are fitted with multi plugs so an exchange plug is not necessary and, most importantly of all, treat low denomination notes (100 rupees and under) as gold dust – vital for small purchases and tipping.

For more information about a Sri Lanka family holiday read our useful overview and check out our list of places to visit in Sri Lanka. You can also read what other families have said in our Sri Lanka customer reviews section.

In addition, our Sri Lanka section has two typical example Sri Lanka family itineraries – one that suits summer travel and the other that is ideal for Christmas or Easter holidays. And lastly, see our Sri Lanka with kids top ten activities.

Get in touch

If you’d like to talk to Helene or any of the team about Sri Lanka family travel, we’d be delighted to hear from you, so please do ring on 01728 752751 or get in touch using our online form.

Sri Lanka family travel - Helene about to eat an enormous Jackfruit

Sri Lanka family travel tips – you’ll need a knife in order to sample a delicious Jackfruit from a road-side stall