Antonia Kidman is a television presenter, author of parenting tome The Simple Things and (famously) the sister of Nicole Kidman. Perhaps less famously, she is also the mother of 6 children between the ages of 14 years and 3 months with whom she travels frequently. She tells suitcases&strollers about the logistics of international jetsetting with a large troupe.
How often do you travel with the entire family?
Usually twice a year we will do some kind of family holiday together. We have just returned from a great trip to Phuket, a destination that suits all our needs. We’ll aim to do something at the end of this year too; we would love to do family ski trip again.
How do you chose family holiday destinations that make everyone happy?
It can be tricky, which is why we tend to go back to the same places if they work for us. I also like to create memories of a family holiday that are similar to what my mine were as a child by returning to the familiar and allowing the kids to get excited because they know the place, the people and therefore can enjoy a degree of freedom and independence there.
How do you select accommodation for a large family?
[Self]-contained apartments, villas or houses are best for us. I like separate living and sleeping areas and a kitchen is important as it can be hard (and expensive) depending entirely on in-house [hotel or resort] food. If we travel with a smaller group, then a couple of inter-connecting rooms in a hotel are fine, but this is for a short period of time.
How do you arrange seating on the plane?
My husband and I need to be next to the two youngest and the others are usually in a row in front or behind. The older children regularly travel unaccompanied, either as minors, or (in the case of the 12- and 14-year-olds) as adults. They are very good at looking after themselves, which I guess comes from being part of a large family.
How much luggage do you typically have?
On the trip to Phuket we only had five check-in bags and a pram. Skiing will be a different story though. Usually, two kids share a bag and they each have a carry on.
How do you coordinate car travel for a large family?
A van! If we do [go on a driving holiday] I guess we will need two cars. We have an eight-seater, but it wouldn’t fit all the other things like the pram and bags.
Does travelling with a large family get easier or more difficult with each child?
I don’t know if it gets easier with more kids, I think it only gets easier as they get older. The biggest thing for us when travelling with eight is the time it takes to fill out immigration forms!
Where is your favourite family holiday destination?
Silverstar Canada or Thredbo Australia. We always have the best time skiing. It is one of the great family holidays because we all do it together, it is active, fun and everyone loves it. [For more tips on skiing with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
What are your tips for other large families considering planning family holidays?
I like it to be worth our while in terms of time. I like to have at least 10 days otherwise it is not really worth the effort involved in packing and unpacking. Jet lag can difficult with young children and I don’t enjoy the three nights I find it takes to get them on schedule. I think destinations that are close to home and familiar are best for us while our children are very young. As they get older then it is time to explore further afield.
To read more about the practicalities of travelling with a large family, see the suitcases&strollers story here.
Images: Stuart Scott