Top Ferry Travel Tips for Family Holidays

Family ferry holidays can be a great way to minimise the stress of travel while maximising relaxation on the go - especially if you’ve got a kiddo or two in tow.  We’ve selected some of our top ferry tips that will remind you that getting there is half the fun.

Plan to hop behind the wheel while you’re away? Make sure you’ve got car insurance that works for you, wherever you are.

Don’t Skip the Short Trip: Try Dublin or Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead (2 hrs approx)

Want a quick fix for your weekend? Zip to Dublin or Dun Laoghaire and hop onto the ferry to Holyhead. All things considered, it’s likely simpler and more enjoyable than a flight (less security, less standing, less hassle) and allows you to take your wheels along so you can properly soak in the scenery of Wales. Alternately, zoom into the cities of Liverpool or Manchester in just over 2 hours.  There’s also a connection between Larne in Northern Ireland to Cairnryan in Scotland that takes only two hours, which is quite convenient if you live in the North.

Looking to head further south? The fastest sailing from Ireland to France starts in Cork and ends in Roscoff, coming in at 14 hours overnight.

Long Haul Hints

Sometimes it’s worth the extra hours onboard for the experience of travelling with your own car, the convenience of endless (or almost) bags to pack, and skipping the airport experience altogether. The longest ferry from Ireland is from Dublin to Cherbourg, France in 19 hours. This is an overnight trip, meaning you can snooze and cruise at the same time and wake up in a new country in the morning. 

Make sure you’ve brought up all your necessities for an overnight stay when you come aboard, you’ve got enough food and drinks for yourself unless you’re fine to buy them on board, and you’ve got plenty of things to do to pass the time while you travel. Also, just in case you forgot to pack your sea legs, it’s always a good idea to pack some sea sick tablets.

Keeping the Kids Happy

There are tons of tips and tricks to employ before setting foot on a ferry with small children. Most of these start and end with space: make sure your little lad or lady has enough to roam, run, sleep or –because we’ve all been there- throw a tantrum. An easy way to make sure you’re set is to book a cabin if you’re going to be travelling more than a few hours. It gives you a place to put your bags while you explore with your little one, a space for naptime, and a place for those who are still potty training. 

Another space to keep your eye out for is the kid-friendly/family facilities. Ferries are normally a godsend for young families, so most of them have spaces for shops, snacks, cinemas, and play areas. Some might even have kid-friendly dining areas.

Best Budget Tips

As a general rule, it’s always to give yourself some breathing room before booking, as the closer you get to a date, the higher the price normally is. For many lines, you get the best prices if you book 60 days or more before you travel (though on some, you can push it to 41 days).  Midweek travel is also cheaper. If you’ve got your sea legs and you take the ferry often, see if the line you take offers frequent traveller schemes. 

If you’ve already booked and you’re still strapped for cash, a simple way to keep down the price is to bring your own food with you—both snacks and meals. A sandwich isn’t the most gourmet way to kick off your trip, but it leaves some cash for you to have a better meal when you’ve got both feet back on solid ground.


Planning to set sail soon? Make sure you’ve got the right family travel insurance and enjoy your trip worry-free.


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