The 5 thoughts every parent has taking their kids on holidays.

Universal Pictures
Thanks to our brand partner, Universal Pictures

The annual holiday dilemma: To stay home or go on a family vacay. 

Every year, when the school WhatsApp groups begin to ping with messages about Christmas concerts and presents for the teacher, I realise that the school holidays are imminent, and I need a plan. I wonder if a family holiday is a brilliant idea or if settling for a staycation is easier. 

As if literally reading my mind, Illumination Studios are about to release a hilarious family movie, Migration, that brings to life every feeling I have about family holidays.

I love animated family movies, especially ones filled with LOL moments for adults as well as kids (after all, why should kids have all the fun). So, when I heard that the creators of Minions, Despicable Me, Sing, and The Secret Life of Pets (should I go on?) were releasing a movie about a duck family going on an action-packed adventure, I was keen for a sneak peek. 

It was like watching my family holidays through the lens of a duck family, the Mallards.

The story starts like many of my family holiday decisions do.

By day 2 of the school holidays, the kids have NOTHING to do and are desperate to do something fun. But they are being held back by the boring adults. In my case, it's typically that pesky responsibility of work. On-screen, the dad, Mack, wants to keep his family safe in their New England Pond forever. Cue a rebellion from mum Pam, who is keen to show the kids, Dax and Gwen, life outside of their little pond and embark on a family trip south for winter to visit the tropical paradise of Jamaica.


I haven’t been to Jamaica (I wish), but I was definitely on Team Pam.

As the Mallard’s migration from New England to New York and then onto Jamaica drew me in, I couldn’t help but reflect on the thoughts I (and most likely every parent) have when taking their kids on holidays.

1. Things don’t often go to plan

As the Mallards set out on their big adventure, they head north instead of south, straight into a storm and heron’s nest. There is no judgment here; my sense of direction is truly dreadful. My kids barely trust me to drive them to school without a map.

Twenty-four hours into our first post-lockdown family holiday to Fiji, my oldest son and I found ourselves testing positive for COVID-19 and sent to iso in a ‘COVID room’ for the week. Yay for the fun-filled family holiday we planned. Embracing the change, we spent the week ordering room service, watching Netflix, kicking a footy and eating ice-cream. It was a week we will be talking about forever!

Watch: The trailer for Universal Pictures' all-new Migration film featuring "Out of the Woods (Taylor’s Version)". Post continues below.

2. Going off-track can lead to joy

On our last family holiday, as my husband and sons wandered around yet another sports store, my daughter and I entered a quirky-looking art shop. When we stepped inside, we discovered it wasn’t an art shop at all, but the most mesmerising, magical, and fun art exhibition we’d ever encountered (and I’ve been to a LOT of art exhibitions). Convincing one of her brothers to come with us, we spent an entire afternoon ‘playing’ with art. Our accidental discovery of an art exhibit was my daughter's highlight of the trip. 


Sometimes, the best memories are most definitely not in the itinerary.

Image: Supplied.


3. Hanging out with the kids is genuinely fun.

Watching Migration's Mack have a ‘cloud’ ball fight with his kids in the sky reminded me of the fun you can have on holidays with the kids. During school term, when housework and work-work never seem to end, it can be hard to step away from the laptop, chores, and nagging (just me?). But on holidays, when you don’t need to ask kids to make their lunchboxes, do their homework, or put the washing away, it can be super fun to hang out. I love surfing with the kids or challenging them to a game of table tennis or pool. 

Just don’t ask me to play Monopoly; it’s a family feud waiting to happen.

4. Will the kids get on?

Image: Supplied.


At home, I worry my kids don’t get on. After all, they can never find a TV show to watch together, seemingly can’t play the Nintendo together, and outrightly refuse to walk to school at the same time. But on holidays, the dynamic changes. They will boogie board in the surf for hours, only complaining when I drag them away. They will work together to solve a jigsaw or complete a sudoku, talking and chatting like best friends. 

Who knew the secret to sibling harmony was a change of scenery?

5. The travel bug is real.

Image: Supplied.


As the Mallards dream of their next adventure in the film, I’m reminded that once bitten by the travel bug, the desire to continue seeking new, exciting adventures lives on. It's not just about visiting new places; it's about creating shared experiences that bond us together like glue. And let’s face it, every family needs a little glue to keep the family unit intact. 

So, are family holidays worth it? 

Absolutely. Despite my yearly hesitation, family holidays are an incredible investment in the special people I share my life with every day. I think even Mack Mallard would agree.

So what are my family holiday plans for these school hols?

As the Christmas Concert messages flood WhatsApp, it is time to plan our January holiday. Perhaps a trip to the Gold Coast to visit the cousins or the Central Coast to see grandparents. Yes, clearly, the surf and sun are high on my holiday priorities (lucky the kids love the beach). And on Boxing Day, you’ll find us at the cinema, popcorn in hand, enjoying the Mallard’s Migration.

Watch Migration landing in cinemas Boxing Day.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Universal Pictures
Migration is in cinemas Boxing Day.