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Travelling as a family requires more planning and thought than perhaps the last minute, impulsive trips you might have booked before having children. When you only have yourselves to think about, booking cheap flights and accomodation was enough – you could worry about everything else later. However, flying by the seat of your pants when you add children into the mix can make things more stressful than fun and as such planning ahead to make sure everyone’s needs are going to be met is preferrable.
As our children are getting older and a little easier to travel with, we are starting to branch out and try different types of holidays. With that in mind I thought I’d share four ways to holiday with children:
We are relatively recent converts to camping – I always felt it was too much hassle and I couldn’t really be bothered with all the faff setting up and the amount of equipment required but after a Wild Living experience in the Lake District a few years ago our heads were turned and we’ve since made sure we take several camping trips a year – sometimes we take our tent to festivals, sometimes we stay at UK based campsites with friends. Of course a step up from taking your own tent and equipment everywhere is to book a mobile home with a company such as Eurocamp which is definitely a more convenient way of doing things if you’re looking to travel abroad! For us, a camping holiday abroad allows us to budget carefully whilst still meeting the needs of our family. New places and cultures to explore combined with water parks and swimming pools for the kids and the general all around feeling of relaxation that comes with camping – if you haven’t tried it yet, give it a go – you might be surprised.
Self-Catering Villa holidays
Self-catering villa holidays (or indeed cottages and lodges if you’re thinking of staying in the UK) are ideal for us as a larger family – having the space to be able to put the kids to bed whilst the adults stay up is a key factor in why a villa holidays works for us as a family of five. Being able to go with the flow rather than having to work our day around the structures of a hotel or worrying about whether we can get a spot by the pool is also a win! Booking a self-catering villa with a private pool means the kids are thoroughly entertained but you don’t have to deal with other holiday makers! Of course you do have to considering cooking your own food or going out for meals but we like that we have the option to pick and choose! As such a self-catering villa holiday can be a great way of keeping on top of your spending – you don’t have to go anywhere if you don’t want to! (That said, Dave will always make sure there’s a decent water park nearby – I don’t think he feels like he’s been on holiday if slides haven’t been involved!)
This is a new one for us and not something we’ve tried yet – I’ve always been a little unsure of the idea of a cruise but increasingly friends are suggesting to me that I need to try cruising as a family. I love the idea of being able to explore more of the world in one go but I do wonder if I’d get frustrated at the stops being too short and not being able to immerse myself fully in the places we were visting. I think cruising as a family is probably akin to an all-inclusive hotel break where everything is already planned and sorted for you, you just have to pick and choose the bits that suit you and your family. I think I’ll keep me eye out for some great cruise deals and see if anything tickles my fancy!
We had our first experience of an all-inclusive family holiday last year and it was something of a game-changer for us. Dave described it as being a “take your brain out” holiday – we just didn’t have to think about anything at all beyond which pool we wanted to go to and what time we fancied dinner. The kids’ clubs allowed the children to try new things and kept them entertained for a few hours at a time whilst Dave and I enjoyed some peace and the evening entertainment was a win for the kids. An all-inclusive menu meant that the children were free to try different foods without worrying about the fact that they might not like it. Of course there are downsides – having to book two hotel rooms can be expensive (though we were lucky at the Be Live hotel to have two interconnecting rooms which made life much easier) and of course there’s always the sunbed battle to consider!
Have you made holiday plans this year?