For a long time our travel plans have been very much UK based. In fact for the first twelve years that Dave and I were together we only had two foreign holidays – both staying at my Uncle’s apartment in Spain. Growing up a foreign holiday wasn’t standard for either of us – my parents had different financial priorities – mainly moving house a lot as a result of Dad’s job. As such it has meant that booking an annual summer holiday hasn’t really been a thing for Dave and I – it just isn’t an expectation for either of us. A foreign holiday has always been seen as something of a luxury.
We took the kids abroad for the first time in summer 2015 when we travelled to Benodet for a family holiday with my parents and sister. It was hard work – the long drive was hard work, the long ferry crossing even harder and we found keeping an eye on three young children in an unfamiliar place quite stressful. As my friend’s husband once said, “It isn’t a holiday, it’s just looking after the kids somewhere else”. But we knew that as each year passed it would become easier.
Last year we travelled to France for a second time to stay at Chateau de lez Eaux with Eurocamp and had a really lovely break – the kids travelled really well, and we all benefited from the quality time together. We found we didn’t have to be watching them every second – we could sit on the beach and set them boundaries, or sit at the bar and watch them play in the park, Ben even started going to the campsite shop on his own to pick up our breakfasts – it stopped being “looking after the kids somewhere else” and felt like a real holiday.
Of course in July we upped our holiday game even further by taking the children on their first flight and popping our all-inclusive cherry with a week’s stay at Holiday Village Tenerife where we experienced the joy of top quality kids’ clubs, beautiful hotel rooms and all inclusive dining as well as an awesome day trip to Siam Park. Lying in the sun, reading a book whilst the kids were being fully entertained and cared for, we really felt we were living the holiday dream and at that point agreed that we would start to try and prioritise an annual summer holiday.
This year we already have a fairly full calendar of trips planned in. We’re thrilled to be working with Eurocamp again this year when we will be testing our travellers with a much longer car journey down to the South of France in search of sunshine in May! We’re planning to break up the long drive from Manchester to Languedoc with stopovers in Dover (which means a bonus visit to my Aunty M) and Loire – it means we will essentially have our road tripping spread over three days and we’re hoping to make it part of the adventure rather than a chore. Instead of stopping off at services for a quick half hour lunch and a wee, we want to take a leaf out of Donna‘s book and try to find some nice parks or National Trust type properties to really stretch our legs and explore along the way. (Suggestions and recommendations welcome!)
We’re planning a “multi-generational villa holiday” in the summer – which basically means we’re going on holiday with Mum & Dad and Aunty Nic again. This time we’re going to book a large villa with a private pool which should tick boxes for allowing the grown ups to relax whilst keeping the kids well entertained (they practically grow gills on holiday!) We haven’t quite decided on a destination as yet, we need somewhere where we know we’re going to get the sunshine we all crave without it being too hot that we can’t sit out in it, we’re looking for a nice nearby town to escape to for lunches or dinner without the kids and a water park (I think this is more for Dave’s benefit than anything else!). (Again, suggestions and recommendations are more than welcome!)
And then finally, Dave and I have booked a child-free trip to Italy in August. Long time readers will know that were extremely lucky that Dave’s mum likes to have the kids for around a week for us in August which we’ve fondly nicknamed “Fun Week” – this is usually a time we concentrate on getting jobs done around the house, going out for breakfast and drinking cocktails in the afternoon. This year though, one of my oldest friends, has invited us to his 40th birthday party in Minori and the timing was perfect for us. We’ve managed to book a five night stay in Italy with my best friend and her husband which I’m stupidly giddy about – Kirst and I last went on holiday together fifteen years ago! I’m so excited for a proper grown up holiday with some of my favourite people – it’s definitely shaping up to be a highlight of the year for us!
So, as you can see, it’s already looking like a pretty busy year before we’ve even factored in festivals and UK-based adventures! What travel plans have you got for 2019?