As a child, travel didn’t feature all that highly on our agenda. We weren’t the sort of family who went abroad every year without fail, I think I can count on one hand the number of foreign holidays we had. That’s not to say I missed out – we had a couple of big trips to America to visit friends which were huge adventures and ones I have clear memories of. It’s just that foreign holidays weren’t “routine” or”expected”. For the most part Mum & Dad concentrated on investing their money in houses (though it’s safe to say they are more than making up for lost time now, in fact as I write this they are adventuring in Vietnam).
As such I’ve always seen a family holiday as a luxury, not a right. Something to be planned for, saved for and looked forward to. The thought of feeling the sun on your face, the sand between your toes and cool ice cream on your lips . . keeping you going as you countdown to your very own bit of paradise.
As a family of five, holidaying can be expensive – thus far we’ve stuck to self catering breaks within relatively easy driving distance – so France or the UK. But we’re ready to spread our wings and venture further afield. The kids are older now, they are more ready go explore the world and remember their adventures. The idea of flying fills them with excitement and Dave and I want to feel like we’ve had a proper luxurious holiday too – one that doesn’t involve days of preparation and planning or games of car tetris with tents and sleeping bags!
We’ve learned over time that self catering cottages or villa holidays are the ideal for us when we travel as a family. Hotels often mean shared bedrooms and early nights for grown ups whereas a villa allows us to create a home from home. A space to properly relax and settle ourselves in to make the most of our holiday so that we feel like we’ve had a break too. A base from which to explore and investigate – whilst I’m all about the relaxation and fun on holiday, there has to be a little adventure too!
In my twenties holidays were for devouring books by the pool, dozing on the beach or lounging on a boat trip. Now of course I’m not saying I don’t still love all those things (in fact it sounds like utter bliss) but holidaying as a parent is different. In fact I remember my friend’s husband saying “It isn’t going on holiday anymore, it’s just looking after the kids somewhere else“. At the time I agreed with him, however I’ve now realised he was wrong. It is a holiday. Of course it’s not the lazy, drunken holidays of your youth for sure but it’s still a holiday. You just have to shift your mindset.
Now holidays are about swimming pools, slides and screams of laughter. They’re about sun cream and hats and inflatable donuts. They’re about exploring new places, trying new foods and learning new words. They’re about keeping the kids up late or enjoying a drink on the balcony after they’ve gone up bed. Holidays with kids are about quality time together, about making memories and having fun.
And whilst we can have fun on the beach in the pouring rain in January, or go three days without a proper toilet or running water in the Lakes I think we all want a little luxury every now and again don’t we!
*This post is my entry for the #SimpsonTravelFamily ambassador competition*