Holidays can seem a daunting thing when you have children. All of a sudden, that longed for break is more about ‘life as normal but in a prettier location’, but without all of the things that you have to hand at home to make life easier – toys, gadgets, TV – all of those parenting crutches are gone! We’ve had a few holidays as a family since our children came along, and there are certain things that we definitely look for to make our perfect family holiday.
A Home from Home
Pre-children we were all about a luxury hotel, but all of our holidays since Max came along have been villa holidays or cottages in the UK. I find the flexibility of having your own base so much easier – you don’t have to worry about upsetting other guests, or conforming to set meal times. Especially when you’re in continental Europe and dinner time is so late, I love that you can just whip up dinner on the BBQ at 5pm, pop the kids in bed, and relax on the terrace with a glass of wine. Tots to Travel family friendly holidays have a huge selection of villas which are perfectly set up for families with young children, and will provide all of the items you would have at home – cots, high chairs, kids cutlery, play areas, sterilisers. A great way to save on your packing!
Location is key for us. I’m not up for a long flight, so places like Italy, France, the Greek Islands, and Spain are ideal. The flight is short enough that it’s over before things really start to get difficult, and if you have your under two year old on your lap, it’s not too uncomfortable. UK holidays are also great – we love Cornwall, and, although it can be a long car drive, I find the fact that you have the flexibility to break it up means that it’s bearable with kids.
Italy always tops our list for a family holiday due to the Italians’ love of children. Every time we visit, it makes me wonder whether we actually despise children in the UK. In Italy, Max has been welcomed anywhere we’ve gone and treated like a king. At home, I’m often conscious of his behaviour in restaurants and feel like I’m constantly asking him to keep his voice down, but the Italians don’t appear to be bothered by it at all and completely embrace his exuberant personality.
I realised the other day that we’ve not actually had a full holiday since having children without my parents coming along too! I’m lucky that we get on with them, and having them around, even if it’s only for part of the holiday, is fantastic. More pairs of hands on deck is always welcome, and it means that we can sneak in a few child free nights as they are happy to babysit. If you rent a villa, often it’s not much more expensive for a 6 person villa than a 4, so it works out really well for us.
Good Food & Drink
Holidays are all about eating and drinking! Whether it’s eating out or having a BBQ, it’s a chance to break from the normal routine. Another reason why we love Italy – gelato, pizza, pasta, and t-bone steak! What’s not to love? And what’s a holiday without good wine to enjoy? I love relaxing in the evening with pre-dinner drinks, and a glass or two of red wine with dinner as the sun sets.
A Beach / A Pool
I’m definitely a sunshine holiday person, so a beach or a pool (or ideally both!) is essential. Max can be entertained on the beach for hours, making sandcastles and sending Daddy down to the sea to collect water for him, and there is something about being on the beach that relaxes me. I remember taking Max to the beach in St Ives in Cornwall when he was just 7 weeks old and paddling in the water with him.
If you can’t have a beach, a pool is almost as good! Last year we rented a villa in Tuscany which had a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the Tuscan hills – the perfect spot to watch the sun set. If you’re concerned about a pool when you have young children, lots of villas will have the pool area secured to prevent children from wandering in.
What makes your perfect family holiday? Villa or all-inclusive? Close to home, or far flung adventures? I’d love to know what kind of holiday works for your family!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Tots to Travel