It no easy feat trying to sellotape together a holiday itinerary that both you, your husband and your kids will enjoy, says Cat Sims. With holidays costing the same as small houses in Hull these days, there’s a real pressure to get it right.
Firstly, you need to abandon all hopes of boutique hotels with inifinity pools and romantic, white bedrooms. Save those for kid-free trips. While it might sound appealing, your kids will get bored watching nubile young couples lying worryingly close to each other necking cocktails before 11am. And you’ll just get jealous. Sickeningly, psychosis-inducing, jealous.
So, as uninspiring as it sounds, lower your expectations. Think kids’ clubs, entertainment, all-inclusive, water slides. It may sound like the kind of place you’ve spent your entire adult life avoiding (and it is) but trust me, when your Smalls are happy to race off because Ingrid from Kids’ Club is doing finger painting with crab-claws while singing the Hokey-Cokey you’ll be overjoyed.
Go all in. All-inclusive can be a terrifying thought. The idea of being stuck eating at the same restaurant for a week or more is some people’s idea of hell. I always prefer a bit of self-catering but with children, it’s just not the holiday it used to be. Essentially, self-catering these days includes doing all the cooking and cleaning and shopping and washing that you normally would but in a house and a town that you don’t know. It would actually be more relaxing to stay at home. If you think about it, all inclusive actually has a number of bonuses:
- You didn’t have to shop/cook/clean once.
- You don’t have to roam around a hot Greek village looking for somewhere to eat that isn’t full or closed while a mewling toddler slowly explodes in a hot mess of hunger and grumpiness.
- Ice cream is available on tap which is great for two reasons. Every time you hear, “I’m bored,” you can say, “Why don’t you go and get an ice-cream darling?” and every time they’re about the throw their weight behind an epic meltdown you can quickly say, “If you misbehave, there will be no more ice-cream.”
- Booze. There’s booze all the time.
Spunk some extra cash on those little things that you think you don’t need but actually, you really, really do. Book meet and greet parking at the airport. You don’t need to be arriving for your 4am flight and having to wait in the middle of the night when it’s cold and wet for a transfer bus from the car park that’s only marginally closer to the airport terminal than your own house.
Also, book a private transfer at the other end. There’s nothing worse that waiting on a hot sticky coach while a 14 year old holiday rep rounds up the rest of the Brits abroad that need dropping off at their various hotels. Oh wait, yes there is…doing it with a toddler or two. Plus, it doesn’t matter where you’re staying, your hotel is always the last one on a route that included 143 previous hotels. As if that wasn’t bad enough the air-conditioning is always broken and some drunk post-GCSE students are always puking and or singing.
Finally make friends immediately with the barman, the restaurant hosts and the head of Kids’ Club and finally, relax.