As a travel writer with a toddler and a baby it’s not uncommon to be asked what makes the perfect family holiday?
Do you know what, it’s not about the location or a specific activity – it’s the whole package. You show me a travel company that not only offers ‘family holidays’ but has actually engaged brain over what this actually means- what does a baby need, a toddler, a child, a tweenager, a teenager need? What do parents require whilst on holiday? What does a family desire when ‘getting away from it all’? What will relax them, bring smiles to tiny faces and create special memories? Has anyone really thought this through??
For a start I want a company that offers its flight departures at convenient times. (A family holiday that leaves at 6am, check in at 4am, um, no thank you). Let’s leave during daylight hours please.
With young children we currently don’t want to go long haul – Mr Husband and I don’t have the mental capacity or tenacity for such an intense undertaking. (Other long haul passengers should thank us). I love European destinations, ideally the Mediterranean, where we can feel the sun on our faces after a brief flight and transfer. And yes, hit me with it, I love a good pool and a nearby beach.
I’d love family friendly activities. I’m a big fan of cycling, swimming, sailing, snorkelling and I’d love to try something new. Mr Toddler and Mr Husband love sports, and Mr Baby just likes it if we include him in anything – poor second child.
We take our tots away to spend quality time with them but a bit of couple-time wouldn’t go amiss, but couple-time seems like an impossible dream as child care is rarely available for children under three years old. What’s wrong with two year olds – they’re adorable aren’t they, AREN’T THEY? Is there a company that offers quality child care for toddlers or babies? Perhaps a trustworthy listening service in the evenings or a range of evening activities to engage and entertain the young discerning holidaymaker.
What else makes a great family holiday? Good food and drink, and plenty of it – Yay. Sounds like a no-brainer, granny-suck-eggs kinda stuff but you’d be surprised. Parents want a children’s menu that’s yummy, not just junk food, and served at times that work for all the family. 9.00pm may be very continental but my tots dine around 5.30pm GMT. I try to be as flexible as possible but they are very grumpy, very miserable diners if they’re exhausted at the table. To avoid flying food, tears and spilled milk let’s eat early.
The cherry on the proverbial cake would be access to a separate ‘Parent Kitchen’ for preparing and sterilising bottles, heating puree, prepping fruit for your toddler or popping some supplies for the tots in the fridge – does such a place exist?
And what about the accommodation? It’s so important. Who doesn’t want sumptuous surroundings? As a parent I don’t want to sit in the dark quietly when the babies are asleep next to me, I’d be better off in my own living room. I want mummy and daddy space for mummy and daddy time, so in my dreams I picture a spacious family suite with room for all the rugrats and an area for the adults to chillax with a glass of vino.
Location? If I found all the resources I’ve mentioned above I would holiday on the moon if required, but generally I love an island destination. Mr Toddler has already larged it in Ibiza, he’s sailed from Corfu to Paxos then onto Anti-Paxos, and he’s sunned his cute little derriere in Mallorca and Tenerife along with Mr Baby. And they both braved the wind and the rain on the hugely atmospheric Scottish island of Lewis and Harris. Next on our wish list is Corsica – pourquoi? Pourquoi pas. We haven’t visited a French island before, I’d hope to visit some of the renowned rock formations and cliffs, explore the architecture of Corsica’s religious buildings and enjoy the beaches and seafood on offer. But does this holiday exist?
Unbelievably I have stumbled across a company which offers all of the resources I’ve listed above. I haven’t travelled with them yet but you won’t be shocked to hear that I’d like to. The company’s called Mark Warner Holidays and I’d love to hear if you’ve travelled with them at all and also what you think would make the perfect family holiday. At Tots2Travel we strive to find you to best family holiday recommendations and we keep it real with genuine feedback and toddler travel tales – tantrums and all.
[The post above is a competition entry for Mark Warner Holidays’ Family Ambassador Programme in the Creative Writer category – I am impressed by the list of facilities on offer which, of course, I would like to personally experience. Everything I’ve mentioned above Mark Warner Holidays provides, as well as a range of family Ski holidays. They also provide specialist childcare for special needs in some of its resorts.]
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