We know we missed a trick when we were in Turkey not long ago. Everyone at this ultra family friendly hotel with a million facilities had it all sussed out. They had brought both their kids AND their parents with them. They all looked so happy. And calm – ish. And peaceful –ish. Quality family interspersed with leave-the-kids-with-the-grandparents-time and lots of We’ll-just-be-back-in-bit thrown in. How did we not know this??
Kids jump happily all over grandparents, Parents happily run away to the beach. Win Win.
Of course you have to plan all this pretty meticulously and ensure your proper motives don’t get found out in the process. From careful observation and eavesdropping on various families at the resort, these would be my tips for a stress-free big family holiday.
1: Choose the right location
The first secret to achieving a stress-free family holiday is picking the right location. It’s probably a given that a hotel that is renowned for heavy clubbing is probably not that suitable with grandparents and children in tow. Even if your 3 year old would win hands down in a dance off. Take the preferences of all individuals into account and look for destinations that offer a good range of activities. Good food, good relaxation and nice facilities. Emphasis these qualities and furrow those brows thoughtfully as you try to entice your parents into two weeks away with you.
You can’t go too far wrong with a nice beach. Whereas at one time Little Z wouldn’t go anywhere near one, these days he’s happy to build sandcastles all day long and try to dig his way to Australia. It’s usually around an hour into a beach trip we start pondering whether we should move to the coast, somewhere with really nice fresh air, a bit of peace and quiet, a nice holiday home, peruse for McCarthy and Stone properties for sale in the area and then retire at 40 maybe?
2: Do your research
When I was in my 20s all I could think about was fantastic and spontaneous adventures. After getting my first proper job I really just wanted to keep jetting off to fascinating places and seeing the world. It was the same energetic impulsiveness that led us to seeing France and unfortunately staying bang opposite the Moulin Rouge in an extremely grotty little place. Not that we minded too much back then.
Going on family holidays is a whole different ball game and has to be organised to a tee. Unless of course you want both irate grandparents and children on your hands. Do your research and make sure the destination and resort you pick is suitable. Websites such as tripadvisor offer honest and real reviews and always highlight if they are family friendly as well as letting you real photos by real people. They are always an interesting place to see what the place is really like.
3: Write an itinerary
If it’s a big family affair, make sure you’re prepared. Create an itinerary so you can keep your kids interested and your parents informed. Lists are a fantastic thing.
Visas, passports and luggage will all not to be sorted before your trip so make sure you consider this carefully and check off each important activity from your list as you go.
4: Plan regular breaks
Whatever your holiday plans, be sure to include enough time for rests. It’s important not to stretch your kids or your parents too thinly as both age groups will need time to calm down from the days excitements or regain some energy.
Your stress levels will fall enormously if you don’t have tired and grumpy kids to deal with or worn out parents.
On our recent trip to Istanbul, Little Z was a complete little angel for the really long day. By the evening, and replenished from a long nap, he was ready to expend a lot of stored up energy and a delayed flight saw both myself and the Other Half running around after a very speedy little boy all around the airport boarding area. Some passengers thought it was hilarious and very sweet to watch. Both pretty exhausted by about 11pm, the Other Half and I just nodded. We spent most of the next day sat on the loungers.
5: Get into a routine
Try to understand and stick to routines. If your parents tend to retire early, organise early dinners. Then pass the kids to them. (I’m joking. Maybe). If your kids like to have a bath before bed then make sure you are staying somewhere where that’s possible. We did happen to see one particular family where the Grandad took his grandaughter to dinner every single night. It just worked for them and acted as their quality time together.
Of course you may own a Little Z too, in which case he would just bounce about all night if you let him.
This is a collaborative post. Also I’m not sure I could ever trick my parents into a peaceful break. They’d just laugh at me. I’d have to just offer to pay for their ticket. And probably promise to drive them around every where for a month.