Sorting out a family holiday takes hours of research, pages of lists and countless what ifs - but it’s worth it for a relaxed family selfie and priceless memories
Have you booked your summer holiday yet? If not, then you must have no intention of going anywhere this year - or that is what you would assume from the onslaught of holiday adverts and general conversations with other parents.
I live for holidays; getting on a plane, even with a screaming baby and a demanding child allows me to leave the stresses of daily life behind and gives us some genuine family bonding time without the need to wash dishes, sweep floors, put away laundry and shout at the kids and dog for leaving toys around the floors.
But organising a family holiday is not a stress free event; it takes a hell of a lot of planning and guesswork and is certainly not something I am prepared to confirm and pay up front for in early January.
Some families I spoke to recently said they booked their holidays last November … how?! At that time I was drowning in Christmas preparation - how are parents so bloody organised, I can't organise things to do at Easter let alone Summer!
Anyway, I am looking into it, aka have 20 website tabs open at the one time, researching our week long holiday abroad. I don’t have a specific location in mind but a list of must haves that are almost impossible to gather together in one place.
You know: good food, nice hotel, walking distance to beaches and shops, quiet but not too quiet, lots of things to do around, a good pool - with kids slides, not too expensive, a flight under four hours ... etc
Speaking of flights deciding on the best flight times with kids is a land mine. The 4-year-old is pretty easy going (with an ipad in her hand) but the soon to be 18month old is not so accommodating. Do you try and hit the lunchtime nap - or hold him back for a night time departure? Some planes have take off at crazy o’clock in the morning and then the drive to the airport from Leitrim needs to be factored in - the math makes me a little dizzy.
Accommodation wise, it would be lovely to have a room for the kids and one for the adults but prices start to climb for such luxuries - anyway we will probably all end up in the same bed heading to sleep at 8pm. There is obviously the toddler’s nap to keep in mind, if he doesn’t get two hours during the day he will become an emotional and violent mess by the evening, so we need to really like the hotel bedroom, as a lot of time will be spent there.
Do we get a car? I love the freedom of driving on holiday but then there are car seats to think of for the kids, do we pay through the roof for the car company to fit them or sweat off a few pounds carrying them along with the mini explosive toddler through the airport?
Even buying holiday clothes is a little confusing. The ever growing toddler is in between sizes so do I squeeze him into 18-24 month clothes that make him look like the incredible hulk or dress him like Kanye West in oversized everything?!
A holiday with kids is never really that relaxing, you still have to keep them fed, watered and safe all while wrestling them for suncream top up every hour. They may not sleep or really eat (ice cream doesn't count) and you could lose your luggage or your sanity along the way; but the break from routine is worth it. I'm looking forward to photos of the kids by the pool, videos of them splashing down waterslides and relaxed family selfies.
Agencies do need to stop the 'last minute' holiday adverts, organising a stress free family holiday takes hours maybe even days to pull together and agree on, even before you try packing up the house into two 20kg bags!