It’s that time of year when we all start thinking about jetting off for two weeks in the sun. But how times have changed! As I come to terms with the fact that 18-30 jaunts have been replaced by package deals and child-friendly resorts, here are few things about your vacation that will never be the same again:
- Kiss goodbye to those last minute deals, where you take your luggage to the travel agents and jump on the next available flight. Going away now requires planning with military precision. Do you deal with the guilt (and possible fine) of taking the kids out of school or remortgage your house to go away during the holidays? Forget the cheapest or most exotic destination, you need to find somewhere near a beach, not too hot, family friendly, which doesn’t involve a long haul flight and has a manageable transfer time. So if you want to go away in 2025 start planning now!
- All those glossy magazine articles about capsule holiday wardrobes and how to pack the perfect suitcase are most definitely aimed at the child-free. Once you have children it’s less about how many bikinis you can get in your case and more about how to pack a mountain of nappies, swim toys, a black-out blind, travel cot, buggy, steriliser and baby food without going over your baggage allowance.
- Gone are the days when a flight was a chance to relax before your holiday, watching the latest films and sipping a cheeky glass of champagne. Plane journeys for parents are an endurance event worthy of a celebrity Sports Relief challenge. Forget running 43 marathons in 51 days, try sitting on a plane with two children under four for six hours! Endless colouring books, snacks and games need to be supplied to keep the little darlings happy and to make sure they don’t make your fellow passengers’ journey too hellish!
- My main holiday activity used to be reading books – my record being 14 in a week, But those where they days when all I had to worry about was getting an even tan! Now I am lucky if I get to read the front cover of a gossip mag. You may be on holiday but you don’t get a break from being mummy/daddy with all the demands on your time that brings! With trips to the toilet, the drinks machine and the ice cream shop; rubbing on lotion, blowing up arm bands and watching them dive in the pool – you’ll be lucky if you get past the first page of your novel!
- Before kids, all inclusive holidays promised food filled days and drink filled nights. Now the all-inclusive tag means ice cream morning, noon and night and fizzy drinks on tap – and then you wonder why they don’t sleep!
- Once you didn’t care where your hotel bedroom was – as long as it was clean and the bed was made you were happy! How things have changed. Do you want to be close to the ground floor so you don’t have to scale hundreds of stairs and can sit outside on a night whilst the little ones sleep or is it better to be high up so the ankle biters can’t charge straight into the pool when your back’s turned? And as for a family of four trying to sleep in the same room – you might as well try to get a new born to sleep 12 hours solid – impossible!
- Kids clubs could be your saviour. Where once you would have run a mile from anyone dressed as a squirrel or calling themselves Fun Time Fin, now the resort mascots and child reps are your best friends. Providing fun activities and entertainment for your kids while you kick back and enjoy the sun (that’s if you can cope with the guilt of palming the kids off on someone else).
- As a family, cultural holidays are a worthy option but as you drag your whiney charges around one of the Seven Wonders of the World, you’ll soon be wishing you’d stay by the pool.
- Leisurely evening meals in the sunshine become a scramble to find a seat in a family friendly restaurant that serves local food that your children will eat. You take the buggy along in the vain hope the toddler will fall asleep after pudding only to find yourself playing hide and seek between the tables at midnight, wishing you could crawl into the buggy and be pushed home to bed!
Taking all this into consideration is it any wonder that more of us than ever are choosing to stay at home???