Family holidays. Wonderful aren't they? Especially when you have unlimited funds and perfectly behaved children...
Of course that's not how it works for most of us. Much of the time we either can't afford two weeks in the sun full stop, or else we can afford two weeks in the sun OR a much needed new roof \ boiler \ car. Sometimes we're not even that lucky and spending any extra money at all is just not an option.
Holiday's are a luxury, often the first thing to be put to the bottom of the list when money is tight. But I don't think this is necessarily so wise. Holiday's can come in all guises - Alison from Space in your Case can tell you all about luxuriating in an expensive villa with staff (lucky her!), Lucy from Lulastic and the Hippyshake gives us loads of advice for travelling around Europe in a campervan (she even stopped by to meet me in Spain while she was at it), Gemma from Hello it's Gemma loves camping in the wilds, and One Tiny Leap often writes about the brilliance of Airbnb. There's really no end to the possibilities. One year we simply pitched a tent in my mother's back garden (sad but true!).
When you have a busy family home life the things you really need to consider when thinking about a holiday are these - then just work with the budget (or lack of it) that you have, and Bon Voyage!
1. Getting away from the housework
Number one for a reason! At home I am dragged in so many different directions and there is always the 'just one more thing' that needs to be done, that it really is never ending. It. Never. Ends. Clothes washing, clothes hanging, clothes folding, dinner cooking, dinner clearing, carpet hoovering, floor washing, shelf dusting, grass cutting, curtain fixing, bed making, toy tidying... And I am the absolute opposite of a clean freak! To step away from all that even for a weekend is good for the soul.
2. Taking time off work
Not having to factor work into your daily activities, with all the stress, strains and logistics that it comes with, brings an immediate relief. Your parenting skills instantly improve as you aren't carrying the weight of work with you and so can focus on your little ones needs in earnest.
3. Spending downtime with each other
This was the big one for me this year. When we went away earier this month screen time was at an absolute minimum due to no. 2 above, and ok, also a lack of internet connection. But it made a real difference to the time we spent together. We made up word games, taught the kids card games, played frisbee and generally just reconnected. It's amazing how much fun your kids can be when you actually give them your full attention.
4. Exploring the great outdoors
Getting out into the great wide open - isn't that what it's all about? Whether it's climbing a mountain, playing on a beach or toasting marshmallows by firelight - children love the freedom of being outdoors. And when the kids are happy - we are happy.
5. Learning new skills
Bird spotting, star gazing, swimming, even playing cards - it really doesn't matter what it is - when you start to pay attention to what you and your children are doing on holidays you begin to see how much the kids are learning each day - without anyone even realising.
If you get three out of five of these things over the course of a couple of days or more, then in my mind that's a successful holiday. All five of them - and you've made it.