Our contributor’s tongue-in-cheek take on vacationing with kids in tow…
Summer holiday season is upon us. Hurrah! And, also, uh-oh (how on earth are we going to keep them entertained without remortgaging the house?). If you’re getting away this summer, here’s a few tips on holidaying with kids. What to do (drink). And what not to do (don’t drink).
1. Stop using the word, ‘holiday.’ This is the first crucial rule. Stop pretending that this is going to be a holiday. You’re just setting yourself up to fail, otherwise. Holidays with kids can be holidays if you choose the right destination (I recommend All Inclusive for this very reason). But, let’s be realistic, it’s never going to be like that holiday pre-kids, circa 2010 where you shimmied around in your Missoni string bikini and wedges, sipping ice cold rose, is it? (Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever managed that look but still…) Think bikini bottoms up your, erm, bottom because there’s never any time to readjust them, practical flip flops so you can chase that wayward toddler and a bottle of rose. Because, well, it’s more time efficient to drink straight from the bottle these days and you spill less whilst running around after said toddler.
2. Spend several weeks getting ready. Who doesn’t enjoy the pre-holiday build-up? Exfoliating. Having a pedicure. Choosing your holiday wardrobe. Hahahahahahahaha. Who are you kidding? You’ll be so busy sorting sun hats, sun cream and, if you have very small kids, nappies, by the time you come to sort yourself out not only will you have run out of time but you’ll also have run out of luggage allowance. I once took 12 bottles of sun cream away with us, because that’s how much I worked out we’d need if we used anything near the recommended amount on the back of the bottle. 12 bottles!
3. Pack a good book(s). Forget your kindle (paper books are so much nicer, aren’t they). Or the fact that you barely have any room to pack a bikini. Throw in three or four books that take up a third of the case that you will never, ever read. But you’ll have great fun unpacking them, stacking them on the bedside table in your hotel room, looking at them wistfully every day and then carting them back home again. Where they’ll sit under your bed, collecting dust, until you charity shop them, six months later.
4. Make sure you have some in-flight entertainment. I can highly recommend calpol for them. And gin for you. It’s a combination I’ve personally tried and tested to get three kids under six across the ocean. In desperate times, I’ve also had the calpol.
5. Have at least one meltdown during the holiday. It’s not a holiday unless you do, quite frankly. There has to be a moment when the weeks of preparation implode and you undertake a five minute monologue at the top of your voice, telling EVERYONE how hard you’ve worked to get ready for this holiday and how ungrateful they all are. Don’t worry if, at this point, your other half and your kids look at you in a slightly bewildered fashion. As if you’ve gone slightly mad. This just means they’re listening. I think. Or, actually, it might just mean they think you’ve gone slightly mad.
6. Spend several weeks when you get back washing. This is probably my favourite part of the whole holiday. Getting home and emptying several suitcases of slightly damp and musty clothing. Then, whilst everyone goes back to school and work, I get to do some serious hanging out with the washing machine. Good times.