Ever catch yourself daydreaming of holidays? You’re lying on a white-sanded beach, sangria in hand, watching the sun set behind an emerald sea. Then, all of a sudden, you’re deafened by the sound of your children arguing – and you snap back to reality.
Ah, the joys of parenthood…
Whatever your ideal holiday involves, it should be enjoyable and hassle-free, right? But have you ever picked your dream trip and then lived to regret it? You “drag” your kids along, hoping they’ll change their minds – but you end up enduring two, very long weeks of endless groaning and multiple tantrums.
In hindsight, you tell yourself, you should have known that a self-catered villa in the middle of nowhere (with no water slides or kids’ clubs) wouldn’t be fun for the little ones. So now it’s time to park (at least some of) your priorities aside and master the art of compromise.
So, how exactly do you ensure your family holidays are a resounding success? No, it doesn’t involve giving your kids free reign during the planning process (we dread to think), but instead relies on a clever little technique…
The (very official) process
First, rally the troops around the dinner table, luring them in with drinks and snacks. Hand out pens and paper (all very professional) and present a list containing six holiday features – for example, being by the beach, being near a pool, making friends, relaxing, getting involved in activities, and exploring a new culture.
Everyone (yourself included) lists each feature in order of priority, most important at the top. When the sheets are in, score ten for features at the top, nine for features in second place, and so on. What you’re left with is a pile of paper and a heap of digits.
So, summon the help of your trusted calculator, and add together the scores for each feature. Voila! Collectively, you’ll have uncovered what the most important feature of your family holiday is, as well as the second, third, fourth, etc.
We know what you’re thinking – that you’ll become one of those party pooper parents making a chore out of something that’s supposed to be fun. But, by applying this strategy, it’s unlikely that you’ll hear the dreaded words: “I’m booorreeeed” while on holiday.
A family holiday should be a family decision; it’s as simple as that. That means you need to let go of the fact you’re the ones forking out for the trip, and get your kids’ input – and that of anyone else who’s joining you. Taking everyone’s priorities into consideration ensures it’s a democratic decision, increasing the chance of you having a happy holiday!
If you’re going to give this tried-and-tested method a shot for your next getaway, here are a few pointers:
Much to your dismay, ‘getting involved in lots of activities’ will often score highest. Your kids high-five each other upon hearing the news, but you’re already begrudging having to pack trainers in your suitcase. Adults are notorious for being stuck in their ways, so here’s a suggestion: be open to trying something new! Who knows, you may uncover a penchant for scuba diving after a taster session or two…
It’s all well and good agreeing to a two-week African safari, but realistically, is it suitable for all attending? Could everyone going hack the hikes? Could you deal with jet-lagged kids after a long-haul flight? Depending on your circumstances, you may have to compromise on certain elements of your holiday. Otherwise, your dream trip might not be so dreamy after all.
Book it up
It may seem about as premature as doing your Christmas shopping in June, but booking your 2017 holiday is something that’s best to embark on sooner rather than later. According to ABTA*, January and February are the traditional sales months for travel companies; it’s at this time of year that they put on their best deals – meaning potential savings of hundreds of pounds.
So not only will you have more choice and be able to snap-up the best deals, but you’ll have more time to get organised, pay the holiday off, and save for your spending money. Plus, it’ll give you all something to look forward to!
Every family is different, and so every holiday should be designed to suit that family. Giving your kids more ownership, and inviting everyone to get involved in the planning process, will mean it’s not just a ‘mum and dad holiday,’ but a family holiday everyone will enjoy.
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