A last minute holiday before the end of the summer sounds like a great idea. As I flick through web page after web page I transport myself away from Essex and onto more exotic shores. There are a lot of things that I look for when booking a holiday, and I will do a whole lot of research before I take the kids anywhere new. We are a large Family with an age range of between seven and forty three so finding somewhere that is affordable and suits us all can sometimes be a bit tricky.
We are not a family who are satisfied with sitting around a pool all day. We like to be active and see as much of the surrounding area as possible. My lot have to have a full itinerary otherwise they will drive me mad. The top things we look for on a family holiday are:
1. Beach - We like to be near a beach, preferably within walking distance. The local beach will be researched thoroughly. It has to be clean and pretty to look at, with soft sand. I crave to sink my toes into a warm sandy beach. Even if its raining we like to walk along the beach with no shoes. A pebble beach doesn't really have the same appeal to us.
2. Accommodation - We don't mind budget accommodation as long as it is clean and big enough for large families. Once we have found accommodation I will check out as many online reviews as I can find. Quite a few bad reviews tend to be a sure sign that it is a 'no go' for us. Cleanliness is top priority.
3. Walking - We like to walk when we are on holiday, so good local walks are essential. We pack a picnic and enjoy our lunch along the way. Its a free activity too, which is great for holidays more on a budget. The kids sometimes moan a bit but, the promise of an ice cream once we reach our destination often keeps them going. Even better if there is something really exciting waiting for them at the end of the walk.
4. Public Transport. We always check out the local public transport links. I like to know all the timetables too and will print them off before I go on holiday. We often end up needing to catch a bus or train while we are away, so it's always handy to have a timetable in my bag.
5. Attractions - The kids love a big local attraction. A local theme or water park is a must for our Family. The more thrilling, the better! We will also check out reviews for any local attraction that we are planning on visiting. Value for money is priority.
6. Evening Entertainment - Evening entertainment that is suitable for all ages is important to us. A place where the kids can hang out, dance, sing (within parent eye shot) and make new friends. Even if we leave early to tuck the younger ones up in bed, we like there to be something available for the adult kids to enjoy well into the night. Even if we are camping in the middle of nowhere, we will pick a site that allows a campfire in order to make our own evening entertainment.
7. Festivals, Events And Celebrations - I try to time a holiday around any local celebrations. Maybe the local town hosts a good art/music festival or a carnival. It often gives a nice chilled out vibe to an area with an air of excitement amongst the locals. The kids often really enjoy local events too.
8. History - I personally like to know the history of the town where I am staying (the kids joke that I am like a personal tour guide everywhere we go). If the local town is rich in history then I love it. The older kids don't always enjoy this but I tell them the history anyway in the hope it might actually sink in. Some historic sites are really enjoyable for the kids, again I fully research before I bother attempting to take them.
9. Indoor pool - An indoor pool is a must for UK holidays. Our weather can't be guaranteed so indoor swimming is an activity that will pass a few hours if it rains.
10. Weather - As we like to be active on holiday we do not like it too hot, so Greece or Tunisia in the middle of August would not appeal to us. Places like that would be destinations that we would choose to go at the beginning or at the end of the summer. Perfect for a last minute getaway.
What Do You Look For In A Family Holiday?