Friday, 23 August 2013

Pack your bags, it's time to go!

Sunglasses – check

Sunhat – check

A large pile of shoes for every possible scenario (you never know you might need wellies in Dubai or flip-flops in Greenland!) – check

Now all I need is money to actually book a holiday... 

Since returning from Barbados a year ago I've been spending hours, daily dreaming of the next holiday, the next adventure that the children and I can take together.  There are so many elements that go into planning the perfect holiday.  As well as finding great deals on sites like you have to work out how to keep yourself entertained.  You also want to make sure there is plenty for the children to see and do.   I personally am not the kind of traveler that likes to book a holiday and spend all of it in the hotel, for me that defeats the purpose of travelling to a new country, but each to their own.

When choosing my destination there are some key things I look for.

1.  Does the hotel have a kids club or children’s entertainment?  I have never actually used a kids club whilst on holiday but it’s one of the things I look for because it usually indicates they have at least a couple of members of staff who are friendly and engaging for the little ones.  On rest days it’s great to have people to keep the children entertained with fun and games whilst the adults have a quiet drink.
2.  Is there a great beach or water park nearby?  There is nothing worse than having to navigate your way around a new country by public transport with bags full of things for the children, having realised your hotel is not in walking distance from a beach.
Miami Beach - Barbados

Carlisle Bay (aka Browns Beach) - Barbados
3.  Museums, famous landmarks and historic buildings that are easy to get to independently or via hotel arranged tours.  Finding out about the local culture to me is a must, the children may not appreciate it immediately, but when they can look back and say they've visited the 400 million year old Batu caves or viewed the famous art pieces in the Louvre, they surely have had some great life experiences.
 4.  Nearby zoos and parks.   The teen princess, little man and I love looking at animals (little man draws a line when it comes to farm animals that are within touching distance) but I can proudly say that we have visited at least one animal attraction in every country we've been to. (Not counting the holiday to Canada in which I had such awful morning sickness, I barely made it to the local mall!  Unless of course you count the pet shop in the mall.)

5.  Opportunities to shop.  Now this is one for both the adults and the children.  I can’t resist a good souvenir and the children are usually right in there with me rummaging through shelves or picking up handmade items from local market stalls.
6.  Food Food and more Food!  Little man has yet to embrace the love of trying new food that the princess and I share but all the same good places to eat are a must.  I don’t want to go all the way to Tunisia and be stuck with fish and chips.  We like to try out the local delicacies as well as having some ‘familiar’ options.
7.  When looking for holiday's on I look for places with opportunities to experience something new, for example a tournament and flamenco show in the medieval castle of Valltordera - Spain, travelling across the dessert in Sharm el-Sheikh – Egypt or visiting the 86th floor  of the Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur (where the observation deck is) - Malaysia.

Tee & I in Sharm el Sheikh

Petronas Twin Towers - Malaysia

And as we approach the end of the summer holidays and the mad rush for that one piece of uniform you've forgotten is hanging over you or you've finally managed to blag a week off work, where would you head off for a last minute summer break?

This is a sponsored post but the daydreams, opinions and experiences are entirely that of the teen princess, little man and I.

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