Holidays with kids are rarely the relaxing, battery recharging affair they were before you had kids. Of course you don’t have to clean, cooking is optional and it’s perfectly acceptable to start drinking just after
breakfast brunch. But that’s tempered by the fact that you’re on holiday, in an unfamiliar location, with kids.
Kids don’t do change very well. Or at least mine don’t.
The first night is usually best approached with the attitude that sooner or later they’ll have to conk out. Trying to get them to bed at a sensible time is nigh on important. The bed will be too hard/soft/cold/warm/dark/light (possibly all six throughout the evening). There will be too much or too little noise from outside (we once stayed on a farm in Scotland and my poor townie kids couldn’t sleep because there was no reassuring hum of traffic, trains and aeroplanes).
Eldest will complain throughout the journey about how cramped he is. At 5ft something-significantly-over-seven-inches-and-counting he’ll have to get used to being cramped. Whether that’s in a car or a plane or a train. Tough.
Middle will angle for her own room. This is despite the fact that she shares with Youngest at home and neither sleep properly if apart. She will attempt to bring her dog with her. The (stuffed) dog is as big as a small toddler and not within Ryanair’s luggage rules, so usually can only accompany us for UK holidays, when it sits on her knee in the car.
Youngest will also bring her comfort toy. Her tiger is somewhat easier to travel with, fitting as it does into a small rucksack. This will cause no end of complaints from Middle.
There will, naturally, be a fight for the best bedroom, and the best bed. Sometimes it all just falls into place perfectly but usually someone feels hard done by (often me).
The next Holiday Arrival Problem is food. Food abroad is never the same as food at home. Even when it’s ostensibly the same item. Sometimes this can be good, as when we discovered Smultron yogurt in Sweden or Schokomuesli in Germany. Venturing into a foreign supermarket can be interesting to say the least.
But that’s part of the whole point of the travelling we do. We like to AirBnB and live a bit more like a local than a tourist (although we probably really suck at being locals). With a weekly season-ticket for the local public transport (probably costing a tenner for transport a million times more effective than anything in the UK) we’re free to find the play parks, lidos, walking routes and hidden gems that you miss if you just pick the Tripadvisor top ten attractions (and we visit some of those too).
Like it or not our little island is part of Europe and part of the World and that makes it important to engage with other cultures. Whether that’s two hours drive west to Wales or two hours flight east to Milan.
The plot thickens…