Next week we are going on our first holiday abroad as a family of five. And I’m not going to lie, I’m part excited, part filled with dread.
As many of you know my twins are about to turn 6, and my eldest turns 8 two days later. They have never been on a plane. Something the 8 year old is massively aggrieved about – regularly informing me that EVERYONE in his class has flown before. I seriously doubt that, by the way. But this is how he feels and totally hard done by along with it.
Reminding him that I didn’t go on a plane until I was 11, and that some children never get to go on a plane, funnily enough hasn’t helped. Kids are so fucking spoiled these days, aren’t they?
We took him to France on the ferry when he’d just turned one, before the twins were around. But other than that, none of them have had a holiday abroad.
Whilst most of my mates jet off to sunnier climes abroad with their kids every year, we have opted for UK holidays either in cottages, lodges or caravans in the beautiful South West or have been to places like Bluestone in Wales which we adore. We also have invested in a huge tent and camping gear (think ‘all the gear, no idea’) and the boys love it.
So we’ve never felt the need to splash out thousands of pounds on a family holiday abroad, when we have loads of fun in the UK.
Why has it taken so long for our first holiday abroad?
That is, until now. But why has it taken so long for us to do it?
Several reasons really. And I think a few of them can come down to the fact there are three children and only two adults. As I’ve said time and time again, three is a bad number!
People I know who go abroad regularly only have one or two children. And it is a HUGELY different situation even if they don’t necessarily think it is.
Literally everything is set up for two adults and two (or less) children. Seats on coaches, seats on planes, and don’t even get me started on finding a hotel room which can sleep 5 of us.
But it’s not just the logistics of stuff like that. It’s the day to day looking after them when we’re there. When the boys were younger (we had 3 under 2.5) it was HARD work. That stereotypical picture of three little kids running off in different directions at the park? That was us. Why would I want to do that abroad? That’s not a HOLIDAY!
It boils down to the fact, (and most parents with multiples plus other kids will get it) that we don’t have enough pairs of hands. And why would I want to pay tons of money to go abroad when everything feels like such hard work. That’s not a holiday either! The phrase “same shit different location” springs to mind.
Each to their own for a first holiday abroad
It’s like when families take little babies on holidays abroad. I know it’s a controversial one as it seems to be the norm, but I just do not get it. WHY would you do it? Drag your buggy, nappies, formula and ALL the baby paraphernalia on a plane to hide them under a sun shade for 80% of the time slathered in factor 50? Imagine doing that when there are three little ones?!
Absolutely each to their own, but I just never saw the point in it. And luckily nor did my husband.
I also have a bit of a thing about them in a swimming pool. When they were little, we weren’t allowed to take them to most swimming pools as the ratios weren’t in our favour. Simply put, as two adults we didn’t have enough pairs of hands to look after three little ones in a swimming pool. And as frustrating as that was, it was a fact. We didn’t! But had we gone abroad it would have been fine to let all three loose in a pool? No thanks!
Now they’re nearly 6 and 8, and have been having swimming lessons for (what seems like) years, I’m happy that they are confident in the water, with or without mini lifejackets on. I’m happy that I won’t take my eye off the ball for a split second and find one of them has wandered off and fallen into the pool. And that POSSIBLY, I might be able to spend a percentage of my holiday actually sitting on the side of the pool (maybe even with a drink? Just imagine!) watching them than having to be IN with them every single minute.
I’m not going to lie, this prospect is WAY more appealing. And potentially wishful thinking too, I know.
Wishful thinking over the kids’ clubs
The other bit of wishful thinking is to do with kids clubs. If you take little ones to somewhere with a kids club, they are too young to go. But if you take children the age of mine, they absolutely CAN go. And if you specifically choose the hotel based on the age brackets of its kids clubs, so all three can go in the same one leaving nobody out, it’s even better, right?
Now I just have to hope they go for at least two hours a day. That’s all I’m asking for. Two hours for my husband and I to lie on a lounger ignoring each other, earphones in, book (or drink) in hand. I don’t think that’s even asking for too much.
But had we gone much sooner, the twins would have been too young to go to the kids club, and all dreams of snatching that tiny bit of ‘holiday’ for ourselves would have been shattered before we’d even left home. Selfish? Maybe, but that’s just how it is.
As my husband has said from day one, we’re not spending thousands of pounds on a holiday when the two of us don’t get to relax even for just 5% of the time. We may as well have paid a fraction of the cost and be in our tent having no break and getting wound up with our kids, than in a sunny Balearic resort – having no break and getting wound up with our kids.
Cost of first holiday abroad is huge factor
Cost is always a huge factor when it comes to a holiday too, isn’t it? There’s a vast difference taking one child to an all-inclusive resort in Spain than taking three. You’re talking thousands. So obviously the cost has had an impact on us deciding not to take them abroad before now.
We’ve just not wanted to fork out all that dosh for it to be a Busman’s Holiday.
So that’s why their first holiday abroad hasn’t been until this year, but why am I partly dreading it?
If you’ve followed me for a while or read my social media posts, you’ll possibly realise I’m not joking when I describe my three boys as ‘spirited’.
Individually each one of them is a good-natured, well-behaved, polite, kind, sweet boy.
Put them together and they’re not far off fitting the description of ‘feral’. The fights, noise, and utter carnage that take place in my house when the three of them are together are, some days, utterly unreal.
Will we be THAT family?
And I’m just imagining them being exactly like that when we go away. We will be THAT family. You know the one. The one whose kids are being naughty, answering back to their parents, not doing as they’re told, and generally being fucking pains in the arse.
Not far from those kids, is THAT mum who is telling them off, shouting at them continuously and generally making a spectacle of herself more than the actual children are, in a bid to get the situation under control so nobody judges them. That mum?That’ll be me!
My friend told me last night that nobody else will be watching or judging. That they’re all dealing with their own feral kids, and couldn’t give a shit about mine. That if the boys play up, it’s not the end of the world, they’re on holiday, it’s all new to them, and let them be excited. And if I decide to let them have their tablets at the table to get 20 mins’ peace to enjoy the rest of my meal, do what half the other parents in that restaurant are doing – and let them!
And I know she’s right. I am already telling myself I will have to chill out and let some of it wash over me. I’m hoping the watered-down all-inclusive alcohol may help with this.
How will it go? Who knows. Will it be the best 10 days we’ve ever had or an absolute ‘never again’ disaster? I’ll keep you posted. Let’s just say if it’s a shit show of epic proportions, we’ll be using the tent a lot more in the next five years…
How did I do?
If you liked this post, have a look at my Travel Section for other ideas for UK family holidays and days out. These might be handy:
- 37 best things to do in New York with kids
- Best places for families to stay in France
- 5 best places to visit in Spain with kids
- 10 best UK family holidays ideal for young children
- Places to stay near Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World
- Best places to stay near Legoland Windsor
- Best UK campsites for children
- 11 best holidays in Devon
- Best places to stay with kids in London
- 15 best family days out in Devon
- 13 best family days out in Cornwall
Or if you’ve got something booked but can’t face the packing, check out this helpful list – Packing List For Babies and Toddlers. And if you fancy a giggle but still on the subject of UK family holidays, read this – Five Ways A Holiday Is Never The Same After Kids. If you STILL want more after that head over to my Mum Life section for funny rants about all sorts of parenting things. And if you’re local to me in Plymouth, keep up to date with the latest in my Local Stuff section.
If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.
And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here or at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you.