Going on holiday with the kids — has something so rewarding ever struck so much fear into the hearts of parents? Not only are you heading off for some doubtlessly well-deserved R&R yourself, there is the opportunity of opening up your child’s eyes to the world around them and sparking an interest in new cultures, languages, and cuisines that could last a lifetime. Still, no matter how diligently and craftily you plan everything, it can be a logistical struggle and more than a little hectic and that is before we have even mentioned the ever-present danger of tantrums. A family villa holiday is a great way to cut down on some of the potential snags, thus I have put together some tips to help things run as smoothly as possible!
At the Airport
The chief worry at the airport is having your little darlings toddle off while you are distracted by something important, like checking in your bags or trying to remember if you turned the central heating off. Though the amount of mischief they can up to in an airport is limited, there are a couple of things you can do to make finding them a breeze. First off, take a photo of them on your phone so you can show security personnel what they look like, write your mobile on their hands, and perhaps best of all, try putting them out in the biggest and most ridiculous hat you can find. It makes spotting them in a crowd a breeze.
On the Plane
Here is one point in the journey where a bit of shrewd packing can save you a lot of hassle. When you are putting your hand-luggage together, make sure the stuff that is going to keep the kids quiet and entertained is near the top of the bag. Whether that is snacks, toys, books, or the lifesaver that is an iPad pre-loaded with shiny new apps; the less time you have to spend scrabbling about for it the better. You can also try letting them stay up way beyond their bedtime the night before the flight or waking them up earlier — it is a risky tactic, but one that might end up with them sleeping peacefully for the entire flight.
On the Transfer
If you have booked yourself a luxury villa break you will have to make your way to where you are staying, which is where a travel journal (along with a few pencils and crayons) comes into its own. Seeing as they are now in a brand new country, you can make the trip to your accommodation come alive by getting the kids to document everything they notice that is different, drawing pictures, or making up stories about the place they are visiting. It is a great way to get them engaged and interested in the wider world. You could even give them a disposable camera of their own, which can (and often does) result in some rather interesting photographs once developed.
At the Villa
Finally, you have arrived! If you choose wisely, your luxury villa will probably have a few things that make holidaying with the little ones easier, including toys to play with, childproofing, and a kit that is just not practical to lug abroad (highchair we are looking at you). Like everyone, kids are bound to be a bit cranky after a long trip, but one of the good things about booking a family villa is that you do not have to worry about pricey hotel meals being wasted on a fussy eater; you can cook whatever you like. While it is unlikely a pack of fish fingers will survive the trip, many villa owners will happily sort out a welcome basket or full fridge to greet you on your arrival and while they might not be ready to dive into a paella or some ossobuco just yet, the kids will certainly enjoy trying a local spin on cheese on toast.