What are family holidays REALLY like?

Recently we went on our third family holiday to Devon for a week. Holidays are craved by people constantly, what’s not to love about a break away from the everyday mundane life and it’s dull routines we have to follow? But what is it really like going on a family holiday with 2 small children? My boys are 4 and 6 and this is what it was like for us. 

Well firstly, there’s the packing. 

Be prepared to spend a good day or two packing your life up. So much is needed when you’ve got children. I had to remember it all; baby monitors, because yes we do still use them, night lights, toys, books, even more entertainment, beach toys, beach towels and wear, just EVERYTHING. And once your house has been overrun with bags and suitcases, you’ve got the joyous task of cramming everything into the car in every nook and cranny you can. This is one exhausting process and by the end, a holiday is definitely needed. Then not to forget the unpacking at both the holiday home, which is an exciting process as you've finally landed at your destination and have a week to enjoy, the packing again for home, which is just plain depressing and the unpacking when you get home- cue tears. 

The journey. 

Oh my goodness.... this gets harder believe it or not as they get older. I now truly understand how annoying we were for my parents when me and my siblings would constantly enquire, “Are we there yet?” We brought this card game, which I personally found quite enjoyable. My boys did for all of about half an hour. We had to stop 3 times for the toilet or food on the way there. They had a little nap each but towards the end and once they’d had a bit of a sugar rush from the journey sweets, (does anyone else have them?) they were driving us bonkers. The way back was even worse as my eldest decided to read a magazine and then throw up everywhere as the windy roads took their toll on his sensitive stomach. Not ideal 20 mins into a hot long car journey, all over most of their bags. Safe to say, I was feeling rather queasy after that myself, although he was absolutely fine and demolished a massive lunch soon after. 

The holiday itself. 

This was definitely a beach holiday, we would go down to the beach everyday and make the most of being in an absolutely glorious spot of the UK and we were lucky to go on holiday during the heatwave too so all we needed was sunshine, sand and sea to entertain us for the week. We did venture off and do other things, such as a ferry ride, trip to a local town, ice creams, a bit of walking, rock pooling and relaxing with family at the bungalow and we went for meals etc. But mainly, we very much enjoyed the beach. I packed a book, one I started so long ago now and also I brought a Puzzler from the little shop there. I managed to read about four pages in total. No joking here. And as for the puzzler, I did about 3 puzzles. I didn’t have a moments peace and quiet to sunbathe or relax.

I think others can be more fortunate and are able to read a book or relax a little but to be honest, there was a quote that struck out to me about there only being 18 summers that you get to spend with your children, and so for me I want to make the most of them. I would have loved a few moments to myself to read, but there was so much to see and do on the beach, from burying our toes, collecting shells to the boy's favourite beach activity; paddling in the sea or being pulled around on the paddle board. And we all had so much fun. A few weeks ago I made a promise to myself to play more, so I embraced this notion on holiday. 

By the end of it none of us wanted to leave. Everyday felt like a bit of a dream, waking up in a gorgeous bungalow, with the most stunning view of the sea from the lounge. Being able to walk to the beach within 15 minutes was so ideal. It was just perfect. And no, there wasn’t much relaxation time, the packing and travelling was horrific but it was all totally worth it. We had the best family time. We had the best fun. With glorious sunshine beating down on us and giving us some much needed vitamin D, feeling the sea ripple around my legs, changing from cold and refreshing to so relaxing and warm, we were loving the sandy beach holiday. I wasn’t able to read a book, but I was able to soak up the sights of my sons soaking in the sea with huge smiles on their faces. I felt relaxed, I felt happy. And I could feel my worries wash away.. suddenly I could see everything that was really truly important in my life. 

So leaving the holiday, I had time to reflect on what is important in life and to me one thing overrides everything and that’s my family and the absolutely unconditional love that I have for them. I knew the next thing I would go through, would be the post holiday blues.

So what’s it really like to go on holiday with small children? 

It’s tiring, requires a lot of preparation, you can’t really expect to relax and read books too much and you and everything you own and have taken will be covered in sand, but it is pure bliss. You collect and take with you invaluable memories with family that lasts a lifetime. 

Have you been on holiday this year? Do you plan on going? Pop a comment below, we'd love to hear from you. 

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