Going on holiday as a family is without a doubt lots of fun but there are seven clear stages.
Stage 1: Booking
This is my first warning – do not tell your tiny human that you are going on holiday any further than two weeks before you leave. We made the enormous error of telling Miss MIP when we booked three months ago and have been asked daily if it was time to go yet. Novice level error that one.
Booking the holiday is stupidly stressful. You are very aware you are spending a bucket load of your very hard earned cash on something that could be awful when you arrive so it’s careful choice. You need to write down a list of all your requirements – length of flight, room type, facilities, board basis etc – and then find the country and property to match that. You can create a spreadsheet or fill a note pad with details possibilities and options and only when every drop of fun has been drained from the process can you book. Just drink a bottle of wine, get the credit card out and just book something.
Stage 2: Packing
Do you remember when you used to go on holiday and just chuck a bunch of stuff in a bag? Well now you’ve got a family those days are long gone – you won’t believe the amount of ‘just in case’ crap that will be going in your suitcase. Colouring, DVDs and card games are the tip of the iceberg – you’ll also be needing those impossible to leave behind toys, bedtime books, blackout blinds and a minimum of two changes of clothes a day. You’ll need to make a list and tick things off when you put them in the bag – then once the whole bag is packed you’ll look at the list a realise you don’t need half of that stuff and take it all back out. The repack that same bag with less stuff but don’t put the clothes and toys you’ve take out too far away because you’ll need them close to hand when you change your mind and sneak it all back in again. Open a bottle of wine on the final repack and when it’s finished just close the bag. It’ll probably be fine.
Stage 3: Travelling
If you have a designated sober person with you and as long as you aren’t driving in any part of your journey just drink the wine. All of it. If someone offers you wine ask for two. Flying or driving with small humans makes all the usual rules of convention null and void. Just drink the wine.
Stage 4: Eating
Once you are off the plane you should prepare yourself that your child won’t like any plate of food you put in front of them unless it’s ice cream. We’ve always been very lucky that Miss MIP isn’t a fussy eater and adores vegetables and fruit but when we are on holiday it’s like she’s never seen food before. She can only eat pasta, melon, chips, pizza and food that’s beige or covered in breadcrumbs.
You should also be aware that on holiday your child will act like they’ve never eaten in public before. Tantrums at the table, feet on chairs and wandering off mid meal will all become standard. The good news is you are on holiday and you’ll not have to see any of the people who are silently judging you ever again.
Stage 5: Sleeping
Yeah. That’s not going to happen. They can run around, swim, play and explore from dawn till dusk but they still aren’t going to sleep. You’ll relax the bedtime because you are on holiday and that seems like fun but they won’t sleep any later – they’ll just be up earlier and steadily get more tired until when you get home they’ll need a break to recover from their holiday!
Stage 6: Going Home
You’ll be exhausted and you would have had so much fun but you will be ready to come home. Don’t relax yet though – you’ve still got the return journey to cope with!
Stage 7: Nostalgia
You’ll unpack, get the washing, get everything put in the right place, upload the best photos to SmugBook and then when everything has settled down you’ll forget stages 2, 3, 4 and 5 and start thinking about where you want to go next.