As a child our family holidays were simple – with little money and no car we had little choice and simply packed our belongings and boarded the coach to Butlins. Of course I've fabulous memories of our times there (as well as some wet and rainy holidays I'd rather forget!) But now as an adult with my own family, want to add a little variety to our itinerary. Where to start?
Whether you're looking for single parent holidays, staycations, family adventure breaks or all-inclusive luxury, the choice available is mind-boggling. There's something for all budgets, all activity levels, all tastes and to satisfy even the hardest-to-please teenagers.
A new word for a well trodden holiday route – staying close to home, cutting down on travel and exploring often hidden treasures of your own country or county. Ideal for anyone on a budget or with very young children as you avoid busy and expensive airline travel. Camping is ideal for family holidays, cheap, flexible and guaranteed fresh air and fun for the children, for those wanting more luxury 'Glamping' is becoming increasingly popular. With sumptuously decorated tipis and yurts or 'olde worlde' farm lodges, it's easy to see why and although significantly more expensive than pitching your own tent, the added luxury can convert even the most reluctant of campers.
Single Parent Holidays & Family Group Holidays
Daunted by the thought of traveling alone with your children? Traveling in a group not only reduces the stress of the holiday but provides ready made friends for both the children and the adults. With activities pre-organized there's little for parents to think of – except relaxation! Holidays for single parent families abroad or locally are available and becoming increasingly popular, whilst a number of operators specialize in tours for small family groups.
If the weather's unreliable (Briish holidays anyone?), Holiday resorts are an ideal solution. Geared towards families, there are activities galore but outdoors and in, and with other children around, there are always ready made friends available.
Desperate for guaranteed sunshine? If you're British then that often means overseas travel. Cheap airlines have made overseas travel much more accessible than in previous decades and locations such as the Balearics or Tunisia offer decent accommodation for value for money prices. Consider going out of the main holiday season to keep the costs low – Easter or May is a good balance between price and weather.
Luxury All-Inclusive Family Holidays
Five star beach side resorts with luxury accommodation and all you can eat or drink? Family heaven! All inclusive holidays are a winner for children, there's no pestering parents for a drink or snack, they can simply help themselves, for mum and dad there's no worrying about spending money, everything's included. A wide number of all inclusive hotels are becoming holiday villages in their own right, offering not only a variety of bars and restaurants to dine at, but also a wide choice of entertainment. On site water parks will keep the kids amused for hours whilst animation teams and kids clubs fill in any gaps – and ensure the parents can rest whilst the children are entertained. Another cocktail? It'd be rude not to.
For those wanting a little more adventure on their holidays, consider joining a pre-organized group holiday where the itinerary is planned in advance and included in the price. The organisers use their own experience and local knowledge to create the perfect mix of activities and sight seeing leaving mum or dad to concentrate on having fun with their children.
Whatever you decide for your holiday, do plan in advance to give you time to find the best options to suit you and your family but also to have the greatest choice of locations and prices – early booking discounts can be substantial.