Holidays: two’s company, or with the family crowd?

Holidays: two’s company, or with the family crowd?

Zelda West-Meads weighs up the pros and cons of travelling with your other half or with your whole brood.

Zelda West-Meads weighs up the pros and cons of travelling with your other half or with your whole brood.

When your children were little, going on holiday was a much simpler affair. Your children were happy just to be with you and all they really wanted was a beach, a bucket and spade and perhaps a steady supply of ice creams.

But by your fifties, your children may be in their mid- to late-teens and suddenly their parents have become the most boring people in the world. This is when the family holiday might just be a bit more complicated…

Travels with teens

There are several different ways of making this kind of holiday work:

  • Choose activity holidays where the kids have the benefit of clubs to meet other teenagers while the grown-ups have some much-needed time to themselves. But the downside can be that these are often fearsomely expensive and do tend to be a little lacking in atmosphere or culture.
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  • Holiday in a group either with family friends or your siblings and cousins where the children are a similar age. This can work brilliantly as you can play games by the pool and really relax as your children will be entertained, and you can share the cooking, shopping and chores with the other adults. Make sure you all want the same thing before you book, though – if you like to cook and eat in, for example, you might not want a week away with friends who enjoy clubbing every night.
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  • Most teenagers like to be active and if you are somewhere where they can go paddle boarding or kayaking or cycling, it can help fend off many a teenage sulk. Or you could all take on a new family challenge such as scuba diving or just a family tennis tournament to show them you are not as boring as they might think!
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  • Your children may each want to invite a friend or a girlfriend or boyfriend along. If your budget works out, and as long as those friends also abide by your house rules about mess and noise and general good manners, this can work very well and stop siblings getting bored and squabbling.

Getaways with the grandparents

Whether you’re already grandparents yourselves or you are considering inviting your parents along on a family break, the trick is to book an option with space, time and a location that gives everyone a chance to do their own thing.

It’s nice to get together for family meals or games, but you don’t have to stick together all the time – and grandparents might not always want to fill each day at the same speed as the children.

What destination ticks the right boxes?

While a beautiful villa in the heart of the countryside with distant views to the sea might seem idyllic to you, it is likely to be much too remote to appeal to the average teenager.

  • When your children hit 16 or 17, you might be much better off in a little town with a bit of life where they can go off to the shops or the beach on their own.
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  • If you have a pool at your villa or apartment, so long as they are competent swimmers, then instead of dragging them off to see the sights (unless you have one of those rare children who actually likes ancient ruins and art galleries), you could go off on your own for the afternoon, knowing that they have the freedom to come and go from your hotel or villa.
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  • If they are 17 or 18, they will almost certainly want to go out and enjoy the nightlife and, if this is in walking distance, you won’t have to have your holiday ruined by being a 3am taxi service.

Just the two of you

Even if your children haven’t left home yet, they may have been invited to stay with friends or have plans to go away on a summer camp. If so, will you get the chance to go on holiday as a couple?

  • So long as you know your children are safe this is a wonderful opportunity to have the kind of holiday you might not have had for some years. To ensure you have a happy break, make sure you’re clear where your children are going, who with and that you have contact details of their friends and their friends’ parents.
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  • This is your chance for relaxation how you like it – visiting cultural attractions without a little voice piping up: “I’m bored”, romantic meals out without having to book somewhere that serves chips, reading all those books that you have been planning to for ages and, perhaps best of all, to spend special, quality time together.

Roll on summer.

What are you planning to do for your holidays this year? We’d love to hear it in the comments section below.

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A mixed bag

10/03/2017

We are going on holiday next month with our daughter & her partner, in their 40's, his parents, in their 70's, we are in our 60's.Grandchildren, girl 14, boy 19 and 4 in their 20's, one with his new wife. We have agreed not to live in each others pockets, as we are in a hotel, all inclusive. We will meet up at breakfast, and for the evening meal, but will do our own thing most of the time. Lets see what happens!!

children leaving home

Anaztaja 06/03/2017

If they are 17 or 18, they will almost certainly want to go out and enjoy the nightlife and, if this is in walking distance, you won’t have to have your holiday ruined by being a 3am taxi service.

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Family/Relationships

Zelda

Family/Relationships

Marriage & relationship counsellor, sexual therapist & author of several self-help books.