Child friendly holidays: where and how to have holiday with kids?
Most people's idea of a dream holiday involves slipping into a bikini and sipping piña coladas from a comfy sun lounger. Introduce the element of young children and you're looking at an entirely different proposition: lazy mornings beside the swimming pool and late booze sessions are sharply replaced with activity clubs and early nights.
Let's face it, when family are involved, sometimes there's just no getting away from compromise - but there's no reason that holidays can't be fun (and relaxing) for everyone.
Planning your trip
It should go without saying that not every holiday package is compatible with children (try backpacking across Vietnam's tourist trail with a three year old in tow). To make your trip child friendly, there are a few things to bear in mind:
Kids thrive on routine, which means jumping from one hotel to the next is probably not a good idea if you're trying to get them to shed their holiday anxiety. Find a solid base and stick to it.
As above, excessive travel is generally discouraged when you're on holiday with the little ones. If possible, you should plan your trip so the major touchstones are all within a few miles of your base.
This is where things get a little more difficult. Hotels that feature the best of both worlds (that means mazey golf courses as well as crazy water slides) are often expensive, but they do ensure you can keep everyone entertained and still be able to meet up during the evening for a family meal.
Although family holidays should be about creating precious memories with your loved ones, parents do need some alone time as well. Many hotels carry childcare/ activity centres where you can leave the kids for a few hours.
The sunny island offers accommodation and entertainment for a relaxing getaway for adults and little ones: as well as having fun on the beach, there's also the fantastic theme park with many attractions. You can find a really good value hotel very close to the beach.
Europe's cultural capital has much to offer both hardened travellers and youngsters taking their first steps overseas (DisneyLand Paris might not have all the attractions of Orlando, but it's still a lot of fun). The main difference? About a grand.
Themed holidays are fun for young children but if you're taking a pair of moody 10-13 year olds abroad with you you're going to need something a little more stimulating. The Algarve's shallow coasts offer a fun and safe environment for kids to find their sea legs.
Again, this one is more suitable for young teenagers: exploring the ruins of ancient Egypt probably won't keep toddlers entertained. It will, however, create some unforgettable memories - provided, of course, you've had enough of rollercoasters and waterparks.
Self-catered tents may not seem very appealing compared to the prospect of five-star hotels in the Med, but with acres of land to explore and plenty of on-site entertainment, Eurocamp's resorts (available right across the continent) are super child friendly.