14 Jan 2013

Family Holiday's - What People Don't Ever Admit

I wrote this post whilst I was on holidays two weeks ago. I knew if I summarized our first family holiday after I returned it would probably be about what we did, what we saw, the good, the fun but forgotten about the ugly.

The truth is family holiday's - well traveling with an infant is exhausting and to be honest, at times not a holiday at all. Both parents need to be prepared to be stretched to their wits end agreeing to go away with such a tiny unpredictable human being. Let me explain how ....

Packing: in my previous life packing for a holiday could be left at the last minute, required minimal thought and in most cases not much actually packed. My luggage usually contained summer dresses and sexy lingerie. That carefree behavior is out the window when packing for a family holiday. Every potential scenario must be thought of and an appropriate outfit (and back up outfit) must be packed for.      

Getting to your destination and back: prior to children the travel time was usually saved for reading a good book, catching up on sleep (because you packed last minute the previous night) or making googly eyes with your partner in anticipation of your destination or post holiday "fun". Now traveling with a family, the long haul is a survival game. You can't sit back and enjoy the ride, you are on constant "alert" mode. Alert to make sure they're comfortable and have enough battery life in whatever electrical device you're using to keep them per-occupied. Alert to ensure they're not bored or else they'll let you and everyone else around you know through whinging and tears. Alert to make sure they're not hungry and if they are you've packed a fridge full of food to cater to all their taste bud needs.

Enjoying the sights: or potentially lack of it. Before having children visiting a foreign place we would squeeze as much sight seeing as we possibly could. We would wait in queues, commute from one side of town to the other and walk our feet off. On family holidays you assess which sites you will attempt to visit. You strategically investigate which sites are children (and pram) friendly, which days have the least crowds and which aren't too far away from your accommodation. Taking all of this into consideration with their sleep and eating schedule.

Eating out: A holiday isn't a holiday without experiencing some of the local and traditional grub available. Previously Ian and I usually aim to experience both sides of the eating spectrum when we're away. We love cheap good eats and also experiencing something a little more special or unique. When eating out with a young family expect to to enjoy an early dinner to avoid the peak time crowds or revert to takeaway so you can refrain eating out in public. If you're brave enough to head into a restaurant with young children be prepared. You are constantly tag teaming between you and your partner throughout the whole meal. You're tag teaming on who's feeding the child, who's keeping the child entertain or worst case scenario who's going to interrupt their meal and clean the dirty nappy, knowing you will no longer feel the urge to eat any longer upon return.

Alone time: a couple's holiday was a completely alone with each other time. You could lock yourselves in your accommodation if you wanted to and you control how accessible you could be while away. In a family holiday situation there's no such thing as alone time. You are literally never ever alone and at times you wish you could be. If you're working or send your children to child care that separation time is now non existent. Don't get me wrong I rather be at home with my child then work but if you think about it, that work time is some space away from the craziness and unpredictability of looking after a child. On holiday's they are with you 24/7, there's no break or completely alone time. 

So why go on a family holiday? 

All the whining aside, no amount of complaints or uncomfortableness could out weigh the long life memories you've made together. Think about it, you remember those holiday trips your family went on when you were little with fond and detailed memories. They are memories that will sticks with you forever. Memories you wish to create with your own family - no matter how uncomfortable or stressful it may actually be.

Have you noticed any other differences between non-family and family holiday's?
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