What could be better than a family holiday? In some cases the question more appropriate would be: What could be worse than a family holiday?
While we all dream of an idyllic vacation where parents and kids bond and boredom is for the bedroom at home, we are all familiar with the many Hollywood films that have been made depicting the nightmare that can ensue when three or more very different personalities are put together for an enforced period of time.
Many parents return from their break with the kids with hundreds of photos depicting fabulous experiences of sailing, sunbathing and so much fun. But then there are the nightmare family holidays where returning home is the only thing the kids look forward to.
Here we have outlined five of the worst experiences that can happen to a family:
So many books, articles and films have been produced revealing the horrors that can come from planning a camping holiday with kids. Damp, cold sleeping arrangements, wet weather spoiling the fun and boring meals are just some of the things that can put the Kibosh on camping. It may seem like a good idea to purchase a piece of canvas and all bundle into a four-seater with everything but the kitchen sink but it can end in disaster. At the best of times, putting all the family together can lead to rows but never more so than when they are cramped in a confined space. Many a camping holiday has ended in tears or worse. Even the attempts of sports equipment manufacturers to ‘glamorise’ camping and rebrand it ‘glamping’ still doesn’t lead to control over weather, children’s moods or the unpredictable wildlife.
While hopping on a plane to a far flung country may seem attractive, it can be expensive. Many families believe in the good, old-fashioned beach holiday. However, if the family are eschewing planes and trains then that leaves the car as the reliable mode of transport. Here lies the challenge. In order to reach the ‘cheap and cheerful’ destination, a long car journey could ensue. A holiday destination that seemed ‘just down the road’ in the planning could, in reality, be a six hour journey – most of which is spent in stationery traffic behind hundreds of families with similar ideas. While electronic games and books may seem to pass the time, children have a knack of getting bored with reading Harry Potter just as you enter the traffic jam.
So many of us have ended up cursing the weather on a holiday. After saving up every last penny, every lieu day we’re owed from work and paying for the pets to go into care, the last thing we want when we wake on that first morning of the holiday with two or three excited kids is to see the rain pouring down. The British stiff upper lip (and many years’ experience of rainy holidays) engenders a stoicism that leads to donning wellington boots and waterproofs but, let’s face it, there are only so many days you can enjoy splashing in puddles and visiting the local cinema and swimming pool begins to take its toll on the purse.
How on earth might the sunshine spoil a holiday? So we might ask but when you have kids it can prove to be something of a nightmare. Chilling out on a beach might seem like a good idea when you’ve spent the past nine months carrying a growing weight and then experienced childbirth. But taking a newborn into blazing heat is asking for trouble. Naïve though it might seem, cooler climates might be more suitable. Toddlers are even worse trouble in sun as they can’t exactly be left in a sun tent as they tend to wander. Soon a relaxing holiday turns into an energetic repetition of getting up and down to bring the said toddler back to the tent. Older children may be less prone to wandering in the sun but still put up a fight every day, twice or three times a day, when parents attempt to smother them in sun cream.
Travelling to foreign countries is a brilliant way to not only entertain but also educate the children in the family. This is all very well as long as the family stay healthy. However, stories abound of vomiting and diarrhoea that has turned an idyllic holiday into a living hell. It is essential to take precautions (and loads of antibacterial wipes and spray) if you are travelling somewhere unfamiliar. Even the most respectable hotel can be home to bacteria that will not just spoil a holiday but have far-reaching effects on family health. No one wants to spend their fortnight mopping up after four children consecutively.
If illness ruins your holiday and it was the hotel’s fault, then you could make a claim for compensation against your tour operator that sent you there.
Peter Anderson – I love to blog about holidays and travellers experiences! Google+