In a week’s time we will be on vacation (the blog will take a three week vacation too – you’ll find it on the beach!) and while as mentioned before we have most of it paid for we have discovered before that it’s important to plan what we actually are going to do.
With kids we have often found that just getting them out of the hotel in the morning is tricky. This alongside the family bickering over what we are actually going to do has led to some vacation tension.
We will be heading back to the UK for three weeks and half of this time will be doing some traveling and sightseeing. Therefore for the travel period we wanted to determine some themes for what we wanted to do. This involved all the family giving ideas – castles! bakeries! culture!
This enabled us to set up a framework to plan around. For flexibility and to save costs we wanted to get some sort of pass. The one we went with is the English Heritage Pass, this is for overseas visitors and is valid for either 9 days (62GBP for a family) or 16 days (72GBP). This turns out to be a really good value, as for example family entry to a typical castle will be at least 25GBP. So as long as we visit at least 3 locations (and they run hundreds) then we have made our money back. The other advantage is that if we go somewhere and are not impressed by it then we only have to stay an hour and don’t feel forced to stay the entire day.
The other thing we looked into was the London Pass, as we will have 2 full days in London, however this is pretty expensive and would set back the 4 of us close to 400 GBP. As such we would feel like we would need to be rushing around all the time to maximize the usage. We felt this would be stressful and deeply unfair on the kids.
So we now have an activity sheet with each day planned out including driving, and activities. Of course we have included contingencies for rain (it’s England in June after all!), this should keep us focused as well as keeping children excited for the next days activities.
The other thing we have planned for is food. We know where the grocery stores are and possible stop offs for cakes and snacks. We are going to try and avoid formal restaurants as much as we can, so that we can be nimble. Having a 10 year old boy who gets hungry approximately every 30 minutes means we need to be prepared!
The last thing we just need to sort out is access to laundry, as we are trying to travel light and only have clothing for 5 or 6 days. So we will need to wash clothing after a few days.
We will also be keeping track of our expenses as per normal, probably work mainly with cash so that we can easily see what we have spent. Obviously we don’t want the kids to feel like we are being cheap, but we need to keep control of things. The one thing they do want to do that is a bit expensive is visit the Cadbury factory. We did this a few years back and the kids liked all the free chocolate, so we might do that again.
We are not the sort of family to spend all day just sitting around so we want to keep active. By meticulous planning we can maximize our activities without creating stress and friction in the family – as long as we don’t come across as control freaks!