For me, and I am sure many other parents, there is an annual balancing act to be performed. It isn’t the angst that many parents go through of choosing between being there for the children or going out to work. Nor is it the choice between having another glass of prosecco and being able to look presentable on the school run.
What I am talking about is getting the balance right between what the kids want to do on holiday and what you want to do. Sometimes they miraculously align – although the more children you have, the less likely this is to happen.
For our family, the balance is between a holiday where the kids do nothing more than laze by a pool with unlimited access to their devices and a holiday where us grown-ups get to explore temples, go on brisk walks/cycling trips and wine-tasting at local vineyards. Especially the last one.
The trick is to find a happy medium. Here, I present to you some of the best ideas I have come across to strike the right balance.
High-tech and no-tech in Japan
If your kids have trouble removing their faces from their iPads like mine do, then Japan is a good balance. You can take them to have their minds blown in the gadget shops of Akihabara’s “electric town” but also to Kyushu, to see volcanoes, hot springs, rainforests, sandy beaches and a Samurai castle. You can also take them on a manga drawing course or to an all-you-can-eat ice cream parlour. A reliable resource is Inside Japan Tours, a good Japan family expert.
Wild animals & beach in Tanzania
I have had a soft spot for Tanzania ever since we spent our honeymoon there. As far as balance goes, what could be better than mixing safari and beach, with something for everyone in the family. Spend the first part of your trip in a safe luxury lodge in the Serengeti and watch the kids faces as an elephant or giraffe strolls by at breakfast. Then when you are wildlifed out, jump across to magical Zanzibar for some relaxation on pure white beaches. Exsus Travel puts together some wonderful family-friendly adventures in the country.
Chateaux & kids complexes France
If we’re honest, few kids want to be dragged around chateaux on their holidays but there is a way to do it. France’s Siblu offers the best of both worlds. They are modern mobile home villages centred on fun-filled pool complexes and made particularly family friendly with free kids clubs, sports and entertainment. They are dotted all over France, meaning you can plan your adult activities accordingly: the Loire for those chateaux, Normandy for the D-Day beaches, Brittany for the stone circles.
Dunes, the kasbah & Marrakech in Morocco
For many families, North Africa is the first taste of something really exotic and that first nibble is often very addictive, with many families returning again and again. Morocco is a good safe bet and offers mind-expanding experiences for families. The way to achieve balance is to combine the beaches of Essaouira with exploring the Sahara dunes, throwing in a Kasbah in the Atlas Mountains and the sights and smells of Marrakech. Fleewinter is an expert in putting together perfect itineraries for families heading to this mesmerising destination.
Summer active fun in the Alps
The mountains in the summer? Are you crazy? As someone who has lived at the foot of the Alps for several years, it never ceases to amaze me that families only seem to think of them when snow starts to fall. Yet summer in the mountains is just perfect. First thing to realise is that it is often gloriously sunny in summer, as you rise above the clouds. Second is that skiing isn’t the only thing you can do up at altitude – think mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, rafting and swimming, both in mountain lakes and outdoor pools that are often closed in winter. Annecy, Evian and Les Gets are personal favourites but Peak Retreats is run by people who really know these mountains.
How do you find the perfect balance for family holidays, to suit parents and kids? Tell us where you like to go and what you like to do!