There’s never a time when I’m not planning my next holiday.
Whether’s it’s a weekend away with friends at a caravan park or a family holiday somewhere tropical, I’m always looking ahead to the next thing.
I know holidays can be a good idea in theory but hard work in reality – especially when the kids are babies and toddlers – but I still persist. I like to have something to look forward to in amongst the seemingly never ending admin of family life not to mention endless meal preparation and washing.
And the fun nearly always outweighs the admin for me.*
Now I’ve got my 2017 diary and can see where the school holidays and public holidays fall – I just need to know the Curriculum Days to complete the picture – I’ve started seriously trawling all my favourite travel and accommodation sites.
Twenty seventeen, I’m coming for you.
As part of my research, I also like to ask friends and family about their favourite spots, recommended accommodation and their plans are for the coming year.
And this time, I’ve gone a little bit further – I’ve asked some of my favourite friends on the interwebs for their travel intel and inspo as I thought it may also be of interest to you.
Because let’s face it, this holidaying with kids biz can be a tricky game and often depends on so many things including but not limited to your kids’ ages/stages, budget, the time you can take off, tolerances for distance/planes etcetera.
So in today’s post, the fabulous Anna from Colour Me Anna, Belinda from Gallerie B and Martine from The Modern Parent are sharing a bit about what works for their families and some of their favourite holiday destinations. Hopefully, this might give you some ideas or inspo for your next family getaway.
Stay tuned for the second post in this series too which features another more ideas and tips from some Kirralee from Escape With Kids, Kelly from A Life Less Frantic and little old moi.
Ok, on with the show.
Anna of Colour Me Anna
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and who is in your family? We are Anna + Tez aka The Baker and our awesome foursome are Mia (11), Evie (9), Lexi (7) and Fred (5).
Li River, Yangshuo, China
2. What does your family need for a good holiday? All we need for a great holiday is to be able to switch off from our usual busyness and take a moment to just hang with each other. Beach holidays rock but we’ve got access to a great holiday house on the Bellarine Peninsula so often we don’t seek that beach break style holiday. Having said that we do love a little trip to Bali for shopping, cocktails and pool hangs. Lately we have come to realise that our kids are busy kids. They love a city as much as a quiet town but culture and interesting points of interest are great for them. Plus parks. Big city parks. And a metro system. Those things entertain our lot for hours!
People’s Park, Shanghai
3. What has been your favourite family holiday locally, in Australia and overseas (if applicable) and why? If you have any accommodation or specific towns/areas you’ve loved too, please tell! It is so hard to go past Noosa for a great family holiday. The beach is spectacular and the food options are great. Markets, shopping and that river? Amazing.
We loved Shanghai. It is a huge city but has lots of little pockets that allow you to escape the hustle and bustle. The metro is fun and the shopping is ace. People’s Park is a terrific place to hang on a sunny Sunday. Then there is Xintiandi and Tianzifang – little suburbs that thrill and delight. Now it hosts the biggest Disneyland in Asia so a return trip has to be on the cards! We have tried every accommodation option under the sun aside from camping. It is just not me! For ease and comfort, joining hotel rooms are always our preference with breakfast down the street. So much more fun getting out each morning with food as the first priority!
4. Has your approach to family holidays changed over time? We’ve definitely become more confident travellers. We were all about getting somewhere and not moving.
Our latest trip in Japan opened our eyes to the joy of moving around because the Shinkansen system is ridiculously good. Seeing more of the country is definitely possible and something we’ll aim to do on our next trip. It is also lovely not hiring a car so that the travel stress is merely getting your contents in a suitcase and arriving at the right platform!
Orange Shinto Gates: Ueno Park, Tokyo
5. Where are you planning to go in 2017? How did you decide? Canada is next on the list. After China + Japan we’re looking for a slightly easier holiday where language and food barriers are a little less present. But a big holiday takes a lot of planning and cash so we’re not heading anywhere for a little while:)
Belinda from Gallerie B
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and who is in your family? We are a family of four, 2 girls (aged 8 and 11). Both of us work (Interior Designer, Funds Management). We usually holiday in the July or September school holidays.
2. What does your family need for a good holiday? We always laugh that it wouldn’t really matter where we were, if there is a pool, the girls are happy and the holiday is a success. A beach is always a bonus and we love sunny and warm destinations. Good food options and the opportunity for a bit of retail therapy are also a bonus.
Noosa National Park
3. What has been your favourite family holiday locally, in Australia and overseas (if applicable) and why? If you have any accommodation or specific towns/areas you’ve loved too, please tell! In Australia we love Noosa for its reliability, beautiful beach, great restaurants, shops and generally good weather. We have most recently stayed at the RACV resort and we all loved it. The pool was heated (in July), the accomm had great facilities (full modern kitchen) and good food options. The price was very reasonable for RACV members. We also did a day trip to Fraser Island which I would highly recommend.
Overseas we love Hawaii. We usually spend a couple of initial days in Honolulu for the shopping and then go to Maui. The beaches are beautiful, weather perfect and we love the American service. We stay in the same apartment that we book through the American vrbo.com website. It gives us a bit more flexibility with meals (as it has a full kitchen) than hotel and has a shared pool.
4. Has your approach to family holidays changed over time? Although the kids are getting older, a pool is still essential on the list (which still rules out winter destinations at the moment). We are happier now to travel a bit further as they love the plane factor which definitely gets easier.
5. Where are you planning to go in 2017? How did you decide? We are looking at Tokyo as a possible destination in 2017. Feeling safe to travel is becoming more of a consideration (unfortunately!) in our decision. I have heard some great reviews from people who have been there with kids. We would consider visiting Disneyland there and the kids are old enough to hopefully appreciate all the cultural differences a bit more.
Martine from The Modern Parent
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and who is in your family? In our family, there’s me and Paul, and our 5 boys aged 16, 14, 13, 7 and 5 years.
2. What does your family need for a good holiday? We like destinations that provide warm weather, swimming and water sports. We enjoy going with extended family, with friends or on our own and we have been lucky enough to have experienced all 3 this year. We have never used a kids club as we always seem to have enough kids around us and having older ones to help look out for younger ones has been a bonus of a big family.
I like to be able to have some time to go for a shop, which is usually on my own as my boys are not great shoppers, or we like different shops! We also must have a variety of eating places around as I never cook on short holidays (except for holidays at the beach house). The kids love a buffet breakfast so that is often a consideration and a great way to fill them up to get through the day.
3. What has been your favourite family holiday locally, in Australia and overseas (if applicable) and why? If you have any accommodation or specific towns/areas you’ve loved too, please tell! Our favourite holiday locally is our regular visits to Lorne. We have been fortunate enough to have a family holiday house there which we stay at regularly with cousins and grandparents. This has been invaluable in bonding with the family and creating so many wonderful memories.
The kids have also made new friends there who they see each year, they have joined the Nippers program and some of the older boys have become involved in the surf club and become life savers. We love the coastline along the Great Ocean Road and I think it is one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
My other favourite Australian destination is Uluru. Being an avid photographer the landscape of the Australian outback is amazing and Kata Juta National Park at dusk just blew me away.
A recent holiday with the family to Bali was probably my favourite international holiday. We stayed in Nusa Dua in a resort and then Seminyak in a villa. It was good to break it up and experience both styles of accommodation. A highlight of that trip was bike riding through the rice fields of Ubud and swimming at beautiful Uluwatu.
4. Has your approach to family holidays changed over time? Our approach to family trips hasn’t really changed all that much. Obviously we can be a bit more adventurous as the kids get older and so we look for options that are going to be good for the teenagers and the younger ones. That being said, the kids are just happy to be hanging out in water, eating ice creams and exploring new places. I always find that kids are easier on holidays and I think regardless of budgets and destinations, any holiday or time away from home is such an important part of family life.
5. Where are you planning to go in 2017? How did you decide? 2017 is still in planning mode and so for now we are just looking forward to another summer by the beach down at Lorne.
* Except for that one time our oldest kids were 3 and 1 which I talked about in this post.
For more holiday planning inspo, you might like to check out the following posts:
For where to holiday locally, I’ve written previously on:
- Where to Holiday with Kids in Victoria
- What to Do in Bendigo With or Without Kids
- What to Do on the Mornington Peninsula with Kids
- What to do on Phillip Island with Kids.
So over to you – what are your family holiday destinations and where would you like to go in 2017?