When you were a couple, you had those romantic holidays to exotic destinations, just the two of you, soaking in the sun and the pleasure of each other’s company. A few years down the line you’re probably not just a couple any longer but have one or more kids in the picture. When kids are involved you will probably need to put a lot more thought into the planning of your holiday, than when you would just take off as twosome on a whim! It brings to mind Cliff Richards’ popular song…
We’re all going on a summer holiday,
No more working for a week or two,
Fun and laughter on a summer holiday,
To make our dreams come true.
We’re going where the sun shines brighter,
Where all around the sea is blue,
We’ve seen it in the movies,
Now let’s see if its true…
Family style holidays truly bring to mind fun and laughter. And while the blissful summer holiday, stretching over a week to ten days, is idyllic, a short weekend break can be as rejuvenating.
There are many advantages to a family weekend getaway..
It helps you relax
Like any holiday, it is a chance to unwind or, as the kids may call it, ‘Take a chill pill’ or even better ‘Chillax’ (a unique combo of a cup of chilling served with a dash of relaxing!). It helps to give your mind a good chance at spring cleaning, clearing all the cobwebs and helping to invigorate the senses. You return to your normal routine raring to go, with a sense of enthusiasm that was missing before you went on your weekend break.
Invaluable family time
In the hustle and bustle of daily life – work, school and household chores – there is hardly any time to spend together as a family. Family getaways provide an opportunity to bond and spend quality time together. If one of the kids is away at a boarding school or hostel, it is a chance to catch up on the time spent away. An important element of going on a holiday is the company you go with, and what better way to spend a weekend, than soaking in the love of your family?
It provides a change of scene
If you live in the city, especially a congested one, a family weekend break is the ideal opportunity to get away to a cleaner and greener place. Breathing fresh air and taking in awesome scenery is a wonderful change from the normal, everyday grind of hearing honking cars and seeing concrete structures.
Deciding where to go on the weekend getaway
Everyone’s opinion counts
When making a decision where you should take off for a family break, consider what everyone has to say. While it might be madness and mayhem, with everyone chipping in, it might throw up some useful ideas and possibilities. Kids especially can be great fonts of information, as their friends could be updating them on good holiday locations. Irrespective of where you finally decide to go, it’s important to keep everyone involved so that they feel their point of view matters.
Since the family break is only going to last a couple of days over the weekend, it makes sense to keep the getaway destination accessible, or at least not too far. An hour to about four hours is the ideal traveling time that should enable you to get to your vacation spot. Anything more than that would involve you and your family spending most of your weekend traveling and leave you too tired to relax and enjoy the place when you reach it.
Take the weather into account
Certain places are best to visit at particular times of the year, based on the weather. Whether your family is up for adventure sports, trekking, wants a peaceful break or loves scenic beauty, it’s preferable to ascertain the forecast and if it is ideal to visit your destination of choice at that time of year.
How old your kids are
Your kids' ages also determine where you might want to go on your family getaway. For instance, if your kids are very young, you might want a place with all the creature comforts and one that will assure certain basic amenities. But if your kids are older and you’re willing to rough it out, you might want to go camping or do something more adventurous.
You don’t have to spend a lot
To ensure you have a good time. Having a good weekend break doesn’t mean living in luxury at the most expensive hotel or lodge and traveling in style. It’s more important that the getaway should be fun and provide entertainment for you as a family.
What you shouldn’t take along:
Or solitary pursuits. Avoid taking things that would mean spending time alone. This is a family weekend getaway and you need to do things together as a team and enjoy each other’s company. You could always read a book or enjoy a videogame at another time and place.
Don’t mix business with pleasure
Avoid carrying any paperwork on your getaway. The purpose of the getaway is to spend time with your family, so don’t make the mistake of trying to get some work done. Bringing out your laptop, to quickly add some finishing touches to that presentation you’ve been working on, will only serve to dampen the holiday spirit and get your spouse’s blood pressure up.
What you should take along
Try and carry light clothing (unless you’re going to a high altitude place) and keep your bags light. Have a list that you can use as a ready reference whenever you go on a family weekend getaway so that you aren’t scrambling for essentials at the last minute.
Make sure you have detailed directions if you’re visiting the place for the first time. Take along a road map if required, as well as the phone number of the place if you’ve already made reservations. If you don’t want to have too many stops along the way, carry some light snacks and bottled water as well as paper napkins and motion sickness bags if anybody in the family usually gets carsick.
Means of entertainment
If your journey is going to involve a road journey of a couple of hours or more, carry music of everyone’s choice for the way. If your break is going to stretch to more than a couple of days, say four days, and there isn’t much in terms of sightseeing to do, take along board games for entertainment in the late evenings or if your family is full of card sharps, carry a pack of cards for a rousing card session before retiring to bed. If you’re heading to the beach on your family weekend getaway, carry a beach ball or volleyball, a frisbee or even the required equipment for a game of cricket on the beach.
And most important of all, take along a carefree mood and a fun-loving attitude so that you start your holiday in the right spirit!