AIBU to ask for help with holiday (2014)?

(51 Posts)
Gossipgirladdict Tue 18-Jun-13 14:41:41

I know there is a Travel section, but it doesn't seem to get much traffic and I was hoping for lots of suggestions....

Basically, we have an endowment policy maturing next year and one of the things I we have earmarked some of the money for is a really good holiday. There is me, DH, DD1 (7 at the time) and DD2 (who will then be 18-20 mo).

Before finding out last year that I was miraculously pg with DD2, we'd always thought we would go to Florida. I am now having second thoughts, mainly because of the long flight and the logistics of such a holiday with a toddler, and also because DH isn't all that keen. If I'm honest, I'm not overly fussed about it either, it would really be for DD1.

So I'm looking for alternatives.... There has to be something 'special' about it, as this is the only time we'll ever be able to spend this kind of money (8-10K including spending money) on a holiday. I thought of a cruise, but not sure if it would be our kind of thing, though I do like the idea of seeing lots of different places. Not sure how child friendly that would be....

To give an idea of what we like, this year for the third year running we are going to Puerto Pollensa. Would like to have tried somewhere different this year but didn't want to be disappointed and wish we'd stuck with PP. When DD1 was little we stayed in the UK and loved Devon (Dartmouth/Salcombe area). Also liked The Lakes and Northumberland. Pre DD's, DH and I loved city breaks, New York being my ultimate fav (I'm obsessed with the place). We also loved Barcelona, Prague, Vienna...

So... Does anyone have any advice on Florida, cruises or ideas that I haven't thought of?

Thanks for reading, sorry it's long....

Witch91 Tue 18-Jun-13 21:43:32

I would also agree with trying Disney in Florida - children will appreciate it differently at different ages including as young as 2. If you are staying on property then it will be easy to get too and from the parks using their transport. There are many disney forums which give loads of tips about travelling with children - not sure if I can post specific names but PM me if you want me to let you know names.

Also, Disney are currently doing a free dining promotion for next year if you stay on site and this will include during school holidays which would make it more reasonable for your family.

I am a slight Disney nut so if you need more help let me know!!

Am slightly jealous of your holiday dilemma grin.

The best holiday I've ever had was on a P&O Med cruise. We went on the Ventura, which is a family friendly ship, and it was fab. DDs were 6, 4 and 15 months at the time. The kids clubs were great- plenty of activities during the day, then at night, there was a slumber party until 11ish (from what I remember), and 4s and under could go into the night nursery until 2am. We sometimes did this so that we could have a meal together (food was fantastic), and watch a show or whatever. We also sometimes kept the DDs with us, and they ate in the main restaurant with us. I loved going to so many different places. DDs 1 & 2 can remember it, and are always asking to do it again. A sneaky peek at the P&O website suggests that something similar in school holidays would cost around half of your budget. Then you could have another wonderful holiday the following year, too!

I would advise you to shop around- travel agents would want to snap your hand off with such a healthy budget. It's not so much what they make on it, more that it helps towards the monthly sales target (can you tell that I used to work for one? grin)

chestnut100 Tue 18-Jun-13 21:56:41

I stayed at shamwari, there it was possible to take the kids on the game drive or to leave them with a nanny.

chestnut100 Tue 18-Jun-13 21:58:14

The other benefit of Cape Town is they are on the same time zone as us so very easy on kids. Google camps bay beach....argh, I still dream of it!

Fluffy1234 Tue 18-Jun-13 22:01:17

Me too Chestnut, it's my spiritual home. The climate, light, warm breeze, mountain, people, food, activities. Bestest place in the world.

Gossipgirladdict Wed 19-Jun-13 09:59:40

Thanks for all your replies, some great advice and suggestions!

Originally, our budget was lower, around 5K for the holiday, plus spending money (say up to 2K depending on what food was included). However, having priced up Disney (admittedly a full package through Virgin) it was coming out more like 8K without spending money, though that included the dining plan, so most of our food would be taken care of, so I revised the budget up. I really would prefer to spend a bit less. I can't believe how expensive Disney is next year! Especially considering DD2 would go free! Other friends I've talked to have said the same, I know a few people going this year and they seem to have paid much less.

After the first replies I'd pretty much discounted Florida, but then later ones have made me think it would be OK with a little 'un.

I hadn't considered Cape Town/safari, Dubai, the Caribbean, or a Florida/New York mix. Lots to think about!

The Ventura cruise is tempting me though! That was the ship I was thinking about going on and I think they are now doing cruises starting in the Med rather than Southampton, which means the eastern Med is more accessible (have been to a lot of the western Med cities).

I think I need to speak to a good travel agent (hopefully without giving too much away about my budget!). Funnily enough, my DSis works for an independent one locally and though not the cheapest, they really know their stuff. There is another one in our town that is supposed to be a 'cruise specialist' so it might be worth speaking to them.

I am looking at this now, simply because the Disney offers are on at the moment, so if we are going to go to Florida I want the best deal possible.

DH, god love him, doesn't get much of a say in holidays. He trusts my judgement on them as I do loads of research etc and he knows that if I'm happy with the decision, he knows he will enjoy it (I'd never choose something I thought he would hate).

I know that this is a really, really lovely 'problem' to have! Mind you, we have been paying into this policy for twenty-five years!

mijas99 Wed 19-Jun-13 10:39:40

Expensive holidays are for the adults benefit really. All kids want are open spaces, activities and other children to play with - so I'm sure that a caravan park in Newquay or an all inclusive hotel next to a great beach would be best for them.

Disney World would be my idea of hell. Why not holiday at your local shopping centre and take them on those little rides that cost a pound a piece ;) Pretty much the same

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 19-Jun-13 11:15:01

If you think Disneyworld is like a shopping centre with £1 rides I'm not surprised it is your idea of hell, mijas. It isn't like that at all.

PatPig Wed 19-Jun-13 13:58:14

Virgin Disney package will be a rip-off.

If you want to go to Disney:

* direct flights (where are you flying from?) - around £1500 if you have DD on your lap (eek!!!)
* large apartment - we stayed here: http://www.wyndhambonnetcreek.com/ around $120/night for large 2 bed (1500 sq ft), inside Disney World but not owned by Disney
* car hire - don't remember how much, maybe £350/week for a (not-so) minivan?
* Disney world passes - around £230 each

Around £3.5k plus spends I would say

wildspinning Wed 19-Jun-13 14:58:02

Hear hear mijas.

I regularly take my kids out with their friends to the woods near where we live. They are sooo happy climbing trees, jumping in puddles, paddling in the stream, building "traps" with twigs, pretending to be explorers, etc etc. They could do it all day, every day and never get bored. That's the "stuff of a lifetime" IMHO.

I probably sound like a complete knob to most of you on this thread. But anyone vaguely outdoorsy will get where I'm coming from. Kids don't need the utter load of crap that is Disneyland. Let 'em run free outdoors and feel alive. A tent/youth hostel/family-friendly guest house on the Pembrokeshire coast should do it smile

alphablock Wed 19-Jun-13 15:08:42

Prices will vary a lot depending on time of year. If you go in July, flights will be about £800 each, hotels will be more like $200 (£130) a night and you probably need about £80-100 a day for food + £750 for 3 Disney passes. So 2 weeks would be about 6.5k including food (and more if you add on a car). Cheaper than Virgin, but still a huge amount of money.

I suppose this is why so many parents take their kids out of school to go on holiday sad

PatPig Wed 19-Jun-13 15:25:22

Early December is a good time to go.

July is a bad time.

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 19-Jun-13 16:36:51

It isn't exactly an either/or lifetime decision though, is it wildspinning?

DD (age 4) has been to Disney a few times, but has also been on beach holidays abroad and in the UK, camping in the UK, and she lives on the doorstep of one of the most beautiful national parks in the country, where she gets to play all the time.

Variety is the spice of life!

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 19-Jun-13 16:40:28

If you book now though Alpha you can get a package with free dining (quick service or full dining dependent on hotel choice) when you choose on site accommodation and park tickets. This does make it a lot cheaper. We do this and find we don't spend much at all when there, just a few souvenirs for DD.

Look at Disney Cruise Lines, we went round the Med on Disney Magic for 12 nights and it was amazing!

Loads to do, brilliant kids clubs and you get see loads of places. Food was great so was the service.

My parents paid for 5 adults and 3 children and we had outside cabin and it was about £10k shock

You really don't need a flash cabin as your hardly in it.

BeaWheesht Wed 19-Jun-13 16:49:45

We are just back from disney paris with a 6.5 and 2.5 year old - both had an absolutely incredible time, I'd recommend it as a holiday next year then wait 2/3 years for a truly memorable holiday with a safari or something.

Oh forgot to say we flew to Barcelona and got the cruise there. Send for the brochure or look at their website.

Fluffy1234 Wed 19-Jun-13 16:50:45

I also went on the Disney Magic and loved it.

Fluffy its great isn't it, we went June 2011 and would love to go again!

Fluffy1234 Wed 19-Jun-13 16:57:55

I just went on Royal Caribbean's independence of the seas and that was also fab. Although I really want to do Florida/Disney fantasy ship combo next summer before the DC don't want to go on holiday with us any more.
I went August 2011.

Gossipgirladdict Wed 19-Jun-13 17:15:53

I couldn't agree more Anne, like you we are lucky enough to live on the edge of a national park and right beside the sea. We spend all our weekends outdoors, on the beach, in forests etc. Some of our best holidays have been when we've borrowed my DP's camper van. I love that kind of thing! But why not do something different/better/special for once? Like I said, this is pretty much a one-off. Camping ain't going to cut it!grin.

After a particularly bad winter a couple of years ago when I had cold for what seemed like months, we decided to go abroad for the first time in nearly 10 years. We haven't looked back. There is no substitute for sun that warms you through to the bones.

Lots of really good advice for doing Florida more cheaply and a Disney med cruise is sounding like a good compromise. Thank you!

Fluffy1234 Wed 19-Jun-13 17:23:22

A few years ago we flew to L.A for a few days and visited Disney and saw some other sights and then cruised along the Pacific side of Mexico. We watched whales as we cruised, that was a fab holiday.
You are so lucky to have this dilemma.

melika Wed 19-Jun-13 17:23:35

I went to disney when DS2 was 6, lots of walking, he remembers it, just.

Soooo exhausting even for me. Happy holiday though.

googlyeyes Wed 19-Jun-13 17:47:01

We are going to Florida this August, and it is eye wateringly expensive. But we are going with Virgin Holidays as DS1 has autism and I really needed the security of all the bells and whistles. It also meant we could book v early (16 months in advance) and have the security of knowing our flight prices were secure (they nearly doubled by the time the non-package allocation became available 11 months beforehand)

Last time we went, a couple of years ago, it was less than half the price. We booked everything separately, and stayed in a Holiday Inn on International Drive which was less than $30 a night. We also took indirect flights, which was knackering but worth it!

Luckily all of us love Disney as sadly I can't think of any other big holidays that ds1 would tolerate. Am now fantasising about a parallel universe where we could go to Barbados, sigh

googlyeyes Wed 19-Jun-13 17:51:48

And although I want the kids to have a great time on holiday, selfishly I'm more concerned about our memories than theirs! Hence I wouldn't worry that an 18 month old wouldn't remember it, as me and dh would always remember having that experience with them iyswim. They are free to go wherever they like and make memories that way when they are grown.

Ps when i was young we were lucky enough to travel all over the world due to my dad's job and I can't say I remember any holiday in any detail before the age of about 15! So not necessarily much point waiting until your youngest is 7 if that's your aim! dd is 9 and our Florida hol of 2 years ago is already hazy....

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