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....

squeakytoy Tue 18-Jun-13 14:45:37

I would say either wait a year or two until your youngest child is that bit older and will be able to remember a once in a lifetime holiday (because I can foresee future problems when big sister is reminding her about it, and the little one wont remember any of it, and will think it was unfair)..and maybe go to eurodisney, and then have the big holiday when the youngest is a bit older..

cruises are not generally all that child friendly in my experience

DarkWinter Tue 18-Jun-13 14:47:35

Unless you go on a Disney cruise, but they're from the US, I think.

TickleMyTitsTillFriday Tue 18-Jun-13 14:47:50

I agree with Squeaky. I would go to a Greek Island for a week next year and save the money for a Florida trip when little one is older. There is no way i would consider Florida with a toddler, I went to California with a 1 yr old once, I still have nightmares!

allmycats Tue 18-Jun-13 14:49:30

Investigate Barbados, they love children and it is a very friendly island.

primallass Tue 18-Jun-13 14:50:36

Sensatori next year (2-3k for AI) and save the rest until your DD2 is bigger. That's what I would do.

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 18-Jun-13 14:51:06 honest opinion is you must be mad to spend that amount on one holiday!

I would personally much rather have 3 x 3k holidays than one huge blowout!

The best holiday I have ever been on was in March, 5 days in Disneyland Paris and visits into Paris Central. It honestly blew all the other holidays I have been on out if the water, albeit that it's not the most exotic of places. Holiday was cheap as chips too (in comparison to some).

Leeds2 Tue 18-Jun-13 15:06:50

We took our DD on her first cruise when she was about 18 months old, and have been on several since (she is now 15). Have always found them to be very child friendly, and something that we as a family enjoy.

If I were you though, I would go to the Med next year and look at a bigger trip when your little one will be able to remember it.

PatPig Tue 18-Jun-13 15:23:58

Why would you spend all your money on one holiday?

I wouldn't do Barbados, the Caribbean is very expensive.

Your youngest is too young for Florida IMO.

We took DD here: when she was that age.

It is fantastic and you can just go for a few days (flights are only around 4 hours) and not spend too much money.

We went in late-May, rates were much lower.

alphablock Tue 18-Jun-13 15:44:57

I agree with others that it might make sense to wait a year or two, but I know plenty of people who have been to Disneyworld with v young kids and had a great time.

If you love New York and have been considering Florida, why not combine the two. My husband is going to a conference in Orlando next month, but didn't fancy a Disney holiday. We've decided to join him for a few days in Orlando and then we're all flying to New York. Flights to Orlando via NY worked out cheaper than direct flights to Orlando, so makes sense to do both. After a few days in NY, we are hiring a car and driving up to Niagara, spending a few days in Canada and then touring New England.

Crinkle77 Tue 18-Jun-13 15:50:24

I have to agree with PrettyKitty that you must be mad to spend that amount of money on a holiday. Surely you can have a really good holiday on half the budget.

Bearbehind Tue 18-Jun-13 15:55:59

I think it seems a shame to have a once in a lifetime holiday that your youngest will have no memory of at all.

8-10k spent on 1 holiday is a huge amount of money if you are only going for 2 weeks. To spend that I would have thought you'd have to go somewhere pretty posh which might not be exactly child friendly.

I don't think cruises are a great way to see places. They are great if the places you want to see are by the coast but many destinations are actually a 2/3 hour journey from the docks- knackering for a couple but a complete nightmare with young children.

I'd wait until DD2 was 4 or 5 and go to Disney then.

Gossipgirladdict Tue 18-Jun-13 17:24:39

Thanks for all your replies.
Unfortunately, most of you are saying what my head is telling me - that next year is not the time for a 'once in a lifetime' holiday. It's just I have been thinking about this for soooo long!

I've been trying to convince myself that Florida would still be ok, as DD2 would still be in a pushchair, would be free (<2), we would stay in a Disney hotel and just 'do' Disney (having a few relaxing days rather than rushing round trying to see everything) and had thought that, you never know, we just might be able to go again, say, when DD2 was around DD1's age now. But if we couldn't then I would feel bad that DD2 had no memory of it....

It's complicated by the fact that we are tied to school hols (I'm a support worker in a school, term time only, so everything is wildly expensive.

I had thought that Eurodisney might be a better option next year, plus a nice summer holiday. It's also mine and DH's 20th wedding anniversary next year, so maybe we could have a nice weekend away together too. Yes, we've been married nearly 20 years and have a 6mo! (Long story involving years of ttc, ivf, successful with DD1, then a surprise natural pg, six years later, at the age of 44. And a half!)

We are lucky enough to be able to afford a decent holiday most years, so this was to be something really special. Looks like having DD2 has buggered that up! (And she's worth it a million times over...)

primalass Sensatori is a definite option, I've looked at it a number of times. Which one, do you think? Tenerife? The saltwater pool puts me off a little bit.

Tickle we've only been to Greece once and while we loved it, I got eaten alive by mozzies (I'm just one of those people that does). So we've never been back. Would love to go again. Never been bothered by them anywhere in the rest of Europe!

Thanks for all other suggestions, lots more to consider...

Any more would be appreciated!

primallass Tue 18-Jun-13 17:39:23

I would go for the Crete one, but I really love Greece (especially the food). Not so fussed about Tenerife.

chestnut100 Tue 18-Jun-13 17:48:34

Can I make a left field suggestion? Have you considered South Africa, Cape Town and then onto safari? Cape Town is amazing, family friendly and home to spectacular beaches. The safari I went on was of the once in a life time type of luxury, but was also family friendly. I wouldn't hesitate to go with a toddler. Can give more info if you want it

Feelslikea1sttimer Tue 18-Jun-13 17:49:44

We have done Florida, My kids were 5 & 6 at the time, they weren't that bothered (far too much walking involved)

We did a Royal Caribbean cruise and sailed from Miami, that was amazing although we hardly saw the kids (think they were 6 & 7) as the kids club was their idea of heaven.

barbados, as someone mentioned up thread is beautiful and yes they do love kids, we stayed in a villa on the Sandy lane resort which was great and a lot of the villa's are supplied with housekeepers/cooks which is a fabulous luxury - kids loved that holiday simply because the monkeys came every morning into the garden for breakfast (and the cooks would make them whatever they wanted for every meal)

A favourite of ours is a villa in Portugal, there are things to do for everyone and it is really friendly smile

Although it does drive me a bit nuts that the kids favourite holiday EVER was 2 years ago when we hired a caravan in Newquay for a week (which incidently we are now doing again this year- mainly because we are skint and borrowing a tourer!) But not sure that would be a holiday of a lifetime!!

Geordieminx Tue 18-Jun-13 17:54:30

I'd do eurodisney, a fab summer holiday and a lovely look weekend away adults only with your dh for your anniversary... New York maybe?

ihearttc Tue 18-Jun-13 18:00:01

If its any help at all we have just come back from a week in Dubai (half term week) with an 8 year old and a 2 year old so not too disimilar ages.

It was hot but not as hot as it will get later in the year and we all had an amazing time. We stayed in a 5 star hotel and managed to get it including spending money for about £3000 (we didn't have to pay for 1 flight though as DH had enough airmiles). We had also planned Florida but we decided on Dubai as DH works there and loves it (first time we all went though) and we figured we could do Dubai and then Eurodisney early next year for the same price as it would have cost us to do Florida.

Dubai was absolutely fantastic and really child friendly...I was pleasantly surprised. We got to do lots of amazing things and had a relaxing time swimming etc as well...might be somewhere to consider if you haven't thought of it before?

cassgate Tue 18-Jun-13 18:23:11

We have been to florida loads of times (used to own a house there). DD was 22 months when we first took her. When we got back I found out I was pregnant with ds so waited until after he was born to go back again. DD would have been around 2 years 9 mths and ds was 3 mths. The travelling really wasn't that bad just take plenty of things to keep the kids occupied. You might also want to consider indirect flights. We have done this a few times with the kids and can save you a lot of £. Think we saved around £1000 when we did it last time (2010) and we flew via new york, so you could even consider stopping off for a few days. We didnt stop over but it only added around 2 hours to the total journey time. If you do want to go why not hire a villa, cheaper if you book direct with the owners or through one of the management companies rather than through a tour operator. There will plenty of things to do in florida to suit both chldren. There is never really a right time to go to florida age wise with children as it really does cater for all age ranges. Each time we have been it has been very different. Haven't been for 2 years as we sold our house but the last time we went 2011 my kids were 7 & 5 and they were tall enough to do most of the smaller rollercoasters so it was a completely different experience than ones we had before where we spent most of the time character hunting. Hope this helps.

alphablock Tue 18-Jun-13 18:29:17

I'd rather do a weekend at Eurodisney than go to Orlando for longer as I don't think I could cope with more than a few days of theme parks.

We've been to Eurodisney twice and both times we took the car and stopped there for a couple of days on our way to other places (once on the way to South of France when DD was 4 and once on way to Loire Valley when she was 5).

WicketWoo Tue 18-Jun-13 19:23:08

We have done Disney a couple of times, once with a 13 month old and it was still fab. He won't remember it but we will show him the pictures.

I would say though that Disney doesn't really cost that much if you go out of season. We stay in Disney hotels and I don't think it was more than about £3-4k for 4 of us for 2 weeks.

So you could go next year and again in 5 years when your little one would remember it perhaps.

AnneEyhtMeyer Tue 18-Jun-13 19:44:55

First time DD went to Disneyworld Florida she was 21 months and she had an absolute whale of a time. I wouldn't automatically discount it if I were you, especially if you plan to stay onsite.

Fluffy1234 Tue 18-Jun-13 21:14:30

My two favourite holidays with the DC were Cape Town (so beautiful) and a Disney cruise around the Med. My family loved that holiday. The ship was beautiful and I loved the sightseeing and then getting back on board and being pampered for a week. I think if I had 8 to 10k I'd spend about 5k on a fab holiday and use the rest for treats throughout the year.

Merlotmonster Tue 18-Jun-13 21:22:19

i agree with Chestnut100.....Cape Town...and then safari in Botswana....awesome and very child friendly too believe it or not..

Fluffy1234 Tue 18-Jun-13 21:30:48

Would the toddler be allowed on the safari or do the lodges provide childcare?

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: 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....

Gossipgirladdict Wed 19-Jun-13 21:03:33

Actually, I think you've made a very good point, googly about memories. Yes, I think mine and DH's should be more important than theirs at this stage, I hadn't thought of it like that. That has made me feel much better!

I still can't believe how expensive Florida is for next year. I've been pricing it up this afternoon and, even with our budget, I'm not sure we can afford it (or rather that I can't justify it, I suppose).sad

On the subject of flights, we live 2-3 hours from the nearest airport, so direct flights are pretty much essential. The thought of that drive home after a couple of flights would virtually spoil the holiday for us. Especially if the return flight is overnight (as most US flights are). We've done it coming back from New York a couple of times and it was awful. And that was without DC's!

Hmm, lots to think about....!

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