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to book a budget busting Caribbean holiday for some winter sun

(39 Posts)
Mono1 Wed 26-Sep-12 22:05:54

We've not had a holiday for more than a year and with a 2.1yr old and a 3 month old baby I really want something that its almost guaranteed to be amazing (I know there are no promises). My DH has been working lots this year including several long-haul business trips and as a result we've acquired airmiles which mean that the option I would love (whilst still extortionate by most standards) is cheaper than it could be. We have the alternative option to go to Tenerife and take a risk on the weather but I just can't help thinking that we should treat ourselves.
The money is available in savings so its not completely wild its just that other things such as house renovations and a new car would have to wait.
What would you ladies do?

squeakytoy Wed 26-Sep-12 22:11:23

it is hardly taking a risk on the weather going to the canaries.. they have year round sunshine that rarely goes below 70 degrees..

I would honestly rather go on a 4 hour plane journey to a decent hotel somewhere warm that is great for kids, than long haul with a toddler and baby, to an all inclusive resort that serves reheated shite on a buffet, and you are confined to the complex due to the risks outside of it.

HarlettOScara Wed 26-Sep-12 22:17:38

Do it. We went to the Caribbean in January and I'll be doing a winter holiday there as often as funds permit. I don't like the Canaries at the best of times but having spent a miserable rainy week there in November a number of years ago, I'd never take the chance on going there in winter again.

Egypt is also quite good for a spot of winter sun with a shorter flight time.

aldiwhore Wed 26-Sep-12 22:20:44

I'm waiting until my children are old enough to do their own thing if they want to before I blow a fortune on a holiday I won't be able to enjoy properly (should add that until then, our family holidays are just that... also cheap, rainy and brill).

Its up to you. If its what you want and your DH wants the same, then its not for me to say YABU!

Mono1 Wed 26-Sep-12 22:24:11

Aaargh! You are both giving me exactly the same 2 arguments I've had with myself all day.
Squeaky I know you're right re the weather and it will almost certainly be better than Blighty at that time of year. The place we're considering in the Carribean is not buffet (although funnily enough the Tenerife option is) and this is reflected in the cost. I hadn't considered risks of the area around the resort though. Have you been?
Harlett my worst holiday ever was in Tenerife as a teenager. I think this is clouding my judgement.

squeakytoy Wed 26-Sep-12 22:26:15

I havent been, but my stepson and his gf have with their daughter when she was around 3yo, and they found the flight and jet lag hard work, as well as saying it did get boring being stuck in one place for so long.

We all went to Lanzarote the following year, and they said it was definately much better than the Caribbean.

ganglygiraffe Wed 26-Sep-12 22:31:40

The Caribbean is a big place! Where are you thinking of going? Which country?

maleview70 Wed 26-Sep-12 22:34:26

A great holiday is a villa holiday in the canaries.

We stayed in one in lanzarote, heated pool, hot tub, sky tv and when the kids sleep in the day and at night a few beers by the illuminated pool.

Paddling pool for kids 3 euro...bobs yer uncle.

Carribean is too hot and I wouldn't want to visit one of their hospitals if kids got ill. Only Barbados for me is anywhere near the standards I would expect.

LAK11 Wed 26-Sep-12 22:36:51

We did Florida when my son was 2. It was fine. (PS if you speak to your GP they can give you Fenergan - not sure if that is the right name, anyway my GP used it on all 5 of his kids and it makes them a bit sleepy for 9 hour flights....did not work on my son on the way home) Canaries are great but weather cannot be guaranteed in winter (I should know as I worked for their (Tenerife) tourist board). I would recommend going for the Caribbean. Not too hot in winter, less hurricane risk, out of school holidays should be cheaper, although never cheap. Enjoy, whatever you decide.

Mono1 Wed 26-Sep-12 22:40:30

We're considering Antigua simply because we could get the airmiles flights there.
Until we had children I would always have gone self catering and likely when they are a bit older we will do it again. I never considered resort/inclusive holidays until we tried it last year and I confess that while the children are small and life has been so busy it was nice not to have to think about shopping or cooking for a week.

MSAer Wed 26-Sep-12 22:43:20

Just how many Caribbean hospitals have you been to maleview, to write them all off in one fell swoop?

Whereabouts are you planning on going to in the Caribbean Mono? Chances are the flight will be no more than 7.5-8 hours and the time difference no more than 4 hours.

In the Canaries, the temperature in the winter is likely to be mid-60s. In the Caribbean it is likely to be mid-80s. If I was looking for winter sun, I know which I would prefer.

Ughfootballseason Wed 26-Sep-12 22:54:14

We did this. The baby's clock never adjusted and the latest we got up was 5:30 and that was on the last day. Most of the week was at 4. There were lots of British families with young children killing time on the beach long before breakfast opened at 7am. You have been warned!

Having said that, it was a lovely holiday and most of the Caribbean has kids' clubs that take young babies so you can get a break.

Mono1 Wed 26-Sep-12 22:57:11

Thanks Ugh. Would you do it again?

Ughfootballseason Wed 26-Sep-12 23:03:09

Yes I would and we're considering it in November with a 3 and 2 year old. Mainly gecause im kidding myselfhe sleep wouldnt be as bad again.

There really wasn't anything to do off site though and even if there had been it would have been too hot.

We were all inclusive which can make or break a holiday but it was a menu one so freshly cooked and was good food. The one buffet night they did was dire so id be wary of that. The staff were really good at blitzing up proper meals for dd1 so she didn't have the children's menu which was just junk. This was St Lucia.

Ughfootballseason Wed 26-Sep-12 23:05:46

Just to add. It wasn't an 'amazing' holiday so if that's what you want I'd go elsewhere. It's beach pure and simple. Service in the Caribbean is fine but they don't really rush themselves or put themselves out at all.

Eastpoint Wed 26-Sep-12 23:08:14

I'd recommend Mauritius. Better jet lag as children will wake up 4 hours later rather than 5 hours earlier in the Caribbean. Food good and better service.

We stayed somewhere where the children ate free & had a junior suite so they slept in the same room but we had a little more space. Lovely nannies for a couple of hours a day meant I actually had a holiday. 12 hour flits but overnight each way.

PeppermintLatte Wed 26-Sep-12 23:26:56

before i had DD i had been twice to the caribbean.

i am desperate to go back, had the chance to go when DD was 20 months (little lotto win!) but i was too scared of her behaviour on the plane and the jet lag blush ended up putting my little win towards getting the house done.

now that she's 3, i'm hoping to go next year, i think at 3 and a half she'd be much easier to manage on the plane and hopefully we could deal with the jet lag. it's just so expensive, so we'd need to use savings. Mono and Ugh you must have a few quid wink st lucia and antigua sound fabulous.

if it's what you want, go for it. the caribbean is so much better than the canaries. although the canaries is the easiest option for you with the kids, so you need to weigh up if it's worth it.

scurryfunge Wed 26-Sep-12 23:39:32

Would recommend Antigua- fantastic place.
Dominican Republic is quite cheap compared to other islands.
Jamaica is fun but was the only island where I wasn't too keen to wander around.
Cuba is my favourite along with Margarita ( though there is less to do in Margarita for children).
Weather in Canaries is not hot enough for me.
If you want a shorter flight than the Caribbean then Goa is great.

pippala Wed 26-Sep-12 23:56:58

Antiga is fab!
Hire a car- it is so easy to drive around.
Everyone speaks English.
Everyone loves kids!
There is so much to see and do.
Shirley heights on a sunday night for a family BBQ and jamming session.
Jolly beach resort- fantastic family resort
Boat trips around the whole island
Tram rides around the island
Cricket for Dad!
Celeb spotting for mum
Feeding the sting rays in the wild, family zoo/petting farm on dry land for those that don't want to feed sting rays.
watching turtles hatch on the beach at dawn!
Nelsons dockyard museum at English harbour.
They are more christmassy than we are- we went in early dec and there were carols played everywhere, fairy lights and snow machines.
I would go back in a heartbeat

Inneedofbrandy Thu 27-Sep-12 08:01:23

Just think fuck it and gooo!! If I could afford it I'd of already booked it caribbean will warm your bones from this horrible winter were going to have.

LAlady Thu 27-Sep-12 08:08:48

I'd do it in a heartbeat. We took DS at 12 months to Barbados and have been back 6 times since then with the children at a variety of ages (now 12 and 9). Loads to do on the island but pick your hotel carefully.

Having been to Lanzarote one February, I wouldn't do it again. The weather was dismal!

Desiren Thu 27-Sep-12 08:20:33

Been to Jamaica 3 times first time no kids, second time DD was 3 no problem on the plane and this was just after the volcano so was on the plane for 12 hours plus! Third time DD was 4. We're hoping to go again next year daughter will be 6 but the twins will be 11 months! I love Jamaica!!!

StillSquiffy Thu 27-Sep-12 08:31:03


Downsides are: (1) they are 4 hours behind so you will get up at 6 and be knackered by 8pm, but so what? It's slightly worse if you travel between April-October because the time difference then is 5 hours, but does it matter if you get up early every day? (2) Flight is a bugger, no two ways about it. Outward is ok because you leave in the morning, land in the afternoon. coming back is a 7/8 hr 'overnight' flight that in all reality you will be awake all the way through, but I find that kids doze quite well. It takes a day to adjust when you return because of this. I have tried phenergan once on my kids - worked on one, not on the other. Speak to GP (Medised also popular as an alternative but again ask GP). (3) Getting bassinet seats are like rocking horse shit. Speak to airline rep when booking to see if they can find flight with bassinet seats, but be prepared to accept you may have baby on your lap.

The weather in Antigua same as where I go. 28 degrees pretty much day and night, every day. No rain, slight breeze, what's not to like? Once your kids are at school you will find it very difficult to use up airmiles because seats during holidays get booked out way in advance (we book almost a year ahead for airmile seats for our Christmas & Easter Breaks), so you should take advantage now whilst kids are young and you can go outside of school holidays. There's nothing sadder than earning shedloads of airmiles and then spending them on trips to Glasgow and Paris because that's all thats available at short notice.

CamperFan Thu 27-Sep-12 09:18:39

What exactly is the time difference? For me, there's no chance I would go somewhere with a significant time difference for just a couple of weeks, with 2 little ones. We took DS1 to India when he was 2.3 I think, and it took a good 5 days for him to adjust, but we were there for 3 weeks so not too bad.

When he was 3 months old we went to South Africa - no time difference, why not try that instead? When DS2 was the same age, we went to Egypt. Fab weather, no time difference, short flight. Not as fab as the Caribbean and not my first choice, but it suited our needs at the time. Infact we went back when DS2 was 14 months for the same reasons.

Bit concerned about all the comments about weather in the Canaries, hoping to go Feb half term for a short break! I've had people say they had sunny weeks in Feb?? (but I agree if you are desperate for sun then it's not the best choice in the winter).

mollymole Thu 27-Sep-12 09:24:31

Caribbean every time, especially as the flight back is usually overnight and the kids can sleep. I would recommend Barbados, lovely people, very safe,
lots to do, the 'zoo' where the animals are all roaming around is brilliant. You have no need for an all exclusive complex as most places (you have to use common sense, same as every where) are completely safe. You could go in a hotel or rent a self catering apartment.

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