to think this might be our worst holiday ever?(95 Posts)
We're in the South of France for 2 weeks, arrived Wed. We're staying in a small s/c apartment (think 1 main room, separate tiny kids room and bathroom), no pool but 5 mins from popular sandy beach. We have budgeted £100 per day but obviously France is kinda pricey.
The main problem is the kids; they're 12, 7 and 16 months. The 12 and 7 don't get on, the 12 yo is very much a teenager, the 7 yo has anger issues and the toddler is wonderful but obviously demanding. Plus she still naps twice a day. They're entirely dependent on us for entertainment.
DH is great and does all the cooking, plays with the older 2 at beach etc. We have a hire car.
I know we'd be better off with somewhere with kids clubs - but our accommodation was free so this is a cheap holiday for us.
So AIBU to think this is the hardest it's ever going to be?
Yes, I am a big fan of campsites with swimming pools, slides, evening entertainment and potential friends for each child. Youve got to make it something of a holiday for yourselves too. What about hiring bikes? Are there cycle paths where you are?
YABU. It sounds lovely. You chose to have kids. You chose your holiday. What is the matter with you? Just enjoy it for god's sake.
What about splitting it up a bit, so one of you takes baby and 12 year old while other has 7 year old, then pair the 7 year old and baby while 12 year old does something more grown up?
And banish them to bed early so you and DH get a break too.
You have a challenging age range there so I do feel for you. I think next year you should definitely book something with all the activities. Are there any around you that you can buy day passes for at all?
£100 a day sounds tight for 5. Do you have a bbq?
Are you near the Pyrenees? Amazing rock pools for swimming, diving and messing around.
I think it can be difficult with such big age differences. Would it help to divide and conquer? One parent take one of the older 2 to do something they like while the other parent manages the toddler and other one, swap around the next day?
What about things like board games when the toddler is asleep?
What stops the older 2 getting along? Are they just into different things, or are they actively unpleasant to each other.
I think that’s totally do-able and we’ve managed as a family of 6 in France and Italy on a much lower budget, with age ranging from 16 - 6 children.
Where are you? Maybe we can help with locations / activities if the beach and sea isn’t entertaining enough?
It wouldn't be my choice of holiday. I was in the South of France last summer with my children, and it would have been murder without the pool.
That said, we didn't have a car and were considerably further from a beach, so you're on a winning streak there!
I hope you have air con and mozzie protection though.
I'm in France right now and it's expensive. You won't be able to eat out much on your budget, so find a supermarket and stock up on ingredients for simple meals ... and lots of baguette!
It sounds lovely but for £100 per day would you not have been better off in a Eurocamp type getup (there are cheaper similar options, I find if I search in French and enter via French or Swiss websites there are better prices!) with all free entertainment? Only cost then is a massive food shop!
I think it sounds pretty alright for a freebie in the summer holidays. I would try and spend as much time out of the flat as possible even if you have to go over budget some days. Just use it for sleep and preparing the days picnic. Whereabouts are you?
I recommend getting on the daytime drinking, continental style, and tell the 7 and 12 year old to pack it in.
Ok. Very differing g ages is a challenge.
But don't look at it as £100 a day.
That's £700 for a week. You could easily feed family for £100 max. Cereal or fresh bread and jam or pastries for breakfast.
Sandwiches etc for lunch which can be made into a picnic. Dinner can be easy (pasta/spaghetti Bol/ pizza and chips etc).
And going to bakery for fresh stuff at breakfast is part of the fun in France!
That leaves £600 for entertainment.
That's a few good days out and a few days chilling on beach etc.
If you used some of the money to buy beach things such as body boards you get hours and days of fun. Little one can nap in a buggy / under umbrella on beach so that shouldn't prevent you going out and about?
I find having "a plan" when we go away works really well. So every other day we 'do something'. In between is just pottering, swimming, reading etc. It's easier to have a lazy day if you've had a busy day the day before.
sunn we do have access to bikes, unfortunately my 7yo can't ride. It might be an idea if we split up tho, as per parrot 's suggestion x zone
elizabeth in fairness we didn't chose the age gaps and had money been no object we would have chosen a different holiday
sunny we optimisticly assumed it would be more enjoyable
Get the 12 year old to teach the 7 year old to ride during this holiday.
And pack picnics and beach toys and spend whole days on the beach.
We're near Montpellier. We have trips in mind to the aquarium, zoo, city centre, Pont du Gard and we do have a sturdy buggy so fortunately DD can sleep whilst we're out and about. I tried getting her to sleep at the beach earlier but gave up.
We did a big food shop when we arrived and spent £175 so about £50 more than back home - but there was a lot of giving into pester power because we're on holiday.
We're lucky that the apartment is well stocked with beach toys.
I think splitting up is a good idea, it's unfortunate that I'm the only driver and most things are a drive away
Budget for a few trips all the kids can enjoy like water parks/theme parks over the week. Beach or bike riding the rest of the time. Make it a project to teach the 7 year old to ride or split up and one of you go bike riding with 12 year old and the other one take the 7 year old and toddler to the beach. Do lots of picnics, croissants for breakfast and things like pizza for dinner with a creperie for a treat at some point.
Obviously an AI or site with activities would have worked out better but a lot more expensive than £700 with all the food for 5 of you.
I wouldn’t be going on holiday with my 3 unless there’s children’s entertainment!
The French don't spend £100 a day entertaining their kids. Think what do the locals do. Parks. Walks. Culture.
I agree it might be better to split up at least some of the time and do different things for the 12 and 7 year old.
One week's enough for us! I think you're right, it'll be easier in a year or three.
I think I'd favour lazy days on the beach and only the odd day doing anything more organised. Outings take planning & organising, kids get hot and grumbly, it's hard to keep everyone happy. I'd chuck some of the budget at evening meals out, not every night, and sleep in a bit the next day. More TV. Maybe tag team child supervision with your husband while one of you switches off.
12 and 7 is tricky. (I've got 3 with a 7 year age gap between oldest and youngest).
7 still wants farm park/soft play type things, and 12yo is too old to go on such things, and feels too old to coo at baby animals (they grow out of that one fairly quickly!)
What we did was go for cheap self catered on coast in UK. Budget, around £180-£300 for the week. Then use the spare money to do things. So we'd have a few days on the beach, but be generous with ice creams and perhaps have fish and chips at the end of the day.
A couple of big places to visit, places one/two of them would love and then the third is bribed into behaving by promise of either choosing the next day, or ice cream/choosing meal out on way back depending on the child.
Be prepared to split up round the places too. I've been with 1 shopping outside, while dh has taken the other two in for example.
Holidays are not at all the amazing relaxing fun events we build them up to be half the time.
It’s often same niggles different location!
What has worked for us is building in a new routine- so eldest cycles with dad to the bakery to get the pastries each morning
Or 7 yr old and mum make pancakes and eat on the patio every morning
A card game or battered old board game that everyone gets into (despite normally hating) and you run a week long competition
Start playing the same playlist when travelling about so everyone knows the words and it becomes your ‘holiday tune’
Find a great place on and beach and head there each morning and make a big thing of setting up camp- shady bits got the toddler or a pop up tent, try and out do yesterday’s sandcastle or wave jump etc
Allow some down time in the evening before eating so everyone can cool off and get some space
If you are exploring them make it a half day and split it with beach time
Find a lido for different type of water fun
Make meal times about picnics on the patio and let the kids wander a bit if it’s safe and explore the field nearby etc
If there are any other kids staying anywhere in the area then hook the kids up
Just got to make the most of it and enjoy the good bits but not have silly expectations of it being the trip of a lifetime.
your DH and the older one could go kayaking when you go to the point du guard? Great fun takes a few hours. Yourself toddler and 7year old can then explore.
We also have used the water park facilities of camp sites for a minimal cost. Lots are open to the public and have slides, “beaches” and kids activities and you can take a picnic. Get googling!
France is expensive for food in the supermarkets, some more so than others.
Markets are cheapest for fresh fruit and the local bakery for bread for breakfast etc. Meat is expensive we noticed when we were there... so tried to eat less of this.
Aldi and Lidl also exist there; slightly more expensive than the Uk but cheaper than most supermarkets.
Nimes has some pretty good old roman remains, Avignon as well.
You can get a tour “train” around which makes it more fun.
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