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Please help me narrow down some ideas. Too many places I'd like to visit.

(11 Posts)
Rugbylovingmum Wed 21-Jan-15 14:33:30

Please help me. We've been on a very tight budget since DD1 was born so, although we both love to travel, we couldn't afford a holiday abroad. We've had some lovely camping hols in UK and one trip to Fuerteventura paid for my the IL's. This year we have a saving scheme maturing and have decided to treat ourselves to a big family holiday but I can't decide what I want or where to start looking. DD1 is 5yrs and DD2 is 3yrs - both are pretty easygoing, eat anything, sleep well etc but obviously get tired and we don't want them to need too many injections.

Before we had the kids we loved city breaks in Europe, did windsurfing and sailing hols and did a few tours with Explore/Exodus (Mexico, Egypt and Brazil). We love exploring new places, trying different foods, new sports etc. I didn't enjoy Fuerteventura (too resorty IYKWIM) although it was nice to have some family time and relax. The kids loved it! I need to find a holiday that will suit all of us - busy enough for us without exhausting the kids. We're not very fit, just easily bored blush.

Ideally I want somewhere self-catering, easy to get to but not too busy, good for activities such as cycling (but DD1 only 5 so needs to be fairly flat and safe) or kayaking or swimming/snorkelling etc, parks or beach for the kids. Somewhere we can get a local feel, explore a new place and eat local food without it being overwhelming for the kids. I don't mind the temp as long as it's warm enough to be outdoors without being so hot you cant move. We are not fussy about accomodation - have camped, stayed in youth hostels - but I like to have our own space.

I considered all sorts - just booking a self catering place and arranging bike hire etc there, booking a tour designed for families or going for a Neilson activity holiday, eurocamping. I've even looked at a cruise but I just can't decide what I want.

In Europe I'd love to visit Seville, Cordoba and Grenada, Croatia, one of the Scandinavian countries (but worried about the cost), Northern Portugal, The Netherlands. I love Central/South America but think it's too far for the kids but SE Asia would be good.

Argh!!!!! I just don't know where to start and I'm flitting from one idea to another. Any suggestions/recommendation/experiences welcomed. Where have you visited (and enjoyed) with kids of a similar age?

Rugbylovingmum Wed 21-Jan-15 14:34:35

Sorry, didn't realise how long that was blush.

revealall Wed 21-Jan-15 18:34:15

That's a long list!

All I wanted to say was that 3 and 5 is young. They will remember very little. If you have a lump sum to spend rather than more money generally, then ( with hindsight) I'd book a less exciting holiday and save the money for a really big holiday when they were say 7 and 9.
By that stage they might have hobbies and interests that you could base a better holiday round- sailing or climbing or whatever.
I did think the cruise was excellent value though. My DS was four and loved it. A big ship is such fun in it's own right and the destinations will let the kids see lots European sights or wherever without shelling out for a week in each country. Useful if you have seen them already.

Misty9 Wed 21-Jan-15 19:12:37

We're still figuring out how to holiday with kids, and we're also not resort type people. Ours are 1 and 3 and I'd love to go to the Italian lakes, garda especially, and see verona etc. Lots of camping village places to choose from and self catering chalet things available too.

Before kids we loved madeira, and seemed pretty child friendly. Also enjoyed travelling through Croatia and you could do a multi centre holiday if you can face researching and booking things? Plitvice nnational park was beautiful and Zagreb was a great town, small enough to explore easily then move onto the park and coast. or Malta? Lots to see for you and beach etc for kids? Just don't go in august like we did, it was too hot to do anything and I was sick as a dog with pregnancy

Enjoy! I'm getting overwhelmed sorting ours and it's looking like we probably just won't go anywhere... sad

Wait4nothing Wed 21-Jan-15 19:21:53

We've done a cruise as a couple and it looks ideal for a family (lots on the ones we go on). You can choose an itinary which has some cities to explore as well as quieter days. There are often kids/family activites. The families often spend evenings around the pool (when it's a bit cooler and quieter) and the food options means you'll certainly have the choice. We tend to choose a few places to have a nice lunch in port to get a taste - as well as some days we just pick up a sandwich or pizza slice or something like that (costs). Then the lovely food on board in the evening. The huge range of places means you could be in a museum one day and a waterpark the next. We will def be trying cruising with kids!

Rugbylovingmum Wed 21-Jan-15 22:38:43

Thanks revealall, I appreciate the advice. We would usually save the money but we have recently sold a property we were renting out and used that to pay a large chunk off our own mortgage (plus sticking some in a savings account) so we decided this money we would use for a treat.

The long list is my problem - we love visiting new places so we could visit most countries in world and have a great time so how do we choose somewhere??? I guess I'm hoping someone will tell us about a hol and it'll capture my imagination and I'll decide that's where I want to go.

misty - Croatia sounds ideal, I'll look into places to stay. I'd never thought about Madeira but I'll check that out too. Where are you looking to go? It's tough isn't it, so many options these days and as we go less often I want it to be great.

Wait4nothing - I'd never fancied a cruise but keep hearing good things about them. I just have to convince DP to take the idea seriously - he worries about feeling claustrophobic or stuck.

Misty9 Wed 21-Jan-15 23:54:43

I'd love to go to lake garda, but we're restricted by airports due to where we live and not wanting a massive drive before and after. There is so much choice I agree. It's the reviews which usually prove my undoing!

revealall Thu 22-Jan-15 18:22:07

I know the feeling of needing a holiday!

With regards to the cruise, if you fly cruise rather than sail from Britian, you are more often in port than at sea. Obviously this depends on route but most med cruises you arrive early morning and leave in the evening somewhere different everyday. We went from exploring Pompeii ruins one day to camel rides in Tunisia the next day, to being on the beach in the south of France the day after etc. I can safely say I felt less trapped than camping miles from the nearest town which I did the year after!
With young children you wouldn't be doing much more than looking for a nice restaurant in the evening if you were land based?
Lots of cruises also have options for days on land at the beginning - say two nights in Venice or Barcelona.
Or you can do what I diid ;fly in/out independently and stay somewhere you fancy.

wasoncearacergirl Fri 23-Jan-15 14:35:09

you need to hook up with the the guy that runs it does all kinds of stuff like this with his two, and i disagree that they dont remember, my little boy has done thailand and sri lanka and he will never forget the elephants..

Wellieswithaholein Fri 23-Jan-15 14:54:41

I third Cruises, they are fantastic holidays. Our dc have been on a few and love them more than any other holiday.

They also loved it when we went to Lisbon (we went on the open top bus tour as everything is spread out) for a couple of days followed by the beach town of Cascais.

Jersey is lovely-lots to do. The Merton Hotel is very family friendly with indoor and outdoor pools and had the best kids club ever. Food was great too.

Denmark is lovely too, but if you stay in Copenhagen for Tivoli gardens, Nyhavn etc Legoland is miles away. Viking ships at Roskilde wasn't far and nice beaches very close by. It is easy to get around we took the train to Helsingor and the ferry to Helsingborg in Sweden. It is expensive, but travel was very reasonable.

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 23-Jan-15 15:02:02

My dc's wouldn't cope with the heat of the Med unless its out of season.
I would vote for Sweden -expensive in some respects,but train travel,at least,is very reasonable imo.
There are fantastic lakes for swimming etc -open water swimming is a normal thing.

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