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How do you go about booking your holiday?

(16 Posts)
FunMumNorthWest Mon 20-Mar-17 17:02:26

Hi fellow mums & dads,

I have two kids, 8 (f) and 6 (m), and I'm starting to think about booking our summer holiday. Every year I find this such a pain! I've tried doing it diff ways: the all inclusive through TC; booking everything separately and directly; mix of package and direct; private rental Airbnb/homeaway etc. TBH, it's all the research and questions that makes it so time-consuming bcos a lot of these websites don't tell me family specific things that I need to know!

Anyways, I was just wondering how you all go about booking your holidays? What are your tried and tested methods, and what has worked for you and your family best? Would love to hear about all your past experiences! And which companies/websites/travel agents have worked best to meet your family's needs.

Many thanks,

OP’s posts: |
misscph1973 Mon 20-Mar-17 17:14:17

I think it's very individual how you book holidays. I start by looking at the flight routes from my local airport (I don't want to travel more than neccessary). I pick a few, based on flight times and price (usually easyjet and Ryanair and flights around noon), and research the areas. I picked Carvoeiro on the Algarve coast in Portugal from an article in the Telegraph about the 10 best family beach holidays, and this was backed up by posts here on MN (also I went to the Algarve as a child twice and loved it). Also Carvoeiro is not far from Faro airport. As Carvoeiro is quite small, it was easy to pick a flat on Airbnb. I'm going back this summer!

As you can tell, I really focus on easy!

And I dont' like all-inclusive, there is not enough choice in regards to flight times and accommodation.

You could also ask your friends IRL, personal recommendations are great.

What are you looking for? Might be able to suggest a few places.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 20-Mar-17 17:19:03

I go round and round in circles, checking every permutation of accommodation/flights/resorts/countries, then book what I thought we'd like to do in the first place. I quite enjoy it, tbh.

user1490029803 Mon 20-Mar-17 17:19:52


We used to go on Thomas Cook holidays but the kids are older now (11 and 16) and want something different to the resort holiday. So we're thinking of using AirBnB next time. I'm also interested to know if other parents have used AirBnB and what they thought? Is the DIY aspect too much if you're taking kids?


Eolian Mon 20-Mar-17 17:23:05

We either book a campsite or a cottage online ftom a variety of website. If it's abroad we make sure a budget airline flies to an airport near it before we book flights. Then book car hire if necessary. That's about it really. The flights are the tricky bit because the prices vary so much even a few days apart. I've never done all inclusive.

user1490029803 Mon 20-Mar-17 17:24:50


What were the downsides of using AirBnB with family?

I'm guessing lower price was the upside?


FunMumNorthWest Mon 20-Mar-17 17:29:41

TBH I don't have a problem with the destinations, it's more just the process! I just find it so time-consuming and there are so many things to consider with the kids in tow! And I always ask myself "Does everyone else spend this long on it?", "Is this the most effective process?", "Have I thought about everything for the kids?", "Are there enough activities to keep us all entertained?". Before the kids were born my husband and I barely gave the process a second thought! If we had a destination in mind then bam, we'd just check a few reviews and go ahead and book.

So I guess I'm just really keen to hear about other people's experiences in terms of the process for booking. Does anyone else have this time-consuming problem? What are people's biggest pain points? Maybe we can all share solutions to each other's problems smile.

OP’s posts: |
misscph1973 Mon 20-Mar-17 17:35:50

I love airbnb! I can't really think of any downsides. I made sure I chose "entire" (you can also rent rooms), and that I used an experienced host with positive reviews and no history of cancellations, and that it was not someones private house. I also made sure that there was air conditioning, a washing machine etc. My DC (9 and 12) loved the places we have stayed. One was a flat with sea view from the balcony and another was a villa with a pool, both lovely places.

I guess the only ting was that I insisted on hiring a car from the airport, and that it took a little time to get used to driving in the right side of the road plus it took a while to find our accommodation. But 2 days into the holiday driving was easy.

I don't know if non-airbnb would be cheaper or more expensive, as I have not used anything else.

The DIY aspect suits us a family. We like not eating out every night as DC get really tired of late nights.

And I am a bit tight with money ;) So I like self-catering.

Ohyesiam Mon 20-Mar-17 17:37:16

What sorry of stuff do you consider with kids in tow?
We went to Greece last Easter. I wanted to be able to acres shops and beach on foot, and access interesting stuff by car. Do we v looked at air bnb, then went on Google maps to see of it was all close enough. Rejected a couple that were Just holiday complexes away from everything else. Booked cheapo flights, all quite easy and exciting.

MrsJamin Mon 20-Mar-17 18:08:08

We've airbnb'ed a lot, so many advantages of cooler places to stay than just samey hotels, you've got a kitchen and living area and separate bedrooms. Often it means you can stay in a quieter non-touristy area too. We've booked flights far ahead of time and then booked airbnbs later when we've had a thought about where we want to stay etc.

bakingaddict Mon 20-Mar-17 18:36:53

What do you like to do as a family? I start with destinations and look on tripadvisor for things to do or excursions for us all to go on. If I think the holiday destination has enough interesting things to do outside the hotel then I look further at flights and hotels. This way I can sketch out a rough holiday itinerary and plan and organise the day trips/places of interest to visit.

I find with younger kids it's better to know what you want to visit than just winging it. For me it does take a lot of time as i'm responsible for all holiday plannning and organising but I get to do all the choosing of where we go.

mummymeister Tue 21-Mar-17 12:31:28

we discuss what sort of holiday we want and look at timings around exams, sporting activities, other things they want to do etc.

once we have the dates, we then discuss in detail where we can find the sort of holiday that they want. I am lucky in that despite the fact that we are a large family we do all tend to like the same things.

I then go off and come back with 3 options of countries that might work for the kind of holiday we agreed on. we vote on it and rank the 3 countries. then I go off and book accommodation, flights, car hire etc.

this year we are going to Oregon - not your normal destination I know - but we loved our long touring holiday in Canadas west coast a couple of years ago and wanted something similar. flights etc already booked just now getting on with accommodation which is harder because of the number of bedrooms that we need.

personally, I wish I did holiday finding as a job, I love it so much.

its only a chore if you don't have a clear idea of what type of holiday you want - how warm, activities etc.

TweedAddict Tue 21-Mar-17 12:44:37

For us we use a wide range of different booking methods.

U.K. Short break air bn'b, spa weekend or even hotel it though last

For Europe, a lot of our family have caravans we don't-not for me. But we do go away with them and book in a villa or air bn'b near by. Sometimes we fly down and get a hire car or drive along with them if going to France etc. It's nice to get a large family group together.

Every 2 years we will then go on all including holiday just us, so that's booked though thomas cook or on the beach. On these I find it much easier to just pay though a big company, these are stress free holidays so it's about relaxation all the way

We are lucky enough in that we can go away 3/4 times a year so have many options open to us.

In the next fews we are looking at doing a tour holiday one that lasts a month or so. That will be booked though a specific company and I doubt we will go away the rest of year that year though.

NotCitrus Tue 21-Mar-17 13:10:07

Ours tends to be:
Who is coming? Mix of extended family and sometimes friends.
When?' Having 6+ people means it's pretty set when we can go.
Where? Which country or region.
Look up flights if needed, narrow down area and dates
Look up places to stay and what's near them, ideally without needing a car. We want self-catering.
At this point there's usually not many options - this year is Wales but only 2 houses that will fit us all near where we wanted to be, so snapped up the nice one in January! Southern Germany took much longer and deciding we wanted to be able to walk to shops but would also hire a car, took a long time.

FunMumNorthWest Tue 21-Mar-17 13:52:37

This is all really insightful! Thanks so much

OP’s posts: |
allegretto Tue 21-Mar-17 13:54:35

We always book a couple of weeks before we leave - this has the advantage of narrowing down the choice!

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