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Share your tips for surviving family vacations with Drac from Hotel Transylvania 3 - £300 voucher to be won!(138 Posts)
Hello, hello it’s me Drac here, vampire, and owner of Hotel Transylvania! A lavish five-stake hotel for monsters and now humans, too. I have come to Mumsnet because I desperately need your help. My little poisonberry daughter Mavis has booked a family vacation - she thinks I need a break from running the hotel.
Even though a family vacation seems more work and stress than just staying at home! Not only do I have to keep my daughter Mavis and her human husband Johnny happy, I also need to be a good Vampa (vampire-grandpa ) and entertain Dennis-a-vich my 5 year old grandson; and don't even mention the hotel guests like Frank, Murray, Wayne and all of his pups, Tinkles, and Blobby.
I like the idea of spending some quality time with the family and hanging up my cloak but how do I do it without the arguments, and the tantrums, and the agony?! Please Mumsnetters, help me by telling me how you survive your family vacations without wanting to turn into a bat and fly away or wishing you were at home with a bowl of monster soup?
I will enter everyone who posts their most zing-worthy family vacation tips on this thread into our special Hotel Transylvania 3 prize draw where one monster or human will win a £300 voucher of their choice. If you win you could use it to come visit my monstrous hotel!
Standard Insight T&Cs apply
On our first holiday we tried doing something for DS one day, then something for us the next but it really didn't work. He was just a pain in the arse on "our" day and we got a bit bored on "his" day. So, now we plan the days so they have something to keep everyone interested; if we want to do a bit of shopping then we make sure it's close to a beach, harbour, or big park to break it up for DS; if we have a day geared more towards DS then we'll do a long bike ride to get there which we will enjoy.
The most important thing for us is to take double the amount of food that we think we will need. DS has food allergies and eats like a horse so we've learnt from our mistakes; running out of food can mean wasting literally hours trying to find something he can have.
1) Visit a zoo.
2) Steal a tranquiliser gun from it.
3) Shoot all holiday guests with it.
4) Go to bar
in my imagination anyway
Main tip - Lots of snacks & water for everyone!
Also, we tend to do an activity in.the morning, have lunch 'off', then do another activity in.the afternoon. Ensuring we finish in tgood time for tea, then normal bedtime routine (and usual time to bed - it just wouldn't be worth it keeping DC up late!)
Since having DC we know holidays are different to how they once we're so we have fairly low expectations and do things for the DC as happy children = happy parents!
Firstly, have very low expectations. As the week progresses, prepare to lower them further.
Secondly, take lots of Lego.
Also, take suncream by the bucketload, snacks, money for snacks and money for emergency snacks.
Visit a local (free) park for an afternoon with a picnic.
Visit somewhere with a discount voucher or Tesco deal.
Take lots of photos.
plan in advance - know where parks, pools, museums, restaurants etc are. Do not leave accommodation without knowing exactly where you are going and how to get there. I recently had a disaster in Berlin, when I had not researched how long a walk would take from place to place and it turned into the biggest nightmare from hell with DD and DS screaming, moaning, crying and worse. Download Moovit or something, so you just know exactly how to get places.
Always find time to do something as a 'close' family and not with the extras - mum/dad/kids and not grandparents uncles friends etc.
That way you have time to reset batteries as a family and you can tell the others about the 'adventure' making sure there is conversation to be had
Also, think of fun things to do with the children
And yes, ice cream is a food group on holiday
Firstly, pack loads of snacks in little pots- kids like little pots of food. (No doubt they will smear contents of said pots over their faces, but that's why a hosepipe in the garden is useful!)
Then, when on holiday, use scooters, bikes.. or just a plain old ball to make them run about! Yes- make them run about.. chase them about as a game, or even better, make them chase each other.
One summer, we were on a holidays and there was a field beside the house which we could use. I said I would give the kids one pence for every dandelion they picked. I spend about £3; they were running about fighting over the flowers for about 45 minutes.
Start every day with some kind of running about- then at least they won't be feral. Good luck!
Go to Romania! Honestly we used to live in E Europe and had some fabulous family holidays in Romania. People were so family friendly we'd always be ushered to the front of queues and when DD was a baby we had loads of meals where waitresses would take her and entertain her while we ate with both hands free!
Vacuum Storage Bags
Pack one for each person. My friend (who has 4 children) gave me this advice and it has transformed our holidays!
Family holidays are still treacherous and sometimes like horror movies, but at least packing is simple.
Make sure YOU have some downtime if possible. Planning fun days and being meal out is fun until you burn out and need a holiday after your holiday.
Even one or two evenings with a film or book and an early night will help.
Always do your research, find out the deals and free places to go.
Research! E.g Look at restaurants to get an idea of where you can eat that will be child friendly and tasty, or find a couple of wet weather options (e.g aquarium, indoor pool, dreaded soft play) in case the weather doesn’t go to plan on a beach holiday.
Our biggest thing on holiday is that we always try to stay somewhere where we have a seperate sleeping area so that we have a bit of space and aren’t all on top of each other. So generally apartments are better for us than hotels, but we’ve also had interconnecting rooms and family suites. Being in one room isn’t a holiday for us!
Not over planning! Taking each day as it comes and going with the flow
not disrupting young children’s routine too much
Family friendly restaurants!
For me it’s making sure we have a mix of days where we plan something and days where we just hang out and relax. It’s easy to rush about every day but actually sometimes just having a day at the holiday house can be so restful.
I make sure we bring things like board games/ craft sets etc to encourage the children to spend time together.
Oh and make sure we have nice wine and nibbles in for the evenings; I normally work in the evenings so just having a whole week off that feels like a break!!
Lots of exercise at the beach/pool in the morning, a heavy lunch and then a family nap where the DC sleep and I get to read my book. The clincher is that if they don't nap then they have to go to bed straight after dinner instead of partaking in evening entertainment. We then head back to the pool/beach and stay there until 7ish where we have a late dinner and go dancing. Bliss
I'd love to go on holiday to Transylvania.
We research our holidays together and give the kids chance to select an excursion or outing. We also play a lot of card games when waiting for food/flights/eldest dd (my monsters are fiercely competitive). This alleviates boredom but doesn't always stop bickering.
Bring more snacks and drinks than you think you'll ever need. Plan lots of rest/down time and don't over schedule the days.
Try to plan something that the majority will enjoy (ie. ice cream!).
Keep your expectations low and your humour going throughout.
Remember that kids love simple activities - we spent a summer just visiting all the local libraries and parks and it was a great hol.
All food tastes great if you eat it on a blanket. My fussy kids will eat anything if it's part of a picnic or snack box. It saves cooking (and stops me getting fed up when they don't eat my meals!).
I plan activities or outings for every day (with opening times, prices and directions). We don't do all of them and often have lazy days at home but if we are all feeling grumpy and the bickering starts I don't need to think. I just check my list and we head out (I have noticed that lots of my teacher friends do the same, even though we've spent several weeks desperate to escape the timetable and planning )
Our top tips;
- Make a plan, but know that it IS subject to change.. & that's ok!!
- We pick a couple of options for each day - one for a wet day, one for a dry day. That way, if the weather isn't playing ball, you're prepared!
- Make the most of free & low cost activities - a day on the beach with a picnic prepared from home costs nothing apart from an ice cream each if you're feeling generous! Buy your buckets & spades at the supermarket or a discount store before you go to avoid paying over the odds when you get there!
- Pack loads of drinks & snacks each day - a water bottle for everyone.
- Go to a boot sale the weekend before & stock up on some cheap toys , jigsaws or boardgames - get these out when you arrive/if they complain of feeling bored - a change is as good as a rest! You'll get way more for your money!
- Encourage the kids to keep a scrapbook while on holiday - pack some glue sticks & crafty bits & they can use brochures, leaflets, tickets & receipts to remind themselves what they got up to.
- Agree a bedtime for the kids & stick to it!! The grown-ups need some downtime too - for the benefit of all!
Did anyone else read that in Drac's voice?
I cannot wait for HT3 to be in the cinema!
We always research where we're going and what activities there are for us to do, if there are any local markets, shopping centres etc.
We have reasonably low expectations and don't expect to fit everything in! However, cramming as much as possible does wear the kids out
and the parents!
i like to make lists before we go anywhere after carefully researching the area.
i make sure there is a backup plan incase it all goes to pot i.e the kids turn into devils.
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