Summer holidays with teenagers and pre-teens, help!

(41 Posts)
youcantakethegirloutthevalleys Wed 04-Sep-13 14:43:54

Husband and I just back from a villa holiday in Kefalonia with 14, 11 and 9 years olds.

Had a good time but feel that we are lately having to put more effort into providing "fun" activities to keep them all from killing each other. The first week is usually ok, but second week they seem to be constantly winding each other up. We have realised as they have got older that we can"t just get away with bucket and spade at the beach type days (although we do do that too), and we now end up leaving our idyllic quiet area for the more commercialised resorts with waterspouts, beach bars, etc. This is fine in Kef as it's always relatively easy to park, get into restaurants etc.(and busy in Kefalonia is nowhere near as busy as some other more commercialised islands).

I'm now thinking about next year (dh thinks I'm mad but I like to be organised and have something to look forward to) and although we love the idea of a villa holiday , i.e. no constraints with food, own pool etc., I'm not sure how relaxing next year's will be, and am torn between another villa holiday and something like Neilson which would give us as adults the chance to relax more and ensure the kids are kept amused. My only reservations with this type of holiday is that we would inevitably be more restricted in our meals (and dh would not be able to fire up a bbq as he is wont to do) and we would have to be more (gasp) sociable with other people being around. We have had friends who have been on Neilson hols who would not now go back to any other type of holiday, but they are fairly active and enjoy sailing whereas we (dh and I) are not particularly sporty and i wonder if we may be paying for activities we wouldn't use?

However, I do like the idea of having some meals provided (especially breakfast) but I would like the option of being able to cater myself for some meals. I don"t think AI would be for us as we like to get a car out and explore different places and eating options.

I'm not sure if what I want really exists in reality! confused

Any thoughts on good apartments/villas with dining options or any thoughts/experiences of Neilsons would be welcome!


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NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 04-Sep-13 15:00:20

I feel your pain, we did the AI with 13 and 11 yr olds this summer in the hope of them going to maxi club. Youngest would have gone but dd1 refused point blank (and she's normally persuadable)
So we were with each other 24:7 in a hotel room. Quite a few people suggested eurocamp style holidays but I still don't think they would talk to other teens. Next year I think will do Disney and just keep busy the whole time.
After that I might do villa again and just load up
Kindle and bring ear plugs.
It's not very relaxing at this age, even though they don't need much 'looking after' is it?

cory Wed 04-Sep-13 17:14:28

I think what works with this age group is whole family discussions about holiday plans. Obviously you have the casting vote because you are paying, but it makes a big difference if they can take some kind of ownership of the holiday. Compromise is always good too: let each write down what they would like from a holiday and then see if there is some way you can take bits from everybody's wish list.

louby44 Wed 04-Sep-13 18:57:34

Why not go to an apartment complex but with restaurant facilities that you can dip in and out of.

Our kids always make friends and end up with quite a gang by the end of the fortnight! they've never gone to kids clubs but made their own fun!

Turkish hotels & apts often have pools with slides which can be great fun!

Screwfox Wed 04-Sep-13 18:58:44

or a city with a hotel and a pool but stuff to do?

Or a shared pool so they can hang out?

purpleroses Wed 04-Sep-13 19:46:50

We've just been to a hotel in Turkey with DCs aged 10-14. Separate rooms for the kids made it not cheap but gave them lots of independance. They made friends round the pool with other teens and we had a mixture of quiet days hanging around the hotel and browsing round the town and organised excursion days - jeep tour, mud baths, beach, boat trip, etc.
I really enjoyed it and felt it worked better than renting a cottage in the middle of nowhere like we've done before. Just went b&b at the hotel as eating out is cheap and easy in Turkey. Did mean we couldn't self cater really though. I noticed that the hotel also had some villas for self catering - still with the use of the pool etc. Might check that sort of thing out another time.

youcantakethegirloutthevalleys Wed 04-Sep-13 20:59:23

Thanks for all your advice and suggestions ladies.

Yes I did suggest last year that we go on a Eurocamp type holiday again ( we used to do it when they were little) but even oldest ds who is normally pretty sociable said he would rather go somewhere with our own pool etc. I think he is woried about the thought of being forced to mix and 'join in' (bit like your experience with dd1 naturalblonde). This is obviously my worry if we go for a Neilson holiday and the kids refuse to go to the kids clubs. A friend suggested the Pine Cliffs resort in the Algarve which has its own s/c villas as well as hotel with all facilities available. However when I looked into it we were looking at around £13,000 for the 5 of us in August shock. She only has one DD and is not restricted to school hols as we are but I still thought it was a bit steep.

I am veering more now towards Turkey I think. Purpleroses can you remember the name of the place you went to with the self catering villas on site?

I think I may try to come up with a short list of ideas and see what everyone thinks too.

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Screwfox Wed 04-Sep-13 21:15:02

Ha. You were at aydos weren't you !

Screwfox Wed 04-Sep-13 21:17:23

We were at the suites WAY WAY nicer than the hotel. Roomy. Wifi. Cleaning and loads more space. Dm me for details

youcantakethegirloutthevalleys Wed 04-Sep-13 21:27:06

Just checked out Aydos - they look great but looks like can only be booked through Simpsons who don't have their 2014 prices ready yet. Can you remember roughly how much they were, or if you felt it was good value for what you got? We always have the problem that with 3 children we inevitably have to get two rooms which always pushes the price up.

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youcantakethegirloutthevalleys Wed 04-Sep-13 21:28:28

And my DS and DH cannot live without wifi obviouslywink

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youcantakethegirloutthevalleys Wed 04-Sep-13 21:30:00

Also would you recommend Dalyan as a base? What kind of place is it?

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Screwfox Wed 04-Sep-13 21:53:04

Easy. Fun. touristy but not like .,clubby.
Very very hot.
Think it was reasonable the suites. ? 700 plus for a fortnight per person? Can't remember. Ring them

Screwfox Wed 04-Sep-13 21:53:24

Wifi was very good. Fast.

MyBoysAreFab Wed 04-Sep-13 21:57:29

We are going to Majorca in October with DS' aged 12 and 13. It is AI apartment blocks with various swimming pools, near beach, waterpark nearby - all specifically planned in the hope DS' will enjoy themselves and get on reasonably for a week. It is not my idea of a holiday but if they enjoy it at least we may get some peace to read a book or something, and before we know it they won't want to come on holiday with us dullards.

Travelledtheworld Wed 04-Sep-13 22:00:14

My kids 12 and 13 refused to go to Neilsons kids club last year. My husband and and I were on a sailing course so they ended up just lying around the hotel reading and playing on iPods ALL DAY.

We appreciated the all inclusive but were bored with the food by the end of the week, but the quantities were huge so good for teenagers.

The flotilla the following week was much better, they were involved with sailing the boat and it was vet sociable . Nilsens did a good job organising activities for them.

How about going to a SKI resort in the summer ? You can do self catering or a catred chalet and there is usually a pool, mountain biking, cable car trips.

purpleroses Wed 04-Sep-13 22:04:50

Funnily enough it was Dalyan we went to - Holiday Calbis Hotel. We booked through Thomas Cook, but they didn't have the villas. The villas I think you can book direct from the hotel. Dalyan is great - loads of different things to do, and popular mainly with families with older children and teens. Not clubby, not too beachy (bus or boat ride to get to the sea) but very touristy - ie loads of nice restaurants, market, etc. And loads of independent tour operators trying to sell you day trips. Very hot in August though - October half term might have been better.

youcantakethegirloutthevalleys Thu 05-Sep-13 07:47:30

Travelledtheworld that's exactly what I was worried may happen with my lot!
Thanks for info Screwfox and Purpleroses will look into it. I can do touristy as long as it's a nice mix of nationalities and not too many 'all day breakfast' or 'theme pub' style establishments!! (Sorry sound like a right snob but YKWIM).

I'm not worried about the heat really as long as there is a/c and a pool to cool down in outside.

Myboysarefab - have been to Majorca (Polenca) and really liked it, although beaches were heaving when we went in school hols.

Ideally I'd go in June but we are tied to hols due to kids ages now and my job.

Cheers everyone

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NoComet Thu 05-Sep-13 08:16:24

I do touristy and do my best to find anywhere not serving all day breakfast or showing sky sports grin

We are very lucky, our DDs are fish, they will spend hours in a big hotel pool (villa pools surely get boring). Or the sea.

We tend to got Majorca for a week and factor into the budget a couple of trips, water park a show, riding, boat trip with food and snorkelling. We hire bikes made for 4 and the DDs went off on Segways one evening. Expensive but they loved it.

DD2(11) last time we went, makes friends in kids club and meets them in the pool.

DD1(14) pootles along happy with her own, our and her sisters company and a book. She'll snorkel for ages with DH or me.

Amazingly on the boat trip she sat talking to another 14y girl all the way back. This was lovely, DD1 has always been the outsider at school and generally doesn't interact with other teens. (Except family friends DDs and another DF who do all manner of mischief together)

valiumredhead Thu 05-Sep-13 08:28:47

Why not go for a week or ten days instead,2 weeks is too long anywhere imo !

youcantakethegirloutthevalleys Thu 05-Sep-13 15:26:15

I have said for a long time that one week is too short and two too long so somewhere in the middle like 10 days probably ideal. We could never do this in villas in high season, so I guess that's another reason to go down the hotel/ apartment route.

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secretscwirrels Thu 05-Sep-13 16:02:18

We used to do villas when DC were little but now go for large resort hotels with lots of pools and a choice of restaurants. This year we went here
I have never encountered pressure to join in activities, there for those who want them. One thing which has helped is going for two one week holidays rather than a full fortnight wink.
The only trouble with that is that we will have GCSEs and A levels next summer so summer half term is out and DS1 says he doesn't want to go at Easter because he will be revising.

Screwfox Thu 05-Sep-13 16:19:22

Dalyan sounds perfect tbh. Lots to do and some nightlife. But not tattoos and "ged Ere Brandon. "

youcantakethegirloutthevalleys Thu 05-Sep-13 17:18:10

I have already called Simpsons to get an idea of the price in high season and seems pretty reasonable (especially compared with what we usually pay in a villa).

Screwfox I did chuckle rather loudly at your "Brandon" comments.........grin

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youcantakethegirloutthevalleys Thu 05-Sep-13 17:18:55

Btw did you hire a car while you were there? Do you think we may go a bit stir crazy without one?

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