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AIBU to think this is too much?

24 replies

Isladogs · 29/03/2022 23:20

We are going on our first full family holiday together. It will be me, DP, DD (who will be 7 months) and DSC1 and DSC2.

DP and I have travelled a lot separately and together and we tend to be explorers, doing anything sporty or adventurous while taking in as much culture as we can fit in. We love food and to learn about history.

We only have a week away and are heading to Sicily. We fly into Palermo and this is where the issue lies. DSC really want to see Etna as it's a volcano and they're kids so obviously that sounds awesome to them. However Etna is on the other side of the island to Palermo. For years I've wanted to see the Valley of Temples which is about 2 1/4 hrs south of Palermo.
DP has suggested getting a car and on the first day driving down to where the Valley of Temples is (2 1/4 hr drive, after a 3 1/2 hr flight) and spending night one there. Then he wants to drive the next day to Catania, near Mount Etna (a 2 hr drive from the Valley of Temples) and stay there for 2 or 3 nights but use the car to explore nearby towns such as Syracuse (an hour from Catania) on one day, go to Etna another day (I won't be able to go because it's not safe to have DD near the gases released from the volcano).
Then we would return towards Palermo, stopping to spend the night at Cefalù on the way (2hrs 20mins from Catania) and finally spend the last 2 nights in Palermo which is 50mins drive from Cefalù.

I agreed to this initially but on thinking about it I think it's way too much time driving when we're travelling with a 7 month old.

DP is happy for us not to do this and has said we could base ourselves in one place but that visiting Etna with DSC is a non-negotiable so they would go through themselves one day to see it.

I'm right that it's too much arent I? I would love to see as much as possible but I don't think it would be the right thing to do for the baby.

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HundredMilesAnHour · 29/03/2022 23:33

It doesn't sound like a lot of fun, with far too much driving involved each day. Different if you were just adults maybe but no good for a baby.

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Isladogs · 29/03/2022 23:38

That's my thinking, it's the way DP and I would have travelled ourselves in the past and we've always had a great time but I don't think it will be good with a baby and 2 kids in tow, just stressful.

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MoiraNotRuby · 29/03/2022 23:42

Honestly depends on the baby. DS would have been fine with all that. Loved the car and loved seeing different sights. Didn't mind when he slept. DD wanted to sleep on her front - therefore hated the car seat and would scream most of the time.

How old is your baby now?

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Peony15 · 29/03/2022 23:46

Wow 😲.
Felt already exhausted after reading plan for day 1 inc flight and drive ( plus the time needed to get to
airport, Q's for check in , getting rental car etc ) let alone the rest. Checking in and out of various places.
2 kids and a baby and all
that driving and sightseeing in one week , admire your get and go.
How old are the DSC ?

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Sofasogood1 · 29/03/2022 23:46

Way too much. For a week away I'd be happy to stay in maybe two places tops and need some total chill days.

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Isladogs · 29/03/2022 23:50

How old is your baby now?

Baby is 6 months, so it's just next month.

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marlowe5 · 29/03/2022 23:52

Nope. No way. I wouldn't go along with it now for the sake of avoiding seeming like a kill-joy, otherwise it will be a taxing holiday where you are feeling resentful. You don't say how old the DSc are but unless they are mid to older teens who will really help with the little one and be tolerant when things just 'aren't going to go to plan' I would have thought it just needs to be a flat no. It's not realistic in my view.

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Aroundtheworldin80moves · 29/03/2022 23:53

How old are the older children? Baby won't really care what you do. But older children might find that a bit full on.

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Isladogs · 29/03/2022 23:53

How old are the DSC?

They're 6 and 10. It will be the 6 year old's first holiday abroad so he might not enjoy being in the car all that time either.

DD can be totally hit or miss in the car.

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MoiraNotRuby · 30/03/2022 00:02

Actually I don't think its that bad. Because if you list it out-

Day one - 2 1/4 hr drive, after a 3 1/2 hr flight
Day 2 - 2 hr drive
Day 3 - potential trip - but if you are all tired, don't go
Day 4 - no trip for baby
Day 5 - 2hr 20mins
Day 6
Day 7 - 50 mins plus flight

I don't see how you could make it less unless you skipped the thing you really want, or the thing the older kids really want.

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Isladogs · 30/03/2022 00:02

Ok, so I think now I just need to decide if we stay in one place (somewhere near Palermo) and can just use the car to travel on that side of the island (which means we can still visit Cefalù as it's not too far) and DP can go east with DSC one day. Or else cut out the Valley of Temples and Cefalù and split the holiday between Palermo and the area around Mount Etna.

I'd feel quite sad to miss out on both Cefalù and Valley of Temples though. It would be nice to get at least one of them in.

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Isladogs · 30/03/2022 00:08

@MoiraNotRuby
Sorry, cross posted.

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WhatILoved · 30/03/2022 00:35

I go to Sicily lots on hols. I'd say maybe plan another trip for one of your places. It's an amazing place to be just to sit a watch life go by, eat, see a few sights and then relax. There are so many beautiful, less well known places that you can chance upon if you stay put in one area. Also think you have underestimated the time things can take - I've waited 3 hours before to pick up the hire car from Catania airport. My oh is Italian and even he needs to chill out after experiencing some of the mad driving on the roads.

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Lurkerlot · 30/03/2022 01:01

I adore Sicily, there really is a lot to see.
I have been numerous times, and to do them justice have always split the east and west coasts out. Even without knowing the ages of DSC 1&2 what is being suggested here is too much, to pack into 1 week.

The roads that circumnavigate around Sicily have stunning views, but you will be on what would be classed in the UK as country roads. The tolls roads going across the centre, and in parts around the island are dual carriageways.

The road through the centre of the island is designed to get you across without a stop. Palermo to Catania is a long boring drive, - at least 3 hours, so if you anticipate having to stop for the baby, then you will need to plan that, as the only services are closer to the Palermo end of the E19. If memory serves me right, you can come off at the Enna junction, and pick up some cafes in that impressive medieval Town, but that adds to your journey. So Travelling with 3 kids could mean you need to build and overnight in Enna, into your trip.

You are landing in Palermo, I would say, take in Cefalu, Marsala, Agrigento, and the medieval fortress town of Erice. All full day trips from Palermo. Cefalu has beautiful beaches, but is expensive.

If flying into Catania, you can take in Syracuse, see one of the largest amphitheaters outside of Greece, and sample the Greek history of Sicily, the kids may like a visit to the chocolatiers of Modica, and you can easily visit Piazza Armerina where you will find the UNESCO site of the Roman Villa del Casale. Well worth a visit. To me Etna was not really worth the day trip it took, the last part of which is a barren arduous hike, loose rocks for the large part. And I took me a day trip when I was staying In the foothills of Etna, just above Catania.

Even with a big comfortable SUV, what is being suggested, for a week is too much with kids in toe.

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Lurkerlot · 30/03/2022 01:10

*even knowing the ages of DSC 1&2

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Fraaahnces · 30/03/2022 01:20

Valley of the Temples is AMAZING, but it is VERY hot and sunny, and a lot of walking over stony ground. You will need hats, drinks, food and baby in a sling. (I would take a parasol too, but that’s me…) Despite this, it is absolutely one of the best things I have ever seen.

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MarmiteCoriander · 30/03/2022 01:27

DH and I spent 2 weeks in Sicily pre-covid. I personally think your trip will be rushed and you'll have no days to actually relax and get to know the towns where you are staying. Palermo has lots to see and do itself in just a week.

A day trip to cefalu or Modello if you want the beach. We stayed in Agrigento 3 nights. I found the museum more interesting that the actual outdoor temples.

We did a day trip from Catania to Syracuse which was lovely.

Sicily had a regular train and/or and bus service through the island, so I wouldn't bother hiring a car unless you are confident on hilly, winding roads! There will also be next to no parking in either Catania or Palermo.

I'm unsure I'd divert your entire holiday to see a volcano because the 6 and 10yrs think its awesome! They will be bitterly disappointed that orange lava isn't spewing out and bursting out the top and it will instead look like a grey, pointy mountain! Maintaining expectations on that front is the key!

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Fraaahnces · 30/03/2022 05:04

Btw, I personally found driving past the volcano in the evening much more interesting than going up close and personal. We were there when it was “burping” and you could see a lot more from further away than close up.

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Isladogs · 30/03/2022 10:49

Thanks for the new responses. They are really helpful!

I'm going to show them to DP and we can hopefully come up with a new, much easier plan.


I'm unsure I'd divert your entire holiday to see a volcano because the 6 and 10yrs think its awesome! They will be bitterly disappointed that orange lava isn't spewing out and bursting out the top and it will instead look like a grey, pointy mountain! Maintaining expectations on that front is the key!


Ive thought about this and shown them picture of Etna so they know what to expect. I was trying to suggest they go see Stromboli instead as at least then they'd be likely to see something but they have said no and it's definitely etna they want to see. I think it would be so much easier for us to stay west and come back some other time to explore the east side and include Etna then but DP is pretty adamant that they're going to see it as DSC want to see it so much and have told people they're going to hike a volcano.

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Ylvamoon · 30/03/2022 11:00

I would stay in one place, its far easier when travelling with youngish DC & baby.

I think, just let them see Etna. The landscape in itself will be something out of this world!

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SomeFuckingWizardry · 30/03/2022 11:38

I don't think the amount of driving / exploring is too much if you stop at interesting spots / for snacks, bathroom breaks along the way etc. but the bit that would be awful for me is the unloading and reloading of the car over and over between 4 different accommodations, getting out everything the kids & baby need then packing up again in a way that is organised for the next stop, making sure no precious toy or charger or something has been left behind, rather than being able to just unpack, relax, do your day trips from one base and then chuck everything together at the end!

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LaSevillana · 30/03/2022 18:26

2-3 hours driving to me seems like absolutely nothing and I'm a bit surprised so many people think it's a lot. I have family in Spain and as a child we would regularly drive down (the days before cheap flights) and we'd be in the car for two very, very long days. Literally 10-12 hours in the car, on top of a ferry journey from England to France. Even as very small kids, as in younger than 6 and 10. I recognise that's a lot and most kids wouldn't tolerate it, but I'm not really seeing the issue with a few 2-hour car journeys.

There are lots of destinations where the airport might be a good two-hour drive from where you're staying, so I don't see the first day plans as being bad at all. It sounds a bit faffy and I'd be more worried about cramming too much in and not having time to properly appreciate anything rather than the driving time, to be honest. I agree with a PP that the kids will be disappointed with the volcano - they're probably expecting it to be spewing lava and it's not actually that exciting most of the time!

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Bunce1 · 30/03/2022 18:31

Think of all the packing and unpacking.

Uuurgh not a holiday!

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redchicken · 31/03/2022 00:15

Petrol / car rental / transport was incredibly expensive when I was in Sicily - have you priced it?

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