First 'school holiday's' holiday - where?!

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  • ChilliBob
    ChilliBob Posts: 2,091 Forumite
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    ChilliBob said:
    ChilliBob said:
    Guys, 

    We are trying to plan our first school holidays summer holiday for our family and having some trouble... So, looking to pick the brains of the collective on here!!!

    Pre school time we would usually go to St Ives in Cornwall, this is *perfect* for us, however, anyone who has been to St Ives knows August isn't a good time to come - it's just ridiculously busy.

    So, we considered elsewhere, Mauritius is currently our top bet but we're not sure.. 

    'we' is Mum and Dad (40), son, age 5 nearly 6 by then, daughter, who will be 13 months by then.

    What - somewhere beach based

    Weather - not too hot! - which seems to be our sticking point, once it gets over sbout 20 degrees we're all about just right.

    Hotel - rather than a cottage, we are after a hotel to provide probably half board. Whilst we have two children we aren't looking for a child specific place - basically somewhere that tolerates children. Our son won't be interested in the kids clubs etc just yet he wants to be with us all the time!

    Budget, we'll, we know it's going to be stupidly expensive compared to what we're used to, I think 10 days in Mauritius with flights would be something silly like 7k-8k+, we can go go this if needs be.

    What we didn't like on the resorts we found is the isolation - it looked like you'd basically be marooned in some resort and dependant on a 5 star hotel for everything - with no possibility to wander to a local town, supermarket, etc! - something quite alien to us.

    Also all these luxury resorts seem really cagey on what's included, like some reviews suggested half board still means you need to buy all drinks at breakfast and dinner - that includes water! (and tea, coffee etc). 

    Suggestions, advice and comments most welcome! 

    Personally wouldn't be paying £8k for a ten day holiday unless it came complete with a bevvy of swimsuit models to tend to my every whim but each to their own! 

    If you're tied to the not above 20o thing then that's going to make things tricky - even the UK is generally above 20 degrees in summer now. So maybe southern hemisphere? Cape Town has some lovely beaches I believe? Rio is amazing - probably would be a bit warmer than 20o but not too much so as its winter in July. Again Rio has loads to do and plenty beaches etc. 

    The isolation on resorts thing is something I hate as well which I why I tend to just do city trips nowadays - of course there is nothing to stop you jumping a taxi to the nearest town. But safety can be a concern in some places. 

    With regards half board - I would expect to pay for drinks at dinner (even water) but breakfast generally includes juice/coffee/tea - you would be expected to pay for anything beyond that. Generally if you want drinks included thats all-inclusive.  

    ETA: With regards kids and long flights I found when they are really young (i.e. first year or so) they do just sleep through the flight. And when they are old enough to just sit and watch movies or whatever they can entertain themselves well enough. It's that awkward bit in the middle where they get bored/want to get off/won't sleep that causes issues. But I imagine every kid is different. Our daughter did pretty regular long haul flights from about 9 months old and she generally managed them OK but it isnt relaxing travelling with a toddler.   
    Thanks, we've got 18+ years of this to contend with for now so I'll look into those places with future years in mind.

    Yeah the isolation wasn't our vibe, also, it was £300 for a 1hr taxi transfer, so you've gotta think a cab half an hour there and back is a oneer too! 
    I can't imagine anywhere in Mauritius is genuinely a £300 taxi trip from anywhere else. I have a feeling that some of the prices you are getting quoted are way over the going rate. I know some high-end resorts can be a bit price-gougy but some of those prices just seem silly
    Yep, they certainly do! I've not looked myself tbh, this is, what my wife has told me. Considering she's trying to convince me to go I'd have thought she looked fairly thoroughly but who knows.

    Anyhow, looks more like Guernsey is flavour of the month currently! More my cuppa lol. 
  • CKhalvashi
    CKhalvashi Posts: 12,067 Forumite
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    I'm not sure a 12/13 hour flight would be anywhere near top of my list with two small children especially if a first flight. 

    Europe beach resorts you are likely to exceed your ideal temp of 20°, how about Austria or even Italian lakes? 
    We went to Norway last year and that was very good, family friendly, plenty to do and by no means hot.


    If you'd prefer mountains, I'd be looking at somewhere like Zakopane/Poprad (fly to Krakow/Katowice or Kosice respectively, I think Tatry flights are winter only now ex-UK) or Sinaia (again Bucharest) may suit. These options again are quite warm in the summer season.

    Long flights and small children generally don't work well together and tbh there's enough to do in Europe that they're not really necessary.
    Another vote for Poprad and Zakopane. Poprad is the base for a wonderful mountain railway system that most children would enjoy almost as much as I did. You can combine the two: Flixbus operate one bus a day over the mountains between them, taking about four hours. Probably a hired car would be a lot quicker, and easier with young children.

    I was in Poland last April and found prices to be very reasonable. Yes, if I wanted a comfortable hotel with an indoor swimming pool I had to pay almost £40 per night, but that is a lot cheaper than most other places.
    We spent about 580zl on 2 double rooms in a central location for 2 nights a few weeks ago. This was in Wroclaw as we took mom away for her birthday. Breakfasts from Biedronka were still less than £2 and I can't remember how much 2 takeaway pizzas cost but it was from memory about £12.

    Private bathrooms and a kitchen shared between I think 4 or 5 rooms.

    Works out to less than £20/room/night.

    Given the extreme demand on Poland's short term letting sector due to the aggression of a neighbour, I consider that very good, even if it's slightly more expensive than a few years ago.

    Poland is a beautiful country to spend time in overall and quite inexpensive.
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  • CKhalvashi
    CKhalvashi Posts: 12,067 Forumite
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    ChilliBob said:
    Thanks for the suggestions..... the latest thinking..... Guernsey! - We went to Jersey a few years back and enjoyed it, seems like a good option at the moment!

    Regarding Poland - my wife's actually Polish so we've been to a few places in Poland already - Wroclaw is actually the closest 'big' town from where she grew up, so yeah we've been there together. Zakopane is on our list at some point - probably as a winter destination. Apparently the prices in Poland have shot up quite a bit in the last couple of years too. (Although still cheaper than some of the places I have mentioned!).

    The whole flights thing seems to differ depending who you ask. We've done a few flights with our son (now 5 and a half), longest I think was about 4 hours - seemed okay really. That's from ages of 9 months to about 3. Long haul I'm not so sure on - some seem to think babies just fall asleep, some think it's horrendous and they'll scream the whole time. Luck of the drawer I guess!
    As this is MSE, it's probably fair to point out that the cheaper flight deals generally have connections. About 10 years ago it was cheaper to jump on Aerosvit/UIA, LOT Polish or Lufthansa (by quite some margin) than to use the direct BA/BMI London-Tbilisi service to get back, or cheaper still Luton-Kyiv-Kutaisi with Wizz on 2 separate tickets (which often required an overnight stop).

    We now unofficially transit Poland quite a lot (there is always risk in this though if something.gets cancelled) and came back in December from Yerevan with an overnight in Vienna Airport to save £200+pp over an official connection.

    This is not what you want to be doing with small children in an ideal world (although they will sleep in airports if tired enough) even though the cost savings can be huge.

    Keeping flights within the 6 hour mark is perfect if you have a total travel time from home to hotel and back under about 10 hours, although it's very child specific.
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  • ChilliBob
    ChilliBob Posts: 2,091 Forumite
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    I know this is mse, bizzarely, money for something like this isn't a huge issue. We contemplated the spend outlined for Mauritius. I did point out though since it wasn't like a dream destination for either of us, and neither were that excited about the holiday something just didn't seem to add up!

    Most, but not all, of my Poland trips have coincided with all souls day (for that very purpose). Certainly a very different 'holiday' if you can call it that, but equally quite a beautiful site across all the cemeteries etc.

    We will return to Poland at some point in sure, it's not on the cards for the next few years though. 

    Bedronka, happy memories, there was one opposite our hotel somewhere in Poland, I do love an international supermarket :) 
  • Bigphil1474
    Bigphil1474 Posts: 2,531 Forumite
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    We had a week in Stockholm last year in August - we stayed on the Archipelago in an AirBNB house near Lindigo. Temperature was low to mid 20's (C), and the public transport is really good. We used the bus to go to a nice beach, although the water was cold. There was an outdoor pool (warm) within easy walking distance which we spend a few days at.

    The tram system is easy to use and cheap (you buy a ticket on an app that lasts for an hour from memory and you can travel on as many trams as you need to while the ticket is still live - kids free). We spent a couple of days going into the city - they have a big open air history museum in the city which is pretty good (Skansen), and some great museums. Something for everyone. The flights weren't too bad price wise - flew SAS from Manchester to Stockholm - I think they were about £150 per person but can't remember exactly. Wasn't somewhere I'd thought of for a summer holiday, but the OH's daughter lives there so we thought we'd give it a try with the grandkids, and it was great.
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