I love travelling and discovering new places with my little family but one thing I learned after our recent trip to Milan is that our holidays now need to planned slightly differently to when the kids were younger.
With Miss Frugal now at the grand old age of 14 and her brother slightly younger at 12, we’ve been through the years where they got along like a house on fire and actually enjoyed each other’s company and the (thankfully) short phase where they hated the sight of each other. We’re now in the much more comfortable phase where they manage to tolerate each other for the most part with a little few spats here and there and we even have the rare occasions where they actually enjoy spending time together.
That all goes out of the window when it comes to spending time together on holidays though!
We made the mistake of booking a family room when we went away to Milan which meant that although it was a lovely spacious room, it was ultimately just one room with a double bed and two singles in it. That’s always been OK for us in the past but it seems we’re at the age now where we need more space as well as somewhere to escape to for alone time.
As it was, there was no escaping each other while we were away and we spent from Tuesday morning to Sunday lunchtime together all day, every day which, believe me when I tell you, was far from ideal.
The kids went from tolerating each other to barely being able to communicate at times which made me feel a bit like a referee at times.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad by any means but it was definitely a far cry from our previous holidays abroad where they’ve been able to go off and fun with other kids in the kids clubs or they’ve played in the pool together or even when we’ve let them wander off a little bit at places like Butlins here in the UK. Our hotel was amazing but there was nowhere for them to ‘escape’ to for their own space if you know what I mean and it’s amazing how much a difference that little bit of freedom ad independence can make.
Without the option to do their own thing, phrases like ‘He’s looking at me Mam’ or ‘She’s using all my wifi’ were uttered frequently throughout our little break and even though most times I could just laugh it off and distract them from whatever it was that was annoying them,I may have sworn once or twice with frustration.
We talked about it when we came home because although it didn’t ruin our holiday at all there were definitely times when it felt like more hard work than a holiday should be if you know what I mean. Luckily, I know everyone’s little quirks, triggers and can recognise the warning signs of an oncoming bad mood so if I keep an eye out and an ear open than I can usually get everything back on track quite quickly with minimal drama but I’d prefer not to have to be on watch duty all holiday.
The kids both admitted that as much as they love being on holiday and being in a new place with things to discover, they missed the times that they could just retreat into their own rooms and chill out. They don’t like being ‘on’ all the time and being out and about is only good if we don’t have somewhere to be all of the time.
That makes sense to me I guess although I’m the opposite on holiday and want to cram in as much as I can while I’m there.
We’re due to be going to the Isle of Wight for a week in the Summer Holidays so I’ve already spoken to the company we booked with and paid a little extra to upgrade to a 3 bedroomed caravan on the campsite. It didn’t cost much more at all and should make things easier when we’re away for all of us.
We also have a trip booked to Nice and Monaco later in the year and I’ve spoke to the hotel directly and they’ve assured me that we’ll be OK there. We have a room booked that has a bedroom with two beds in and a living room area that converts into a second bedroom on a night as well as a terrace area. They also have a pool that will be open and a few other amenities in the other hotel so the kids aren’t confined when we’re in the hotel as much as they were in Milan.
I’ll be taking more games when we go away in future as well because I’ve always found that playing little travel games like the ones I wrote about here are great for distracting the kids. When we were in Milan, I found that when the kids started to get a bit tetchy all I had to do most of the time was offer to play a quick game of Uno or Dobble and all was good.
The only other thing I can think of that will help are headphones so everyone can listen to their own music or watch YouTube or Netflix without us all having to watch it. Only the kids took headphones to Milan but I guarantee we’ll all be taking them in future!
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