How to do it

What kids want from holidays – vs their parents

Happy Boxing Day! The presents are unwrapped, the turkey is eaten (mostly), sprouts can safely be ignored for another year – so what now? If Christmas is over, it can mean only one thing for parents: starting to plan next year’s holidays.

Me and my daughter on the beach in Portugal - what kids want from holidays and what their parents want aren't always that different...

Travel websites see surges of more than 50% from Boxing Day onwards, so if you’re poring over pictures of sunny destinations and dreaming about fantasy trips abroad, you’re definitely not alone.

As I concoct my own wishlist for 2017 (coming soon…), I’ve teamed up with villa holiday specialists Villa Plus to look at how to plan the perfect family holiday by working out exactly what kids want from their travels – as well as parents. Because the best holiday is the one you all love!

Holiday essential #1

MINNIE: A pool
A pool tops the list for kids aged five to 11, according to a new survey, and comes in at second place for teens (beaten only by wifi, surprise surprise). If there are cool waterslides, so much the better although the chance to splash happily is usually all younger kids ask for. On our last trip overseas, I think we spent almost as much time in the water as on land, so it’s been a huge bonus having our own private pool on villa holidays rather than trying to snaffle the last sunlounger.

ME: A safe pool
If relaxing tops your list of reasons to travel, a child who can’t swim plus an unfenced pool make that basically impossible. I bob up and down like an anxious meerkat if my daughter so much as thinks about going near the edge, even when she wears her floatsuit. So a villa with a gated pool like these is essential. In fact, an established company that I can rely on is essential – the idea of a holiday disaster or scam with my daughter makes me shudder.

A young girl makes sandcastles on the beach - my daughter loves being beside the sea, whether it's Sussex, Spain or somewhere in the Caribbean and I doubt she's alone when it comes to what kids want from holidays

Holiday essential #2

MINNIE: A beach
Give my daughter some sand and a spade (or if there’s no spade, a stick/plastic teacup will do) and she can happily amuse herself for ages. If we’ve got a bucket and small marine creature figures too, that goes doubles. And rock pools and paddling/running shrieking from the waves are a definite bonus.

ME: Beach and what else?
I do love a good beach – there’s nothing like relaxing to the sound of the waves or wandering along the seafront. But after a while, even chilling out on the sand starts to get a little, well, dull. I need something else to fill my days, whether it’s wandering around a local market, discovering the area’s attractions, exploring a museum or getting a taste of local culture.

So while my daughter might be happy simply staying somewhere near a beach (on the beach, preferably), I’m always looking for a good base to let us do more in our time away. That often means a villa with its own parking if I’ve nerved myself up enough to hire a car or a great location where everything’s on the doorstep.

Holiday essential #3

MINNIE: Ice cream
It is never too cold to stop my daughter wanting ice cream. When it’s hot, I’m fairly certain she could live on ice-cream. Well, if I let her…

An ice cream cone with a flake and the sea in the background - high on my daughter's list of priorities when it comes to thinking about what kids want from holidays

ME: Good food
I love trying the local food, wherever I’m visiting, whether that’s stocking up from local shops or long lazy lunches in the sunshine. As lazy as I can manage with an easily bored small girl anyway. As late nights + my small girl are usually a bad combination, I tend to prefer eating out at lunchtime, then having my own self-catering space for dinner after her bedtime. And I never say no to a barbecue.

Holiday essential #4

MINNIE: Time as a family
In almost all the research I’ve seen, what kids really want from a holiday is to spend time with their parents – pools are lovely, beaches are nice, exploring is great but it’s getting the chance to do it together that’s important. Between work and daily life and all the other stresses of reality, it’s no surprise that the best part of a holiday is having their parents’ attention, free from too many other competing demands.

ME: Time as a family
Seeing my daughter have fun, develop, soak up the world around her, giggle uncontrollably, squeal with glee, explore, learn, make memories – these are just a few of the reasons I love travelling the world with her. For once, it seems, we both agree.



What kids want from holidays - versus their parents. As Boxing Day marks the start of travel planning for 2017 for most families, I've looked at what everyone really wants from their time away - and how to make sure you'll have a family trip that everyone will love


Compiled in association with Villa Plus*

Ice cream image courtesy Pixabay, all other images copyright MummyTravels