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Posted 11-12-2017 by Sally Guillaume
An activity holiday promises lots of fun and adventure en famille and can be the perfect mix of ingredients for precious family bonding and life-long memories.
Getting the balance of activity and relaxation right, choosing the right location and acommodation is just a small part of ensuring a successful holiday.
If you have more than one child then there’s a high chance you’ll know what I’m talking about!
How to please a Barbie loving 7 year old, an adventurous 12 year old and a monosyllabic 15 year old who only knows how to communicate via text is a challenge for even the most creative of families!
We have been running activity holidays for 12 years now and have met hundreds of families with a huge diversity of characters, personalities and ages and thrive off the challenge of keeping everyone happy. We have also learnt a thing or two over the years to help smooth the way and lay the ground work for a successful family activity holiday!
Find Common Denominators
A successful holiday is all about finding common denominators for everyone. This requires a bit of discussion – but that’s great! Discussing is one of the best things to do as a family – even if it does involve a few texts!
Keep in mind that these denominators can also be simple things that don’t require endless reflection: take the climate. There must be a good reason why the whole continent flocks southward every year: everybody likes the sun, everybody loves nice weather! Aim there!
Look for Flexibility and Endorse the Skill of Compromise
It goes without saying that, unless you are all keen hikers, you may not raise general enthusiasm if you present your family with a 5 day, mountain refuge based, hiking trip with no proper shower and (are you kidding?!) no wifi.
As a tour operator, we made flexibility our signature: we give every family activity points with their holiday package that can be exchanged for a wide range of activities. This means that everyone can choose what they want to do.
We recommend letting everyone decide how they would choose to spend their points individually and then compare your lists. There will be some activities that have an overall majority vote and others that only one or two of your family will want to do and that’s where the negotiations start!
The other advantage with this system is that you don’t all have to do the same activities either, so no problem for half your family to go horse riding whilst the other half go mountain biking!
If everyone has participated in the choosing and knows they will get to do at least some of the activities and adventures they voted for, they will find it far easier to compromise on the less attractive activities for them.
You don’t need to worry about the logistics of organising all of this, you just hand it over to us – we are experts and putting together complicated itineraries!
Set Some Holiday Ground Rules and Manage Expectations
Even with all the best planning and organisation in the world, holidays don't always go to plan. There can be disappointments as well as unexpected pleasant surprises and families are families!
The most important thing on holiday is to have a positive attitude, stay open minded and be prepared for new experiences. It may seem like stating the obvious but explaining to your family that you will be discovering a new culture with different food and a different language and that you'll be trying new activities and experiences and that there will be both good and bad things to take away from this will help them prepare. This is all part of the journey of life!
Set some ground rules to try to get everyone in a positive frame of mind.
1. Be open minded when trying something new. Even if you think you won't like it, try to pick one positive thing about it that you might like.
2. Participate fully in activities. If you only half do something you are not really qualified to comment on it!
3. Respect each other and the people you meet on holiday. You are sharing this holiday as a family. If everyone thinks about everyone else in the family rather than just themselves, you will all have a much better time!
Tip to older siblings: Hold your little brother's hand when he is feeling anxious in the safety briefing, encourage your mum when she is pulling out all the stops to combat her fear of heights and laugh at your dad's jokes!
Tip to parents: Give your teenager some free time to wander around the village on his own and be independent.
Tip to younger children: Try to hold back that temper tantrum when something isn't going your way and ask in your cutest and most angelic voice instead. It'll be much funnier and you'll probably get your own way!
And They Holidayed Happily Ever After!!
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