Have a Happy and Stress-Free Holiday

Have a Happy and Stress-Free Holiday

Read about the author Samantha Evans

Being on holiday means that everyone steps away from their usual routines of daily life, which for many people is a prerequisite to relax and unwind. Both sexes may find this hard to do but for many women it can be more difficult.

Who prepares for your holiday?

Going on holiday takes planning and preparation, most of which tends to be done by women, which can be stressful. Getting to your destination may lead to conflict during the journey between children and couples, and it is not a holiday if you have just swapped one location to cook, clean and take care of children all day for another, one which is in unfamiliar surroundings too! Some women don’t cook at all on holiday to have a break but this isn’t always an option as it can be expensive.

Forgetting to take some essentials can create arguments, all of which are stressful and don’t lend themselves well to staring your holiday in a good mood.

Make meals easy

If self catering, take basic essentials with you to keep you going until you can get to a supermarket. When preparing food on holiday, get everyone to help and make easy food such as pasta, salads and tapas style food.

The change in climate and location can have an impact upon your appetite so do not get too hung upon everyone eating what they normally eat. Let your children create their own dishes from an array of healthy foods that they can snack on. They’re on holiday so why shouldn’t they eat tomatoes and melon on a piece of pitta bread? You may find that they try foods they have always refused at home but gobble down whilst on holiday.

I have to take a cake of some variety when we go away so we have something to eat when we get there, but we don’t buy the food that we normally eat at home: we try different food from the local area.

Buying food from the butcher, farmers’ market or deli enables you to find out more about the area you are staying in, boosts the local economy and helps support independent suppliers growing their own produce. It generally tastes better too, tends to cost less than the supermarket and has travelled very few food miles, thus being environmentally friendly.

Stand away from your iPhone!

I love going away to a place where there is little or poor internet connection. The feeling of being out of contact from every day life can be liberating. Being away from home can mean we are able to disconnect ourselves from devices, emails and social media if we want to. It enables families and couples to reconnect. Handheld gaming devices and tablets are useful for long journeys, but usage should be limited on holiday. Allowing your children half an hour on their electronic device of choice each day gives you the bargaining power to say “We’re going out for the day,” which allows the whole family to enjoy their time together.

Fond Memories

Many adults and children have fond memories of what they did on holiday which stay with them for many years, if not their whole lives. My children love reminiscing about the holiday where I got attacked by seagulls on the beach whilst eating fish and chips and they constantly refer to the size and taste of the ice creams we had for lunch one year. No ice cream has beaten that experience yet!

Use your imagination for free

Children’s lives are so crammed full of activities such as sports, after school clubs, drama lessons and music lessons that parents often feel if they aren’t paying to entertain their children or filling their holiday time with activities, they are somehow failing them – but in my experience, children will find their own entertainment and use their imagination to create a fantasy world of magic and make believe.

Many parents feel the need to take their children to far flung places just to say they have been to Dubai or Antigua. They spend hours on flights or travelling to their destination and then spend their holiday stuck in one resort rather than going out to discover the real country they have travelled to. Often, these countries are so hot, they are unable to venture from their hotel room until late afternoon, therefore having to entertain their children all day.

The simplest of things can be fun and cheap. Fossil hunting on the beach can while away many hours and uncover wonderful finds which are taken to school for show and share or building a secret den in the woods can open up a world of possibilities.

My children’s favourite holiday was on a farm in Northumbria where they helped to deliver lambs. It was cold, wet and very muddy but they loved it. This may not be everyone’s idea of fun but it is a memory they have to share with their children.

Being in a different place means they can explore. Finding that funny looking fish in the nearby brook, building the biggest dam ever, creating a secret den and getting stuck in an enormous tree by climbing too high will leave a lasting memory rather than the expensive piece of plastic bought at the local theme park which breaks after a few hours of playing with it… Getting wet and dirty is all part of the fun and important to children’s play.

What parents want from their holiday

Holidays can offer the perfect mix of extra time and relaxation which should make it easier to enjoy sex and intimacy. A recent survey of 1000 parents of children under five found that 30% wanted to disappear to their room to have sex, 30% wanted to share a dinner for two and 30% wanted time alone by the pool. Other parents wanted to catch up on their reading or sleeping or visit attractions which would be of no interest to their offspring.

Crèches, babysitting services and organised activity groups are excellent services and can free up some time to allow couples to enjoy time alone together. You can create opportunities to catch up on sleep by sharing the care with your partner: they can get up with your children if they don’t sleep in, or take a nap when they do in the afternoon after a busy morning on the beach or in the pool. Parents of teenagers often find that their children don’t emerge from their bed until late morning, therefore affording them ample opportunity to enjoy morning sex(article).

Even if money is in short supply, a short break can offer a few days of rest and relaxation.

Stay vacation

Stay at home but act like you are on holiday. Many of us live near local attractions such as museums, theatres, parks and swimming pools that we never usually have time to enjoy. Look out for offers from attractions as many places offer reduced admission prices if booked in advance. Rather than take the car, try getting there by train: it can be cheap as they often have family deals and this can be the highlight of the trip for small children. It is a more relaxing way to travel too. Taking a picnic can cut down on costs or eat out using vouchers from loyalty cards. A stay vacation can be easier than going away because you’re in familiar surroundings but not tied to your usual routine.

Short break

Just getting away for a few days can refresh and revitalise your relationship with your partner or children. Many places offer deals on short breaks and luxury hotels can be snapped up for a fraction of the costs as they prefer to have their rooms occupied. Try last minute bookings too if you can be flexible as you may be able to get discounts on cancellations. Camping is a cheap option, especially if the weather is dry.

Stay and go holiday

Stay at home for a few days, then take a 4-5 day break. Enjoy the weekend at home with your family before taking off for a few days, then enjoy the following weekend at home prior to returning back to work or your daily routine. This can provide the best of both worlds and be more economical than a full week away. Travelling mid week is often cheaper than at weekends and many places offer cheaper rates midweek to fill their rooms. You never know, you you could end up staying in the lap of luxury just by going during the week.

Whatever you do or wherever you go, just relax and have a fabulous time with your partner or family.