Taking the whole family away can be an expensive hobby, but it is an important part of family life. When I nostalgically think back to my childhood, the things I remember most are holidays away with my entire family, both in the UK and abroad. My memories are filled with laughter and lots of fun-filled activities with my parents and siblings. Vacations tend to be the perfect stress buster and certainly that is how I remember my childhood trips – they stand out far brighter than school terms, which all blend into one!
Now I am older and have three children of my own, I want to ensure that we get to experience lots of different cultures and create some memories for them to treasure when they are older, but following a long and painful recession trips away are often put on the back burner. We have managed to escape on a couple of short cheap city breaks in the last year, the most recent being to Paris, where we had a fantastic time showing the children all the different sights whilst still keeping to a budget.
To ensure we got the most from our trip we hired cycles to travel around the city… my legs got an extra workout from having the toddler on the back of my bike. We stopped every time something caught our eye, and enjoyed many a coffee and ice cream watching Parisian street entertainers and artists showcasing their work.
The Eiffel Tower was a little out of budget for our trip, and we weren’t sure the children were old enough to appreciate the views from the top, so instead we took a trip to le supermarche, packed up a picnic, and devoured it in front of one of Europe’s most famous icons.
The highlight of our Parisian adventure was a trip to Disneyland Paris – not the most budget friendly, but with three small children it seemed cruel to be so close and not share the magic of Disney. We caught the metro out to the Magic Kingdom and kept it a secret as to what our final destination was. The children were simply overwhelmed by excitement and literally leaped into Disneyland, whooping with delight. The fun continued all day, meeting Princess Aurora – my daughter’s heroine – giving Buzz Lightyear a high five, and hugging the most famous mouse in the world.
We were sensible – ie we avoided the shops and came outside for lunch – but we went on every ride, our favourite being It’s a Small World, which was great fun for the whole family!
We finally staggered back to the hotel that evening following a fantastic firework display, and the children were asleep in our arms as we carried them up the stairs to bed. The next day we headed home, happy that a perfect memory had been created.
Suzie Saw is a professional writer who loves nature, being outdoors, gazing at maps (especially railway maps), & planning her next adventure in distant (& not so distant) lands.