Get­aways be­come child’s play

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel - Sarah Bryden-Brown

YOU’VE packed away the por­ta­ble cot, you’ve not bought a packet of Dri Nights since Christ­mas and your youngest can now pour milk on their own ce­real, spilling only half of it. Con­grat­u­la­tions, you are of­fi­cially ready for a fam­ily hol­i­day, the kind that re­ally is one for all and all for one.

Save the five stars for the re­ward chart at home: a rus­tic beach house or car­a­van by the lake will thrill the kids far more than maid ser­vice, which they no doubt have al­ready.

Even in the mid­dle of win­ter a beach-house hol­i­day is an ad­ven­ture. It means a lit­tle more rug­ging up than is re­quired in sum­mer, but the rates will be cheaper and it’s still a marvel to comb the rock­pools in a beanie, scarf and gum­boots, be­fore re­turn­ing to an open fire, toasted marsh­mal­lows, hot choco­late and a game or 12 of Uno. Make a plan PLAN­NING a fam­ily hol­i­day can be a lot like plan­ning din­ner. You may think it is quicker and eas­ier if you make all the de­ci­sions, but in­clud­ing chil­dren in the plan­ning process helps avoid sulks and will buy you an af­ter­noon to in­dulge in win­dow shop­ping or a nice nap. Let each per­son choose one thing they want to do on the hol­i­day and make it a rule that ev­ery­one joins in. Freddy may well de­cide he wants to go out for a break­fast of ice cream, but then you can al­ways sug­gest a walk along the beach in the af­ter­noon. Where to go LY­ING around a pool that for­bids ‘‘ bombies’’ is never go­ing to work if you’ve got boys. Nei­ther is re­mote camp­ing if you’ve a girl who likes to dress up for break­fast. Pick a place that in­cor­po­rates at least one as­pect of your child’s in­ter­est. It could be a city with an awe­some di­nosaur ex­hi­bi­tion, or a dol­phin sanc­tu­ary. Be ac­tive YOU may not be up for a day that be­gins with a hike, moves on to snorkelling, horse rid­ing, golf, ten­nis, archery and fin­ishes with wa­ter aer­o­bics, but you can bet your chil­dren will be. An ac­tive hol­i­day will sus­tain a child’s in­ter­est, and re­sorts such as Club Med have plenty of the above on of­fer. Check the age re­quire­ments for or­gan­ised ac­tiv­i­ties and kids’ club pro­grams be­fore you book. One hol­i­day: one des­ti­na­tion KIDS may seem like they are al­ways on the move but when it comes to a hol­i­day they are home­bod­ies. Pick a place and make it your home for the whole trip. Whether it’s camp­ing or trav­el­ling to Paris, mov­ing the kids around can dim the sparkle of be­ing on hol­i­day. For them it’s sim­ply tir­ing and bor­ing. Get to know your new lo­cale and en­joy the dis­cov­er­ies that come with spend­ing more than a cou­ple of days in a new city or town. Ho­tel hap­pi­ness IF your get­away re­quires a ho­tel room, in­vest in two rooms with in­ter­con­nect­ing doors. It’s your home away from home and you’ll find you spend more time in there than planned. Shar­ing one room with more than a part­ner and a por­ta­ble cot will never be a hol­i­day. It also gives you and your part­ner time alone, where you can pre­tend you don’t know that the kids are watch­ing pay-per-view movies un­til mid­night, drop­ping bis­cuit crumbs in their beds and fall­ing asleep with their shoes on. And that’s what is called a hol­i­day. Sarah Bryden-Brown is the ed­i­tor of

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