Gearing up for the family holiday? This’ll sound familiar…
1. It’ll be hectic
So you’re heading off to the sunshine. Excellent. You are picturing yourself reclining poolside in your Agua de Coco swimsuit, idly leafing through a mag and slurping a tequila sunrise. But the reality involves sandcastle building, wave jumping, trekking to the snack bar for an ice lolly and playing that game in the pool where you have to dive for weighted-down objects.
2. The car journey will be challenging
Before you've got as far as the next postcode, "Are we there yet?" and "How much longer?" will be drifting from the back seat, only increasing in frequency and pitch throughout the journey. And you know the minute you’ve passed the service station, with the next one 30 miles down the road, someone will need a wee.
3. The plane journey will be trying
Once the initial excitement of taking off has worn thin (it might buy you 15 minutes), the daunting task of keeping your offspring occupied arrives. Anything longer than two hours and an iPad or similar is highly recommended. Your best bet is to pack out your hand luggage with puzzles, games, cards (and of course the iPad).
4. You’ll be a beach Sherpa
That lovely young couple in the apartment next door are skipping off with a string bag containing sunscreen and a book, while you're staggering around with a holdall-sized beach bag bulging with towels, buckets and spades, armbands, hats and spare clothes; a cool box with enough food and drinks to feed an army; parasols; body boards and lilos (inflated). You won’t need a book. And actually, you’ll have a lot more fun.
5. The sun will take over your life
The vast majority of your holiday will be spent slathering sunscreen on kids, pleading with them to wear a hat (and then sneaking it on when they’re busy), and worrying that they ‘look a bit pink’. All-in-one UV suits are an absolute godsend as they drastically cut down skin exposure (and slathering time) and you’d be foolish to ignore them.
6. Sand will win
You won’t rub sunscreen on the kids – you’ll sandpaper them. Ice creams will be dropped in sand, melon slices will be coated in it and it will almost certainly get in someone’s eye. When you get back from the beach, you’ll empty half of it on the bathroom floor. And you’ll probably discover some in your handbag when you get home too.
7. You’ll have loads of fun
Yes, you’ll need to lie down a lot when you get home, but you can guarantee you’ll have had fun galore and have made some priceless family memories.