As I sit at my desk with my thick, fluffy socks on, there is a part of me that is aching for some warmer weather. For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you’re probably aware that I used to live abroad, and when I did, I complained about the heat all the time. But now that I’m settled back in the UK, there is always a part of me on these dreary days that longs for a bit of the Mediterranean sunshine.
Today I wanted to talk about planning your first family holiday and all the things that you should consider before booking your break away in the sunshine!
Jack and I both used to live in Spain(it’s where we met!) and Barcelona is my favourite city in the world. I can only speak for myself here but there is always a part of me that misses it out there. So it’s a no brainier that Spain is high up on my list of places to visit as a family.
So, deciding where to go is easy for us, but where to stay? I’ve been looking at Spanish rentals that we can self cater in, as with a small child it’s just a hell of a lot easier if we are able to prepare and cook our own food. Even if you’re not travelling with a child, it’s always nice to have the option to cook for yourselves on some of the evenings, rather than heading out to a restaurant every night, no?
When to go. Depending on where in the world it is you’ve decided you’d like to visit, you’ll need to consider the climate. Spain follows the same seasons as us here in the UK but their summer is much hotter than ours. The average temperature in Barcelona in August is 24°C and here in the UK it’s 18°C, whereas the average temperature in Barcelona in October is 18°C and our average is 11°C. So if you’re not sure you can cope with the summer heat at it’s highest, you can still expect some lovely weather later on in the year(and some cheaper deals too!).
Even the winter(December-February) in Spain has averages of over 10°C so the chances are you’ll still be allowing yourself some Spanish sun, even if you chose to travel out of season. If you’re planning a holiday with a newborn or very young baby, this may be the wiser option as you may struggle to keep your baby cool if the temperature is in the high twenties.
Of course, those are just averages, so if you are considering travelling to Spain in August, you should be prepared for temperatures of up to 30°C and warmer. Which brings me onto my next point
What to pack. Be prepared is pretty much entire parenting motto, but more so when we’re travelling far away from home. Even if we’re travelling within the UK, I like to make sure that when it comes to our 11 month old that we are prepared for all possibilities. Things like sun cream, sun hats and swimming gear are a given if you’re off abroad in the summer, but an umbrella, a buggy cover and some shoes other than sandals are certainly a good idea too.
If you’re travelling with a younger baby that is formula fed, it’s wise to take more formula and sterilising solution than you anticipate you’ll use, as you may not be able to get the specific formula for your baby in another country. The same goes for any medication you might keep for your baby, things like Calpol are of course just infant paracetamol but it’s wise to have your regular brand on hand, just in case your little one was to react differently to another brand that you might purchase whilst away on your holiday.
What will we eat? That is always a top priority question for me when we’re off on an adventure. The main reason is because Jack and I are vegan and we love food, and although veganism is becoming more and more “mainstream” so to speak, we can often find ourselves caught out in a restaurant that doesn’t cater to our dietary choices, so researching where we will be eating and where we can buy our own fresh bits of food is a must!
If you or anyone in your family has an allergy or intolerance, it’s probably worth researching where you will be able to pick something from a menu easily and if you’re going to a foreign country, you could learn the name of, or write in your phone, your intolerance in their language, especially if you’re going somewhere that isn’t a top tourist spot as it’s likely you may struggle to find someone that speaks English if you’re travelling to the back of beyond.
What to see? This is probably my favourite part of the holiday planning, the sight seeing! If you’re travelling to Barcelona then there are so many wonderful places to see! Las Ramblas is one of my favourite stops, it’s a 1.2k stretch of cafes, restaurants and shops. You’re sure to find something for everyone here I promise! There is also the Sagrada Familia which is a beautiful Gaudi designed landmark church, along with the Park Guell which is filled with buildings and sculptures also designed by Gaudi.
Depending on the age of your children, that might not interest them all that much, so it’s worth looking into something a bit more fun for them too. There is a gigantic aquarium right in the centre of Barcelona which will be fun for all the family for sure!
With websites like Pinterest around, you won’t be stuck for ideas on what to do in whatever city you choose to visit! A simple search of “Things to do in Barcelona” will bring you thousands of results! You can always check Trip Adviser for the top attractions too.
So, with all that in mind, will you be planning your first family holiday this year? Is Spain on your “to visit” list? Maybe you’ve already made your holiday plans for 2018, if you have, I’d love to hear what you’re getting up to! What would you say is the biggest thing to consider when planning your first family holiday?
*This post is sponsored by Luxury Retreats, however all words, photos and opinions are my own. You can read my full disclaimer here.