Embarking on a new adventure with your family in tow could be considered one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether you’re just travelling with the kids or you’ve invited your whole extended family along, you’re guaranteed to have plenty of laughs and create some everlasting memories.
So we wondered, how do families view the concept of luxury travel? The answer to this is always going to be subjective, but we at Best at Travel are curious as to how relative it is when, er, relatives are involved. Does it still depend on what stage you’re at in life? Do some define it by the location? Or the level of service received? To gather viewpoints from a selection of well-travelled parenting and lifestyle bloggers, we asked, ‘what does luxury mean to you?‘
Keeping the whole family happy on holiday:
First off, something that resonated across the responses was the importance of making sure everyone in the family was happy. Trying to achieve this is one thing, but pulling it off is a luxury that can take a holiday from great to fantastic.
“When we travel together, the greatest luxury for me is those moments when everyone in the family is happy.” said Gretta Schifano of Mums Do Travel.
Achieving this is a matter of balancing everyone’s needs – which is trickier than it sounds. However, if you find a welcoming family resort that caters to everyone’s needs, you’re onto a winner. As Gretta pointed out, the key is finding resorts that cater to you both as individuals and as a family. By having a selection of pastimes for everyone to choose from, you can make sure every family member enjoys themselves – and there are bound to be some activities that you’ll love doing together, as well as separately.
Sally from My Custard Pie explained; “It’s not that your own wants and needs play second fiddle, but you know that if your children are happy, then you are much more likely to have an enjoyable time.”
Of course, keeping the whole family happy includes keeping yourself happy too. If you’ve got little ones with you, finding things to do that they’ll love will lead to you being able to truly relax.
Travelling with tots and teens:
Cathy of Mummy Travels revealed that before she was a mum, the greatest luxury of all was simply the ability to see the world. Since gaining a daughter though, her perception of luxury has changed, and as a lot of travelling parents may find, it has continued to change as her family grows older. When a member of your party is a baby, toddler or young child, something as seemingly simple as having a separate room for them to stay in can be a great luxury. Being able to wine, dine and relax just next door or out on the balcony without waking up the kids means you can really enjoy a little ‘you’ time, whether you’re on your own or in the company of your partner or friends.
Caring staff that lift the strain can certainly help in this area too, particularly with younger children. Sally recalled a relaxing stay at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai, where the luxury levels shot up thanks to attentive staff members who were happy to keep her little ones busy.
She states; “The dancers in the Argentinian restaurant were happy for the girls to join them on the dance floor until sleep overtook them and they crashed out on the plush carpet behind our table, leaving us to enjoy adult conversation for the rest of the evening.”
For older kids, it’s great to stay somewhere with activities that they can engage in on their own, if they prefer (hello, teenage years). A great tip from Gretta is also to get older offspring involved at the idea stage, before even booking the holiday. If everyone’s happy with the choice of holiday, luxurious harmony awaits:
“Older children and teenagers are learning how to be independent and aren’t used to spending all day with their parents and siblings. So when we travel as a family these days I try to ensure that everyone in the family is involved in planning our trip so that we can all enjoy it.”
Making discoveries together:
The excitement of travelling to new and exciting places can increase tenfold when you can witness the gleeful reactions of your children day after day. Sally recalled a trip to the spellbinding Petra in Jordan;
“The children were happy to collect Nabataean pottery shards from the ground, pretend they were on a Tolkien adventure climbing the winding, rocky staircases, peer into dark caves and finally hop on a donkey for the ride home.”
Seeing your kids’ imaginations run free while they discover some of the most magical corners of the world, all while you are able to take in these wonders for yourself? Luxury family travel in its truest form, surely.
Family time versus you time:
Something we heard across the board was that time is a luxury. Now, the idea of time on a family holiday can be twofold. Firstly, there’s the time spent with the kids. Just engaging in normal holiday activities with your family by your side is what makes up those golden years before the kids fly the nest, and when you return to busy day-to-day life back at home, it often becomes clear that these days spent together were a luxury, whether you’re exploring Walt Disney World or staying at an idyllic resort in the Maldives.
Secondly, there’s having time to yourself – undoubtedly a great luxury for any parent. “I’ve never spent my precious travels sunbathing for hours, but thirty minutes reading a book on a lounger as [my daughter] naps? That’s luxury. A kids’ club so she has fun and I get some ‘me time’ is a recipe for bliss.” says Cathy.
Of course, it all comes back to the kids being happy and enjoying themselves, but it can’t be denied that a little peace and quiet while on holiday is an indulgence that most parents covet. As well as kids’ clubs, there are plenty of family-friendly hotels across the globe with excellent facilities for children, as well as superior babysitting services, so you can kick back while the kids still have the time of their lives.
Families who travel – the conclusion:
Ultimately, we discovered that if the family is happy and enjoying themselves, the bloggers we chatted to consider themselves to be experiencing the height of luxury. Here’s our summary of the top three traits that make the ultimate luxury family holiday:
– Smiles on all faces
– Both solitary and family time
– Fantastic facilities for families
Tick all three of these and you’re onto a luxurious winner of a holiday. Now all you have to do is decide where to go.