Welcome to my very hopeful entry post to become a blog ambassador for Mark Warner holidays. The requirements are to create a mood board with our top 10 travel essentials. When I started thinking about it, all I could think of were the classics – sun cream, passport, book etc., but then it got me thinking outside of the usual travel essentials.
When you’re planning and going on a family holiday, what is it we’re trying to achieve? A tan? Relaxing on the beach with your feet up? Getting away from it all? With three young children some of that’s just not going to happen, however much I want it to. Sometimes you feel like you need a holiday from the holiday once you get home. We strive to give them the perfect experience, a bit of culture, a bit of fun, fantastic food and drink, and somewhere different to stay. It’s sometimes the ordinary little things that make a holiday, those moments that stay with you. A fantastic location, flights, transfers, childcare, food and activities sure would help though.
So what are we trying to do? We’re creating shared memories with our children, ones we can look back on together. There’ll be some they’ll remember more than others, some are just fragments, a swirling mist that will come back to them in snapshots as they grow and change. Some memories we as parents will treasure in years to come. It works both ways you see, we forget that it’s not always about the children, but for us too, this family that we have created feeds our souls and will warm our hearts once they’ve flown the nest.
I have fond memories of holidays as a child, the excitement of planning, getting up early, packing the car up and then the adventure starts. Spending time all together, eating new foods and exploring new and familiar haunts. New clothes in the suitcase and the promise of sun, sand and play.
With those thoughts in mind, here are my nostalgic travel essentials that will still be relevant today:
#1 Travel Sweets in a Tin
When we started a journey, it often began with filling up the car with petrol, and my parents buying travel sweets in a tin. The sight of the sweets would signal the beginning of the adventure, and of course they tasted good and were also an effort to keep the dreaded travel sickness at bay.
#2 A Boat
Some sort of boat always seemed to feature on our holidays, when we were younger we always had a dinghy (inflatable boat) that we took with us to the beach and to days out on the river, when the dinghy came out in the summer, it meant fun times ahead. Later on in my childhood we had a small motorboat that we holidayed in up and down the River Ouse, and still the same dinghy came with us and we used it on the river. Nowadays I have a very small version that we play with and use as a beach store and seat. If I become a Mark Warner ambassador, I’m looking forward to the children and us enjoying sailing tuition and getting our pirate swagger on. This could be us – the reason we’d be looking so relaxed is that there is childcare included, I repeat, we get some child free time to recharge our batteries. Although the whole point is spending time together, who doesn’t love a but of time out here and there, and I know that they’d be well looked after.
#3 The Panda Prize
When we were little my Dad was in charge for a couple of days whilst my Mum had to work, and he had devised the perfect plan to keep us in check – the best behaved child would get The Panda Prize. I have no idea what it was but I remember it was coveted. My Dad tells me it was a token of some sort and a sweet. When it was my brother’s turn he was naughty and didn’t get it! He did get it further on I think but he sure was grumpy when he didn’t get it. I’ve made my own Panda Prize for this year, so I can put this time honoured tradition into practice.
#4 The Cuddly Toy
I can’t help but think of The Generation Game when I say this, but a cuddly toy, or some sort of sentimental item they can take from home will comfort them when they may be feeling anxious in a new environment. I always took a toy with me to share my adventures. My most memorable one was my cabbage patch doll and every photo has the doll in it! I picked a parrot here as we’re hoping to go somewhere exotic, I’m thinking Sardinia would be perfect for us, as it’s somewhere I’ve never been, a culture I’ve never experienced, and would give the children an amazing stack of memories and fun.
I couldn’t not put a camera in, when it’s essential to keeping those memories alive. I have my trusty Canon G7X that I take photos and videos on, and my phone for quick shots on the move. When you get home, photos and videos help keep the magic going and remind you of the happy memories.
Hear me out on this one – it’s more what it represents to me, and family memories. I once spent what felt like an entire family holiday blowing bubbles, then teaching myself how to blow a bubble within a bubble, and two bubbles at once. I still have those skills. This one is about learning new skills, and having that time and space to do them. Whether it’s learning to ride a bike without stabilisers (on my list for William this year), learning to swim, or just gaining confidence in new ways. An activity holiday would be right up our street, as we all love the outdoors and the kids have boundless energy. Although I like the idea of doing nothing, I get bored easily and am always looking for the next challenge.
#7 Daddy Pig
If only we could really take Daddy pig with us, with his unflappable, willing to please nature. And of course, he’s an expert at everything. Whether it’s Daddy, Mummy or someone else, there’s always someone who is the entertainer, the one who can be relied on to sing songs and play games. Especially in the car or on a plane. My Dad used to sing ‘I know an old lady who swallowed a fly,’ over and over to us. He’s recreated it for me in my vlog at the bottom of this post.
#8 Travel games
I remember these little games, when they were cracked out we knew we’d be having fun together playing, so when I found one at a jumble sale I snapped it up, they’re teeny tiny and cute, and can keep everyone entertained if there’s a rainy afternoon, or on quiet evenings.
#9 Busy Bags
When I was a girl they weren’t called this but I love this name, it means the possibilities are endless. I travelled to Israel when I was 7 and flew back alone, my Granny stayed on and I went home as planned. All I had was my activity bag with colouring and games in, which I was thrilled with and didn’t care one bit that I was on my own. Fill a bag for each child personal to them and they’ll take more care of it.
#10 Sick Bag
When I was about 6 or 7, we traveled to the South of France, and one of the days we went on a day trip to Andorra in the French Alps. We had a hire car and the roads were very windy. I think we’d almost made it to the top when I puked everywhere! We hardly did anything when we got there, except buy a cuckoo clock for me, at least that’s all I remember. I loved that cuckoo clock, there was a girl on a swing that went back and forth. It was worth being sick for. Although I’m more keen on a sun holiday, I am tempted by the ski holiday, but I think the extras we’d need would break the bank for us. Just look at the view from the resort Les deux Alpes, fantastic!
Throwback to last summer when I climbed Alpe D’huez in France. Amazing experience it was! This year the ‘Passo Dello Stelvio’ and ‘The Vogezen’ are on the planning! 🚵 #lesdeuxalpes #france #alpesdhuez #vogezen #Passodellostelvio #summer #sunshine #sun #cycling #biking #roadbike #view #racebike #landscape #lake #blueskies #mountain #climbingforlife #cycling #cyclinglife
So there you have it, our top ten nostalgia based travel essentials.
Here’s my vlog of the travel essentials, and an introduction to our family, if you don’t know us. We hope to be showing you our #MWMoment come summer time. Let’s make memories!
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