This blog post is my entry to the Mark Warner Blogger Ambassador Programme
For the 4th year running, the holiday company Mark Warner is inviting UK based parent bloggers to apply for their Family Ambassador Programme, and become a #MarkWarnerMum or #MarkWarnerDad! As you can imagine, competition for the five coveted spots is fierce, but to be in with a chance of being selected, bloggers should share their ‘top 10 travel must haves’.
I have certain holiday must haves myself – from my noise cancelling headphones for the plane to a small bottle of concentrated squash for my son who dislikes fizzy drinks and fruit juices, but when I really thought about my absolute essentials – what must be present without fail to have the BEST HOLIDAY EVER, well this would be tied up in emotions. Yes, you read me right – emotions, feelings, sentiments. The stuff you can’t pack but you do carry around all day. My top 10 travel must haves are feelings. Thoughts not things. For me it’s all about the moments.
Fortunately moments are those intangibles that Mark Warner values too. Their popular hashtag #MWmoment has been participated in hundreds of thousands of times on social media from holidaymakers sharing their hot dog legs; their family on skis; their delicious looking cakes; sunsets; bike rides; scenery; swimming pools and practically everything else you can imagine when you close your eyes and dream of holiday. I’ve enjoyed moments like these on our previous family holidays. These are the memories that keep me warm when it is cold outside. The flashbacks that catch me unaware when I see my children in an exchange like a whisper they think I don’t notice that transports me back to the closeness I was honoured to observe on our last family holiday.
So my top 10 holiday must have emotions for an amazing family vaycay are as follows:
We love each other of course, but the love should also extend to our surroundings. To be in a destination that we have anticipated and looked forward to for months, to feel the sand under our toes, the warmth on our skin. I love being in chic surroundings, a tastefully decorated hotel or a charmingly rustic hideaway. If the setting is great (and ‘Instagrammable’ – important for me!) then the holiday is too.
The elation we feel at that moment when we are strapped in the seat, the engines are roaring and the momentum building then the plane gently lifts the front wheels off the tarmac. Then I get another wave of excitement when we touch down and the doors open, and I feel the warmth of the sun for the first time – which is more often than not, much warmer than at home when we left. There are many moments of excitement on holiday, these moments are just for the journey!
On holiday all our senses are stimulated. Our taste buds try something new, we feel the roughness of the sand grains on our bodies and the smell of my favourite coconut sun lotion! All I need to do is get a whiff and I’m immediately on vacation! New sounds, new sights, we drink it all in when we are away from the usual routine.
Did you hear that? No? That’ll be the peace then! The soothing sounds of the ocean waves gently caressing the shore. The faint murmur of muffled voices in the distance. The sound of a bird flapping its wings as it soars overhead, beautiful ambient sounds that you can close your eyes and enjoy hearing, whilst your mind wanders to what you may or may not do next… or choose to eat next!
Speaking of what to eat next, satisfaction is an emotion that must be included on any great holiday. Happy with your surroundings, tick. The kids are entertained, tick. And the food! The food is a big deal for ultimate satisfaction. Imagine the best meal you ever ate. How it felt to chew it then wash it down with the best drink you ever drank! The feeling of how your belly felt once the plate was devoured, that faintly tired but comfortably full feeling that lends itself to the remainder of the day spent leisurely daydreaming.
Being with these three people is what counts for me. Time spent together as a family enjoying each other’s company, carefully balanced with each person’s need for their own solitude. My daughter loves to make new friends on holiday and will enjoy having a few hours to herself in the day to get to know her new buddy. Now she’s over 13 she has Facebook and has managed to cast her net wide with friends all over the world, all met on holiday. My son enjoys a kids club but won’t disappear forever – he still likes to be close and know that we are there. But for the time he will go off and make friends, hubby and I use that chance to enjoy a kid free drink and some conversation!
All our emotions are heightened when we are away. Do you find that too? It gives us renewed enthusiasm for life – waking and having a simple cup of coffee seems to offer a richness of experience than the same act at home. When I’m away I want to dance, to lounge, to dream and to savour. Passion seeps into everything, and it stays with me beyond the holiday too. I love the saying ‘live like you mean it’. This how I live everyday on holiday.
Thrill seeking helps make those stand out memories on holiday and I usually like the thrill part of the trip to come in at the mid point when we have had chance to rest and recuperate a bit! After a few lazy days, doing a fun activity or visiting a theme park adds flavour to the break and wakes us up a bit to enjoy the rest of the time we have left!
When we have the time and space to dream, read and chill, inspiration usually follows. Without the daily routine to worry about, I find that I have the energy to make decisions about the future, whether career focused or domestically. After our last holiday we decide to redecorate our bedroom at home, creating a lovely space to relax in!
The ultimate outcome of a family holiday. I want to see smiles on the kids’ faces and my husband’s brow to relax and to look less tired. I take care of them all when we are home with the daily routine, and on holiday, I get to have the necessaries like cooking and cleaning done for me so I too get to rest. Seeing my family all chilled out and ready to face the world again makes me happy too.
Here’s a Pinterest mood-board to share my top 10 holiday must have emotions for an amazing family vaycay.
My family and I love travel and visiting new destinations. When I looked into my babies’ eyes as newborns, I promised them the world. Through our family moments on holiday, we are giving it to them.
What are your special moments on a family holiday? Let me know in the comments!