Best and Worst Holidays – Life And The Great Outdoors

In today’s Best and Worst Holidays guest post, we hear from Kelsey who blogs at Life and the Great Outdoors, who is sharing with us her best holiday as a couple. Best and Worst Holidays - Life and the Great Outdoors

Best Holiday as a Couple

Are you looking for somewhere awesome to take your family this year? Let me tell you why you should be heading to Rome this year. 

My best holiday so far to date has to be when my husband and I went to Rome. He wasn’t my husband back then but little did I know this would be the holiday where he would propose to me. 

So, a bit of backstory. We had been going out for about 9 years at this point but had never had a holiday just the two of us somewhere abroad. It was our first holiday booking and planning everything ourselves. So, this is another reason why it was so special. I booked everything separately as I wanted to save as much money as well. Instead of heading to a travel agent, I learned everything I could about Rome and booked it all online. I’m going to let you into the secrets of how to find places cheaper and what we did while we were there.

Best and Worst Holidays - Life and the Great Outdoors
The stunning Colosseum in Rome.

How did you plan?

To start off with I used Google, I Googled about Rome, what the best places to see were. The best places to stay, best places to eat and how long to stay for. I found TripAdvisor, I know late to the show, and discovered that you could book activities through this website. We picked a company called City Wonders, we used them for a Colosseum and The Forum walking tour and to skip the line at the Vatican.

I then used booking.com to find the hotel. I love booking.com, you can book a hotel anywhere in the world and they will generally come with breakfast included. And you can get free cancellations until the day before, this is great if you find the price cheaper as you can cancel and re-book without an issue. I have saved over £100 doing it this way. 

To find flights I used Skyscanner. If you have never used it before it is a good website because it shows you which flights from your chosen airport are cheaper and what times they fly in and out. It’s a great money saver, another website you can use is Kayak but I haven’t found it as good as Skyscanner yet. 

Rome is great for transport; the train takes you from the airport to the inner city. I recommend flying in and out of Fiumicino airport. The train station is right at the airport and it costs about $12 per person. When you’re in the centre of Rome you can walk everywhere. Nothing is too far awhile and the hotels stock nice sightseeing maps that you can have for free. Best and Worst Holidays - Life and the Great Outdoors

 What did you do when you were there?

We stayed a total of 3 days. We arrived early on the 1st day and left late on the 3rd. 

Day 1

The first day, my husband proposed to me at the Trevi Fountain, read my blog post on how he proposed to me, it was beautiful, may I add. We then visited the Pantheon, which was free, ate pizza, had ice cream and walked around exploring the whole city, the Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona. 

Best and Worst Holidays - Life and the Great Outdoors
Enjoying Italian pizza in Rome.

Day 2

The second day we went to the Colosseum and The Forum. We took a walking tour with City Wonders, as mentioned early. You basically meet up with a guide, who gives you headphones and she tells you the amazing things about the place you’re visiting while walking you around. This is suitable for children too, as you can wander around the area they are in and still be able to listen to her speaking. The Forum was beautiful and at the end of the tour, we could go back to the Forum on our own if we wanted. It was the middle of August so this day we had a tropical storm. It only lasted about an hour, but it was the most amazing experience. To experience hot rain is very surreal. 

We then ate more pizza, had pasta, Italian wine, went shopping and bathed in the beautiful afternoon sun. 

Best and Worst Holidays - Life and the Great Outdoors
Experiencing hot rain in Rome in August. Or not!

Day 3

On day 3 we went to the Vatican, we ended up getting the underground to this, as it’s just outside of the centre but the tickets are very cheap and we ended up walking back anyway. The City Wonders ticket was great because you met a guide outside of the Vatican with a group of other tourists, they take you in through the skip the line entrance, and then you are left to explore by yourself. You can book guides but we wanted to explore by ourselves for this one. The Vatican is beautiful, so many works of art!

Just outside of The Vatican is St. Peters Basilica, this is free to enter but there is always a massive queue. The queue goes down quickly but we didn’t really want to queue just in case we missed our flight. So, we took pictures, got some lunch and strolled back to the hotel.

Best and Worst Holidays - Life and the Great Outdoors
Skipping the queue and just taking pictures at the Vatican City.

It was then time to head back home. I was very upset to go home as it was such an amazing holiday. It was the middle of August so was very hot, but after the first day, you get used to the temperature. Some people say to not go in August as it can get very busy with tourists, but we didn’t find that it was busy, it was less crowded than London.  We have a reason to go again as we didn’t get to go inside St. Peters Basilica. 

I really hope that you consider Rome for going on your next holiday. Do some research before you go to get the most out of your trip and you will never forget it. 

Kelsey: Let me know if you’ve ever been to Rome or are considering going, I would love to hear your experiences.Best and Worst Holidays - Life and the Great Outdoors

Thanks so much to Kelsey for sharing her best holiday as a couple. BattleDad and I visited Rome one February and it was amazing. We can’t wait to bring BattleKid there one day.

Kelsey is from the UK and blogs at Life and the Great Outdoors as mentioned. It is a blog focusing on lifestyle, travel and home. Kelsey also adds her dog Ava in when she can. She is quite a newbie blogger but is loving having a little space on the internet where she can write her experiences. You can subscribe to her blog and also find her on Twitter and Pinterest.

And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at bm@battlemum.com.Best and Worst Holidays - Life and the Great Outdoors. Kelsey from Life and the Great Outdoors shares her best holiday as a couple in this instalment of my Best and Worst Holidays Series.

 

Best and Worst Holidays – The Winnettes

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Kirsty from Winnettes to tell us all about her family’s best and worst holidays. Welcome Kirsty.

Our Best & Worst Family Holidays

Over the years we have been pretty lucky with our holidays. Generally we haven’t had any disasters and certainly even our worst wouldn’t feature on “Holidays from Hell”. I think for us the worst is simply the worst because the best was beyond comparison. I’ll start with the worst and then you can tell me if I am simply being an unreasonable, unrealistic, posh tart.

Worst Holiday – Family Village Spain

We booked this Worst holiday last minute, well with 6 weeks to go. We couldn’t really afford to go away, we had moved earlier in the year, Ellie was only 18 months old and I was pregnant, so our money was being spent on baby stuff. But Hubby got in a commission payment and we decided we would treat ourselves…. On the cheap. We went in October so the weather was touch and go, and in fact it rained more than it was sunny. This is, of course, not the resorts fault and it wasn’t exactly unexpected. On a side note why do people mention the poor weather in Trip Advisor reviews? As if anyone could have done something about it?

The Rooms

The room was actually not too bad. It had a little clean kitchenette and a huge bathroom. We could access the balcony from our bedroom which was great as we could put Ellie to sleep in the travel cot and then spend the evening sat on the balcony over looking the sea. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? Can you feel a but coming?

But…..

This holiday really wasn’t for us. You could tell it was a budget resort. The buffet restaurant was clean but the food was disgusting. Honestly I can eat nicer food at the local kebab shop that has a hygiene rating of 1. The Al a Carte restaurants were marginally better but also extortionately priced. We ventured out to the local town on a couple of evenings where we enjoyed much better food and atmosphere.

However this was a couple of miles down the road which meant we needed a taxi. Trust me I would have walked if I could. I have always found the European taxi drivers to drive in a manor I describe as lunacy. But add my precious toddler and baby bump into the mix and those taxi rides are etched into my brain for life!

The pools were big but freezing… FREEZING! And there was always a class or group using it. Best and Worst Holidays - Winnette

This resort has actually been on TV since, on a program about all inclusive holidays, which was filmed during peak season and it looked even more horrendous.

Not all of it was bad and we made the best of it but it has put us off ever going to a Family Village again, which is a shame because they are brilliantly kitted out for kids.

Best Holiday – Sani

Ok so this is going to be disproportionate as this is a luxury holiday. And I mean Luxury! We went to Sani for our 30th Birthdays and we saved up hard for this trip. It was meant to be a once in a lifetime holiday and it really was.

The Rooms

We managed to get a large 2 bedroom suite that over looked the resort and sea (in fact it is the room they use in their brochures, or at least it used to be). There was a huge living area and both big bedrooms were ensuite.

Best and Worst Holidays - Winnette
The amazing room Kirsty and her family had in Sani.

The Resort

The resort was set over 4 areas, Sani Beach, Asterias Suites, Porto Village and Marina, and the Sani Club. They have since added a fifth area called Sani Dunes…. I really want to see this! There were over 20 restaurants over the whole resort and you could eat in all of them. Some were included in our half board package and some weren’t but we could pay. We were well aware of this though so it wasn’t an issue.

The food was to die for! I don’t remember us having a bad meal once and there was even a patisserie for all my sweet tooth needs. And along with the food was the service! Honestly the Greeks know how to do 5* service. We didn’t lift a finger. There was bar and food service around the pool and on the beach. If we wanted something all we had to do was ask. Beach towels are provided and if we got ours too sandy then new ones would appear! Drinks empty… New ones are on their way.

Best and Worst Holidays - Winnette
The Beautiful Sani Resort

The Kids Club

One of the appeals was the kids club and we weren’t disappointed. We booked the girls in for a couple of sessions as Ellie (aged 3 at the time) was quite timid and generally didn’t like to go to clubs. Well, she came out after the first session and asked to go back for more…. We quickly obliged and got her and Trixie booked in for a few more sessions.

The Only Downside…

As with everything there is a downside and it can be a big one…. Money. Because there is no option for all inclusive there is always going to be something to pay. Whilst this does mean you don’t have to walk around wearing different coloured bands, you do need to be careful. Our system to over come this was to go to reception every morning and pay off our bill. And thank goodness we did.

We really didn’t want to be too mindful of what we were ordering, it was supposed to be a luxury holiday after all, but as we were there for 2 weeks and we did have a limit to our funds, we thought this was our best option. It was. Everyday we would go down to pay and everyday there was at least one mistake on the bill. This is not an issue when you only have 24 hours to remember, but as everyone around us was paying their checkout bill you could see the blood rush from their face as they were met with their final amounts. And of course no one could remember if they really had had everything listed.Best and Worst Holidays - Life and the Great Outdoors

Thanks so much to Kirsty for sharing her tales of their best and worst holidays to date. It’s a shame the Holiday Village wasn’t great. But Sani sounds absoutely amazing. No wonder you’ve chosen to share that as yous best holiday to date. I want to go now after reading your glowing report!

Kirsty, who blogs at Winnettes as mentioned, is a mum of two daughters, Ellie and Trixie. They are based in Surrey and she enjoys baking and crafts. Kirsty blogs for motherhood therapy and write about various things that take her fancy. She often includes recipes on her blog as it would be rude not to share some of their delicious creations. Kirsty can also be found on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at bm@battlemum.com.Best and Worst Holidays - Life and the Great Outdoors. Kelsey from Life and the Great Outdoors shares her best holiday as a couple in this instalment of my Best and Worst Holidays Series.

 

 

 

Best and Worst Holidays – Busy Mum Lifestyle

Some people are lucky enough to only have great holidays. They are the fortunate ones who have good holidays and don’t have bad ones. They are few and far between. And one of those lucky people are today’s guest blogger in my Best and Worst Holidays Series on the blog. Rosie from Busy Mum Lifestyle is sharing with her their best holiday to date. Best and Worst Holidays - Busy Mum Lifestyle

My Best Holiday – Kefalonia

My partner has always been a huge fan of Kefalonia – a small island just off Greece – but having an only child we’ve always opted for places with stacks of entertainment, disco’s and kids clubs.

However last year I relented, and we booked two weeks in Lourdas, a tiny resort with just a handful of shops and restaurants. Fourteen nights with an 11-year-old boy and no water parks, kids clubs or entertainment felt like a holiday-disaster waiting to happen – but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Best and Worst Holidays - Busy Mum Lifestyle
Smiles all round!

We arrived at the tiny Kefalonia Airport and were swiftly transported to our also tiny hotel with its 20 rooms. I was convinced I was going spent the whole holiday hearing ‘Mum I’m bored’!

Because the hotel was so small we got to know our fellow-holiday makers pretty quickly and in turn the pack of Brit kids, aged between 5 and 15, quickly bonded over football and swimming.

Best and Worst Holidays - Busy Mum Lifestyle
The holiday kids together

With a pool, somewhere to play football, a beach and a sprinkling of shops, there was plenty to do for children at the older end.

For parents it really is a fantastic place; the scenery alone is breath-taking. White sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water; we could have been on a Caribbean Island.

The Greek people do not disappoint, they were absolutely lovely where ever we went and welcomed children with open arms.

For the first time ever we tried self-catering and we’re so glad we did; the food was absolutely to die for. We didn’t have a bad meal in any restaurant. If you like an authentic holiday experience it really is the place to go – we didn’t see any ‘Brits abroad’ type restaurants, it was all Greek. They were also happy to cater for children with pizza’s and chips.

Best and Worst Holidays - Busy Mum Lifestyle
The Greek food Rosie and her family enjoyed during their best holiday

The only draw-back I would say was the cost – it was easily the most expensive holiday we have ever been. Opting for self-catering added on even more. A decent meal out with drinks and desserts typically cost us between forty and fifty euros for three of us. Also with younger children you might want a bit more entertainment. All our hotel organised was a Greek night once a week – enough for us, but others might want more.

I would heartily recommend Kefalonia; the food, scenery and people were all equally wonderful. We will definitely go back – we just need to start saving!

Things to do:

  • Visit the capital of Kefalonia – Argostoli and see the turtles. They are usually out at 10am around the lagoon.
  • Take a trip to the Rabola Winery – it’s a small place so children won’t get bored but great for parents to look around and you can take some wine home.
  • The Melissoni Lake and Drogarati caves are great to look around but at the height of the season expect the queue for a while.

Where to eat:

  • Aphrodite’s, Lourdas Stunning location overlooking the sea – the food was wonderful (huge prawns) and the staff were super-friendly.
  • Olive Lounge, Lourdas Simply the nicest moussaka I’ve ever had – great place, lovely location. 

Best and Worst Holidays - Busy Mum Lifestyle

Thanks so much to Rosie for sharing her best holiday. Greece is one place BattleDad and I haven’t visited together and by the sounds of things, Kefalonia should be on our to-do list. 

Rosie Cook is a former journalist who now works in PR and blogs about health, fitness and family life at Busy Mum Lifestyle. She lives next to the Yorkshire Moors with son Harry, partner Stuart and two naughty Basset Hounds Darcey and Dexter. Rosie can also be found on Twitter and Instagram.

And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at bm@battlemum.com.

Best and Worst Holidays - Busy Mum Lifestyle. Today on the blog I have the pleasure of welcoming Rosie from Busy Mum Lifestyle blog to share her family's best holiday to date.

 

Best and Worst Holidays – Pondering Parenthood

As BattleKid and I travel around the southern half of Ireland on our road trip, in what I hope will be one of our best holidays, I have the pleasure of having another guest blogger on the blog. This time in my Best and Worst Holidays Series I have a little something different. Julie from Pondering Parenthood is sharing with us her best and worst holidays as a couple. Over to you Julie.

Best And Worst Holidays Pondering Parenthood

Best and Worst Holidays as a Couple

The best and worst holidays I’ve ever been can be covered by one trip! It has to be my last holiday abroad; my honeymoon. We spent three nights in Dubai, followed by nine nights in Mauritius. We’d never visited either place before. My husband and I love to travel and experience new places, and while we were only planning to visit Mauritius for our honeymoon, when we realised it would actually be cheaper to visit Dubai on the way for a stopover, our decision to visit both places was quickly made!

Dubai is the strangest place. As it’s such a new city, it lacks any kind of history really. We did visit the old city and souks as part of a day trip, but to be honest it didn’t appeal to us. I think because it was too fast-paced and far too hot to be able to walk around and explore properly. Our hotel suite was beautiful, but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to return. We felt too trapped by having to stay indoors with the air conditioning!

The other thing that put a dampener on our stay in Dubai was that the food in the buffet-style restaurant wasn’t labelled very well, so I inadvertently ate a salad that I thought was labelled gluten free, but actually contained gluten. This was a bit of a disaster for my poor digestive system for several days, even after we’d arrived in Mauritius, so perhaps that’s another reason why I don’t think of Dubai particularly fondly!

On to Mauritius though, and what I would say is the best holiday I’ve ever had. We stayed in at a beautiful spa resort, with private villas in gardens that were right next to the beach. I don’t like the weather to be too hot, so Mauritius was a welcome change from Dubai, as we visited in August, when the temperature was a fairly steady 23ºC.

Best And Worst Holidays Pondering Parenthood
Their resort on Mauritius sounds amazing

We’d received excellent advice on where to stay from our travel agent at Kuoni as, when we hired a car to explore the island, we discovered that different parts of Mauritius actually have their own micro-climate. So it could be throwing it down with rain on one part of the island, but beautifully dry and sunny in another part, just a 45 minute drive away. Fortunately, our resort was in the sunny part, and we never saw a drop of rain there!

Mauritius was everything that we wanted our honeymoon to be. We stumbled upon a tour guide and arranged a private tour with him – he rode around on his moped and we followed in our hire car. I don’t remember how much it cost but for the amazing amount we learned and saw that day, it was well worth it! He took us to a beautiful Hindu temple, where we received blessings from a priest; to a model-making workshop where they make the most intricately detailed model boats; to an amazing café where all the Mauritian taxi drivers go for ‘proper’ Mauritian food; and to a range of beautiful natural landmarks that we’d never have been able to find without his local knowledge. It really was a magical day!

Best And Worst Holidays Pondering Parenthood
Receiving a blessing during their guided tour

The resort itself was beautiful too, with a lovely spa. I enjoyed a reiki session and we also had a couples’ massage. The rest of the spa facilities were free to use whenever you liked, and surprisingly whenever we visited we had the place to ourselves, which was great.

The story couldn’t have been more different to Dubai regarding my dietary requirements, either. I think the resort chef took it as his own personal challenge to spoil me and had a butler deliver handmade gluten free treats to my room daily! Little touches like this just made the whole stay so special. We’d definitely go back to Mauritius again in the future!Best And Worst Holidays Pondering Parenthood

Thanks so much to Julie for sharing her story with us. Wow, it’s not often you read about the one holiday being both the best and worst someone has had. I’m glad Mauritius was the best part as I’d love to visit one day. 

Julie is a primary teacher, and parenting and lifestyle blogger at Pondering Parenthood. and is based in Norwich. She lives with her husband and daughter, M (with another on the way!) and writes about their lives together as well as play and learning activities for toddlers, honest product reviews and days out. She can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at bm@battlemum.com.Best And Worst Holidays Pondering Parenthood - When your best and worst holiday happened to be the same one!

 

 

 

 

Best and Worst Holidays – Travelling With Our Kids

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming Sam from Travelling With Our Kids to the blog to tell us about their best and worst holidays. Over to you, Sam.

Best and Worst Holidays Travelling With Our Kids

Best Family Holiday

We have had many great family holidays since our boys were born, but if I had to choose one, then our recent cycling holiday along the River Danube would be my choice. Flying into Vienna, we spent one night in Vienna before catching the train to Passau. We then spent our afternoon collecting our rental bikes and looking around Passau. The next day we set off from Passau along cycle paths and quiet roads back towards Vienna. We cycled for 7 days to get to Vienna with the maximum distance being about 25 miles.Best and Worst Holidays Travelling With Our Kids

Each day had different things to see and do, which meant we could take our time and stop when needed. Some days we cycled in 30 degree heat which was rather hot. Other days we had rain, but the weather didn’t stop us enjoying the holiday. Places we visited included Melk Abbey, Linz Old Town, and Krems. During the day, if we wanted to cross to the other side of the river, we could either cross by bridge or catch one of the ferry boats. Our boys loved these boats and they varied in size from fitting maybe 20 people to big car boats.Best and Worst Holidays Travelling With Our Kids

Our youngest son was in a bike trailer which I pulled along behind me, while my husband had our eldest son on a tag-along. Personally, I think my husband pulled the easy straw, but he wouldn’t agree! Ha!

Our cycling holiday really gave us a different experience to a family holiday. Seeing the country from a bike was really fun. Both our boys loved getting up each morning and heading off on the rental bikes. We made up silly games to keep them entertained, stopped along the way to go to the park. As we had a bike trailer for our youngest son, it meant he could still have his afternoon nap. The cycle path also made it family friendly as you knew the boys were safe.Best and Worst Holidays Travelling With Our Kids

We can’t wait to go on another cycling holiday in the future. Hopefully our youngest can go on a tag-along next time and do some cycling for himself!

Worst Family Holiday

Our worst family holiday was probably our first family holiday together. Not so much for it being rubbish but because our lives had been turned upside down not long before. Roughly 4 weeks before we were meant to go on our first holiday, my older brother suddenly passed away from a stroke. In the weeks leading up to the holiday we had to plan his funeral and make changes to our holiday (my older brother and younger brother were meant to fly to America, so all this had to be cancelled etc). I was also suffering from PND which wasn’t helped with the sudden loss of my brother.Best and Worst Holidays Travelling With Our Kids

We had decided not to cancel our holiday, as we thought it would be good to escape for a while and try and begin to make sense of what had happened. Both sets of parents and also my younger brother were also with us. Each day was a major struggle emotion wise, and trying to enjoy the sights was rather tough.

About half way through the holiday our eldest son, who was 16 weeks old at the time, became ill. The hotel we were staying in phoned a local doctor who spoke no English to come see us. He gave us a prescription and told us the name of the town that had a 24-hour pharmacy. So, while I looked after a screaming baby, my husband and father drove to the pharmacy to collect the medicine.Best and Worst Holidays Travelling With Our Kids

We didn’t really know what it was going to do but put our trust in the doctor. Roughly 20 mins after giving our eldest his medicine his screaming stopped, and he eventually fell asleep. By the morning he was back to his usual self!Best and Worst Holidays Travelling With Our Kids

 Overall, we all really enjoyed the holiday and would love to go back and explore again. It was just the circumstances around the holiday that made it for us the worst holiday we have been on.Best and Worst Holidays Travelling With Our Kids

Thanks to Sam for sharing her best and worst holidays. I had never considered a family cycling holiday but it sounds like fun. I am sorry to hear about the passing of your older brother. You can read all about their cycling trip along the Danube on her blog, as well as their road trip in Austria and Germany.

Sam is a family travel blogger, based in Scotland. They love getting out and exploring new places whether it be at home or abroad. From cycling to hiking, they like to see places from a different viewpoint as they go. Please check out Sam’s blog, Travelling with Our Kids. You can also find Sam on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at bm@battlemum.com.Best and Worst Holidays Travelling With Our Kids - In today's guest post, Sam from Travelling With Our Kids shares their best and worst holidays with their kids. The best is a bit of a surprise!