A Grand Adventure January 27th, 2013
The people at MoneySupermarket.com have asked bloggers to dream up their idea of a Grand Adventure, to give people lots of ideas for a low cost holiday.
When I first saw this, I dreamed up all kinds of lovely places that I would like to go. I used to travel a lot when I was single and childless and there are quite a few more big adventures that I would love to have before I finally hand in my passport.
And yet, in my current life phase (married with children aged 8 and 10), what we really want from a holiday, is somewhere much more simple and straightforward. All we really ask for is a fun journey to get to where we are going, a comfortable place to stay, lots of activities for the children, entertainment in the evenings and a choice of self catering or restaurants available for the few meals when you just want a bit of a treat.
Last year we went to a holiday village in Brittany. We love travelling in the car, on the ferry and having a bit of an adventure en route. the children like being ‘abroad’, learning a few words of a foreign language and trying new foods and experiences. Mobile home camping is perfect for us – a fun journey,simple but comfortable accommodation and everything the children could wish for on tap.
But camping, for us, would not be a Grand Adventure. That has become our vision of a normal holiday.
If I was going to take the children out of their comfort zone a bit and take them on a holiday that would be a real adventure for them, I would love to take them backpacking round Europe for a couple of weeks, or even a month. The rules of the Grand Adventure say that our travel would be paid for, so I would buy us all an InterRail pass, and plan the journey so that we would quite often be sleeping on the trains, to cut down on accommodation needs elsewhere. The children love sleeping on ferries – this would make the journey as exciting as the destination for them.
The idea of the Grand Adventure is that we take spending money of £1,000 and try and make it go as far as possible. So what sort of things would we do to make the money go further?
- Firstly accommodation. I would go for the most budget accommodation possible – hostels or very cheap bed and breakfast places, found using a site like Hostelworld. Each hostel would be for one or two nights tops, so no real comfort would be needed. I would pick destinations (I’m thinking Italy, Austria, Switzerland) where the weather is almost guaranteed to be nice. The hostel would just be for sleeping in as we would be out all day.
- We would pack extremely extremely light. Each person would have two or three outfits maximum, a jumper and cagoule. Most of the time we would carry our luggage and have very little luggage storage requirements.
- Food: A lot of fresh fruit and bread and cheese from street markets in the towns that we visited. If we are in bed and breakfast accommodation, we would stock up at breakfast time, have a very small lunch from a market or roadside stall, then eat again at dinner time in a small local cafe.
- In each country we would seek out local food – eat what the locals are eating – baguettes in France, paninis in Italy and so on. All washed down with plenty of bottled water (with maybe a carafe or two of the local vino in the evenings for the grown ups).
- For entertainment we would mostly be looking for cultural experiences. Museums, monuments, and places of interest, perhaps a festival or two if we plan it properly. The Interrail pass offers discounts to many places of interest, for example the Vatican and Sistine Chapel in Rome. Add in a couple of beaches here and there – all things that can be seen and experienced for very little cost. With a camera and a good pair of walking shoes we can capture sunrises and sunsets, interesting architecture,and who knows what else…
- Of course with children there is a need for downtime. You can’t walk around and do culture all day. Children tire easily, and do need to be taken indoors in the cool from time to time, especially in the heat of the day. Also they will need some time to process what they have seen and heard and experienced. As a family we are experts as this kind of thing. We all have our gadgets – ipad, iphone and trusty old pen and paper. In moments of downtime we can retire to a cafe with aircon and wifi, look at our photos,write diaries, read books preloaded onto the kindle app and play games. In the evenings at the hostel we can play cards or maybe take a board game along.
And that, in a nutshell would be our Grand Adventure. My daughter would love it because of the sights and the culture, and seeing lots of different countries,soaking up the atmosphere, trying the language. My son would love the food and the different forms of transport. Both of them would enjoy the variety, and although I’m sure some of them might get tired and grumpy in parts there should be plenty to excite them, with a new surprise every day.
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 27th, 2013 at 10:05 pm and is filed under - Competitions, - Holiday Time, - Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.