As the men-children get older, holidays become increasingly challenging. Not surprisingly, their idea of a good time is not one or two weeks spent with Mum and Dad and their younger sister. Of course the incentive of an exotic destination can hold a fair bit of sway naturally!
As we planned out our holidays this year, a couple of key considerations came into play:
- The men-children are now in Year 10. Gone are the days you can take them out of school to travel in off-peak times, something we regularly did when they were in primary school. Their younger sister on the other hand is only in Grade 3.
- The men-children want to spend NYE with friends this year. You would recall our decision last year to have the boys in Sydney over New Years for a family holiday – I don’t think we were too popular, but hey, shit happens.
- The holiday destination of choice for the boys is the Victorian coast over summer. That part of the coast that is the most expensive beach side real estate in Australia, and that seemingly 4 million Melburnians flock to in order to queue for coffee, the newspaper, car spaces etc. Aaargh!
- A family trip flying anywhere on the East Coast of Australia remains relatively cheap, but contemplate the West, or outside Australia, and the airfares alone set us back at least $6,000 and that’s before we’ve even set foot in another country.
- Both boys had a week in Perth for the rowing national championships recently (part holiday, part sport), and one just returned from the Tiwi islands following a school footy trip (again part holiday, part sport). They haven’t exactly missed out on much have they?
So as we set about planning, a few realisations planted some seeds that led to a possible solution. Father of a Man-Child and I travelled to Bali a few years back for his 50th. We had a week there (without children) and it was quite frankly a brilliant holiday. We’d love to take the kids back to Bali, but one look at the cost of airfares during the school holidays (a mere 250% increase on the “off-peak” fares) and that idea was out.
We also looked at the cost of renting a house in said popular beach destination, and discovered that we would pay at least $3,500 per week for a house in the area we wanted that could accommodate us and a few extras. That’s $7,000 to be an hour from Melbourne, and spend your holiday with a gazillion other people. Yikes! I had to laugh, as one of the Men-Children also did some of his own web surfing to find some suitable properties. He found a stunning place, with pool, divine deck, great house, and a good price he thought. Yes, that is a good price – $2,000. PER NIGHT!!!! Like I said, we’re not talking cheap here.
So the solution you ask? Well we presented it to the boys the other night. We explained the options, the cost considerations, and the proposed approach. And they agreed. We would take Sister of a Man-Child to Bali with us for a week, during school term. A short break for us during the depths of winter, at an affordable price (me trying desperately not to get too excited in front of them). And yes we will do plenty of shopping for them – we all love a good fake! Then two weeks at the beach over summer, in a house large enough to cater to their friends staying also, and over NYE (I shudder at the thought) so they can be where it’s all happening. Fair enough we thought. We get one holiday designed for us, they get one holiday designed for them.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I would love to take the boys to Bali, but the cost is just prohibitive, we can’t afford to do it all, and they need to understand that money does not grow on trees, and that you can’t have everything you want when you want it. So tell me, is that fair? Have we done the right thing? I know it will only be two years before they are 18 and they can travel where they want, but I guarantee a free holiday (especially overseas) will still hold appeal to a cash-strapped student so who knows what we might plan or afford in the next few years?
In the meantime, I can plan our little Bali trip with glee, and then start looking for a bargain holiday house. Maybe the boys will learn what the words “beach shack” actually mean? LOL. Or there’s always the caravan park, but one year when I mentioned that as an option, the look of utter disbelief from one of them was enough to make my hair curl. Yep, spoilt!
We did survive our trip to Sydney last year with the boys over New Years – but not without some angst, as you can read here in Teenage Torture Techniques.
You can also read about the “Best Holiday Ever” with the boys at Hamilton Island last year, proving you can still have fun with teenagers.