Looking for a family-friendly holiday that appeals to all ages and allows you to truly get away from it all?
Then read on!
Let’s face it, the minute you become a parent relaxing beach holidays can become a thing of the past – at least until they’re old enough to entertain themselves and you don’t need to have eyes in the back of your head.
During the pre-school years it can even feel like there’s no point in splashing out on a ‘big’ family holiday (hence the reason we’ve had staycations for the last few years). Then there’s the age gap factor and the issue of catering for all – we’ve got almost six years between our oldest and youngest and what appeals to one isn’t necessarily going to appeal to the other.
But it is possible to have a family holiday that’s simultaneously an escape, relaxing, and caters for families with children of all ages – and it’s not the sort of holiday you might think.
You might think a sailing holiday isn’t the kind of break you can have with a baby or little ones in tow, but think again. A sailing holiday with kids could be just what you’re looking for – and here’s why.
10 reasons to go on a sailing holiday with kids
1. You can sail with a baby. If you think sailing with a baby sounds bonkers, then read sailor Jessica Lloyd-Mostyn’s story about becoming a mum and sailing around the world with her newborn and then crawling baby. It’s an inspirational tale that breaks down all the boundaries you’d think there might be.
2. It’s not as dangerous as you might think. According to SailChecker.com the rule of thumb is that there should be one spare adult (ie not needed for sailing) for each child not yet old enough to understand danger. After that the ratio of supervision can drop, and once they reach the age in which they can wear proper life jackets (around 10 or 11) standard precautions for any sailing trip apply.
3. Sailing is the chance to bond as a family. When it comes to sailing teamwork is a necessity, and everyone has to work together to make the boat go. So if they fight like cats and dogs on land you may well find they overcome their bickering and become the best of friends when you hit the water.
4. You don’t need to know how to sail. If you’re dipping your toe in the world of sailing for the first time you could book a skippered charter so you can learn the ropes without any of the responsibility. There are lots of destinations where this kind of sailing holiday is available, and you could consider enjoying a yacht charter in Greece, Croatia, Italy or Spain.
5. There’s nowhere to hide. If you’ve got a teen or tween who would rather plug themselves in and stare at a screen a sailing holiday is the perfect opportunity to bring the whole family together and ensure quality family time, whatever their age.
6. It’s educational. As well as the aforementioned teamwork, sailing combines engineering, history, patience, oceanography and ecology all in one go. From learning how to tie knots to fishing from the back of the boat, a sailing holiday is a lesson they won’t get anywhere else.
7. A sailing holiday is the chance to see each other as individuals. When it comes to sailing skills matter more than age, so whether you’re mum and dad or son and daughter at home, when you’re on the water the dynamics change and there’s a sense of equality you just won’t find on a traditional beach holiday.
8. A sailing holiday can work out cheaper than a hotel or villa. And you don’t need any special clothes – lifejackets are provided on all charter yachts.
9. A sailing holiday can bring the family together. When TV presenter and newsreader Fiona Bruce took her teenage kids away on an ‘unconventional’ sailing holiday to Croatia she said it was one of the best holidays they’d ever had – she describes why in a feature in The Telegraph, and it makes for a fascinating read.
10. You can truly get away from it all. Sailing independently means you can see things you won’t see on package holidays or big organised tours: small bays and hidden beaches, destinations not easily reached by land and the opportunity to live life under the stars.
Of course it’s all very well reading about sailing holidays, but what’s it like to actually go on one? I asked some fellow bloggers to share their first-hand experience.
“We went on a water sports focussed holiday with Mark Warner last year,” says Lynn who blogs at Mrs Mummypenny and visited Corsica. “The boys and me got to learn sailing, wind surfing, kayaking and paddle boarding. It was AMAZING. We loved it so much and are going back this year too.” You can read all about Lynn’s adventure here.
And there’s no need to jump straight in at the deep end with a foreign sailing holiday – you could test the water with a day trip at home first. Lianne who blogs at Anklebiters Adventures took her troop on a canal boat on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal and said the experience is one the family will never forget.
“The experience of the canal boat ride for the little ones is just invaluable – they gained so much knowledge and experience from this,” she says. “We loved the sense of adventure and all the questions the little ones were asking about the boat and all that they saw around them. We are already planning our next trip!” You can read all about Lianne’s trip here.
Top tips for sailing & boating with children
- Car carry seats are useful for strapping a baby in when the boat is underway (most airlines allow one car seat free of charge in the hold of a plane).
- Make sure children wear lifejackets at all times when not in the saloon or cockpit.
- Some companies offer child netting as an optional extra, which can offer greater peace of mind.
- Get the largest yacht you can so there’s a larger seating/play area. Catamarans have more space and offer a family-friendly sail.
- Plan plenty of activities. Because although there’s lots to do on board the chances are there are times they’ll get bored just like they do at home.
Have you ever been on a sailing or boating holiday with kids? Where did you go and what was it like? I’d love to hear about your experience!
This is a collaborative post.