Downtime with the family is very important. Yes, we are in the midst of a pandemic but getting away together to relax, recover and reconnect is essential, especially for the kids who were stuck behind a screen for the last year. But how can we safely give the kids a good time on a budget? Well, when you have 4 children like me, an all-inclusive stay can be very expensive. So, opting for a villa with a pool/beach and a playground can be a great cost-effective alternative. This week I am therefore delighted to share some of the main lessons and takeaways from our recent all girls trip to St. Ann!
Opting for a villa can give you a longer stay for the budget you have so consider that option carefully. A 2-night stay at an all inclusive could probably pay for a 5-night stay at a villa which is very compelling, especially for the kids who just want to stay in the pool/beach all day! Of course, the main downside is having to preparing meals for the kids when you are also trying to have a break yourself. But that brings me to my next point – preplanning!
Thoroughly pre-planning your vacation is important when staying at a villa. Plan each meal and the ingredients required so that no one will starve, and you won’t feel like a maid! Of course, easy meals like burgers, hot dogs, cereal, ramen, icicles, yogurt or ice-cream are par for the course and are options kids can prepare for themselves (depending on their age). You can also plan a day when you will eat out together and another day for cooking a nutritious balanced meal.
Preplanning must also include a schedule of the places you will go and the costs. Although our villa had a beach and pool, we added other places to the vacay schedule including Puerto Seco Beach, Green Grotto Caves, Mainland China Restaurant & Ocho Rios Jerk Centre. I asked the girls which part of the week was their favourite. While they all admit that each venue had its own fun and charm, the caves were the most interesting! Imagine that! I guess it’s because they learnt that bat poop (which covered several sections of the caves) can be explosive! I am not joking. Big up to the tour guide and all the courteous friendly staff at Green Grotto! Of course, my bigger girls also really enjoyed the floating water park at Puerto Seco!
Finally, after the vacation with the kids, also plan a day or two for you as the parent/s to unwind without them. Yes, we love our kids dearly, but solitude and adult time are also important for your own rejuvenation.
How are you planning to spend the rest of August? Back to school (whatever that looks like) is around the corner, so please make the few remaining weeks count!
Shelly-Ann Harris is the Editorial Director of Family & Faith Magazine.
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