summer holiday pinterest imageWe’re in the midst of summer holiday planning here. After years of deciding against travelling at the most popular and most expensive time of year, we are finally caving and planning a summer getaway.

Normally we try to travel in winter as it is less busy and more affordable. While you don’t always get to swim or enjoy sunny weather by the beach in July there are usually many other benefits that offset that small inconvenience. Like tariffs being cheaper and accommodation more readily available.

However the kids don’t see things in quite the same way – and they are ready and raring to swim and enjoy the magic of everything that summer has to offer.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like we never have holidays in summer. It’s just we tend to save up for them and make them real occasions while we try to go away each and every winter.

For instance, a few years back we travelled to Melbourne in January (with the in-laws and gastro in tow!). Despite our questionable health, the kids loved the trams and enjoyed exploring St Kilda and it’s surrounds.

Last January we travelled to New Zealand as a family and it was a real eye opener for us. It proved that we could take the kids overseas. It showed us that we could “do” holiday crowds. And it illustrated how much fun it can be to travel when the weather is warm and the holidays long.

Buoyed by our success, we came back determined to take more family trips. Unfortunately, apart from a brief long weekend away just before Easter, we haven’t followed through on that commitment so far this year.

So with one more holiday period remaining for 2014 we have no other choice than to bite the bullet and join the summer holiday crowd.

I have been busy looking through online listings as well as checking out numerous pet friendly accommodation sites. I have to admit the dogs have been a bit of complication – together with our natural abhorrence at paying through the nose just because it’s January and our preference for a bit of breathing room for our family.

I’m still busily comparing listings but here are some of the features we are looking for and why:

  • Self-contained accommodation. I do not want to add to our costs and do takeaway every night. Besides, Nathan and I are very limited in what takeaway we can have due to our coeliac disease so it is much safer and cheaper for us to find somewhere that has cooking facilities so we can prepare our own gluten free meals.
  • Space to move for the kids. Regardless of whether we do take our pets with us, we always look for accommodation that has a yard or playground facilities for the kids. That’s why we really like caravan parks – there is always space to explore and activities to keep the kids occupied.
  • Easy access to the beach. If we are doing a summer holiday, we are going to do a proper summer holiday. We are hopeless – if there is a beach more than a block away we will rarely go there. We live only 20 mins away from beaches now and we only visit them a couple of times a year. So close proximity to the beach is a must for us.
  • Proper sleeping arrangements for five. Four is the magic number in accommodation world. If you only have four people, the world’s your oyster. For those of us who had that extra child “for the country” (thanks Peter Costello ;)) it can be a little trickier. I’m ideally looking for something that doesn’t involve one of the kids sleeping on the same lounge that we want to watch TV on at night…
  • Value for money. I have been horrifed at some of the prices being asked. I get that it is the busiest time of the year but it grates on me that I have to pay SO MUCH MORE for the privilege of staying in a location in January. I have to get over that feeling of being royally rorted but it is also very important for me to see that we are getting value for our hard earned money.

I will keep you posted with our holiday planning. In the meantime, if you have any summer holiday planning tips, feel free to throw them our way!

So, what do you look for in holiday accommodation?

Joining in with Jess for #IBOT.