It’s hard to find a holiday suitable for three teenagers. The interests of a 13-year-old girl are very different from those of an 18-year-old boy. But we finally settled on a holiday to Nice in the south of France. Of course I’d seen Nice online, but still didn’t really know what to expect.
What we found was a beautiful city. Nice is stunning. The bay stretches forever and the sea is so blue. There’s lots of lovely old buildings. The views are incredible wherever you look. It was a brilliant choice for a holiday and I’m very glad we chose it.
We had a really good time. But taking teenagers away from home still doesn’t stop them being teenagers.
They still argued, disagreed and were nasty to each other. There was even a small fight between the boys which led to a phone screen being broken.
They all wanted to do different things – in my daughter’s case all the expensive, unrealistic things. So we planned the night before what we wanted to do the next day, and were then undermined by teenage sleep requirements. Because while the will to do things was there, the sleep didn’t really allow it.
It’s a scientific fact that teenagers need to sleep longer in the morning. Somehow they overcome this on school days, because they have to. But they won’t do it on holiday. We managed to get the younger two up and out around 9am some days, but one day my eldest wasn’t up until nearly 12. The rest of us had been out for short walks, but we hadn’t done any of the things we’d planned to do, because it didn’t seem fair to go off without him.
My eldest also had a habit of going off on his own little missions to buy food or souvenirs, without arranging where to meet us afterwards – and without being contactable by phone. So he would go back to the hotel assuming we would be there, when we were actually walking by the beach, or he would head back to the restaurant when we would be back at the hotel.
You would think the teenage sleep patterns would perfectly fit the Mediterranean lifestyle of getting up late and going to bed late. But my daughter was still keen to get to bed around 10pm every night and my younger son wanted to get back to the room around 9pm so he could have his nightly gaming and social media session.
Add to this my own difficulties with sleep – I could go to bed at 10.30 or 12.30, but I would still wake up at 5.45 (4.45 UK time) – and we didn’t manage to do half the things we’d intended to do.
We also had the high cost of activities and going out to contend with (I will write about that in a separate post).
We’re a family of pale-skinned Brits. We’ve never been to a hot country in the middle of summer before. My daughter dreamed of going somewhere hot where she could sit by a pool or on the beach all day. It turns out most of us can’t cope with the heat. Despite being fully coated in suncream, wearing a hat, wearing minimal clothing and drinking a lot, my daughter ended up with a headache every afternoon. But she still absolutely loved it in Nice and didn’t want to go home to the rain and cold.
We all started to get acclimatised to the heat after a few days. For us, it was so strange to be on holiday and not wear a jumper or a pair of trousers even once. Even though we got through a lot of clothes from being so hot and sweaty, the actual space our washing took up in the case was negligible because it was just T-shirts, vest tops and underwear.
In short, I’m very happy we chose to go to Nice for our summer holiday and I would definitely recommend it. We enjoyed our holiday and will have lasting memories of it. Going on holiday with teenagers isn’t going to miraculously change them into something they’re not. But I would much rather go on holiday and work around their behaviour quirks than not go at all.
When you’ve got three teenagers, it always makes sense to lower your expectations slightly!
I will write about things to do in Nice in a separate post.