Going on holiday: Is it ever worth it?

Going on holiday isn’t easy. There’s a lot of preparation to do. My husband thinks it’s easy. You just pack your clothes, don’t you? But somebody has to make sure those clothes are washed, dried and ready. And that somebody isn’t him or the kids.

Nobody thinks about the toiletries, the first aid kit, the snacks and drinks to get us through the journey and the first day until we’ve located a shop…

At least it’s easier now than it used to be with babies and toddlers, thank goodness. There’s no nappies and wipes, no high chairs and travel cots. But it’s still a lot of work.

Thankfully, the kids now get their own clothes ready. My daughter meticulously works out enough outfits for every day, matching things up properly. My younger son merely counts out the correct number of T-shirts and pants. He doesn’t even choose his favourites. He just picks the ones at the top of the drawer.

(When we went to Padstow, I learned not to joke about the pants and T-shirts. I said to him ‘Have you packed your pants and T-shirts?’, meaning ‘Have you packed all your things?’. But he didn’t understand that. So he went away with one pair of trousers, one pair of shorts, neither of which were particularly clean, and no running kit. When we were getting ready for Eden Project parkrun, he said ‘Have you got my running things?’. No, I didn’t have his running things, because he was responsible for his own packing. But I had made the schoolgirl error of replacing the word ‘packing’ with ‘pants and Tshirts’ because I thought it was funny. And it just made his forget stuff.)

But you can still be sure I will be getting out of bed in a panic on the night before we set off because I’ve forgotten to pack my daughter’s medication. Or because we don’t have enough biscuits. (You think toddlers need a lot of snacks? Wait until you have teenagers!)

Getting ready for holiday is a bit like getting ready for Christmas. There’s only one person who has any idea how much work it actually takes. And only one person who actually does most of that work. And all of this has to be balanced with an already busy life. I have to work. I have to look after the kids (although with teenagers, that does mainly mean ‘drive them around at a few seconds’ notice’). I have to do the regular chores around the house. Getting ready for holiday is HARD.

Sunset, Nice, France, Silent Sunday, Going on holiday: Is it ever worth it?

Add to this, my general nervousness about holidays and sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. I am a worrier. I worry about travelling. I worry about flying. I worry about not being able to get food and drink when we need them. I worry about people being ill when we are away from home.

My mum doesn’t help. She doesn’t really go on holidays any more and she knows how stressful it can be. She’s the first to say: ‘Is it really worth it?’. Now I know I’m thinking that myself, but having someone else say it doesn’t actually help! It puts me in more of a negative mind frame.

Then when we’ve come home from holiday, there’s all the washing. Five or six loads of it. If we’re lucky, the weather will be good and I can at least get it out on the line. But there’s never going to be room for five or six loads in one day. In the meantime, once we get home, we’re still building up more dirty clothes. And there will be the last few things we wore before we went away too. It can literally take a week to get it all under control. That’s longer than we were actually in Nice for this summer.

But, here’s the thing. Despite my days of stress, it is worth it. It is totally worth it. I might not relax until the flight/ journey is over, we have checked in and our room is stocked with drinks and snacks, but I do relax in the end. When you have busy lives like we do, holidays are really important for unwinding and getting away from reality and just spending time together.

We might have only had two short holidays this year – five nights in Nice and three nights in Padstow, but we really enjoyed them. And, come next year, I will be putting myself through all the stress all over again. Because going on holiday is always worth it.

Padstow, Silent Sunday, Boats, My Sunday Snapshot, Going on holiday: Is it ever worth it?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I hear you loud and clear, but I will say it’s the return from holiday that drains me. It’s ok now I’m not working and the kids have left home but juggling all that with 6 suitcases of mainly dirty washing always fell to me to do and I would resent family holidays knowing the level of work involved when we got home

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    • I totally get that! Nobody seems to have any idea or appreciation of just how hard it is to get on top of the washing.

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  2. I know that feeling that it’s all on one person. N does his own packing usually although i don’t yet trust him so i do check it. He’s pretty good so far. I’ve forgotten my medication so many times. Luckily we only usually go away for 4-5 days so i only miss 3 days of it being out of my system but it’s never long enough to ring them, get them to fax a new prescription to the hotel with a new pick up location. So i do panic sometimes.

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    • That’s good that N packs his own stuff. It’s only fairly recently my younger son has started doing his, although the others have been doing it for longer. It’s lucky that you can manage without your medication for a few days. I’ve never forgotten to take any with me because I always have those panics early in the morning or just after I’ve gone to bed!

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  3. Oh yes holidays are always worth it, and I hear you loud and clear. I am the packer and organiser of everything to do with holidays, and husband has to pack his own things and drive us there. I secretly love it, though don’t tell husband that as I always have a moment of ‘pre-holiday’ stress at some point. Your younger son sounds like Morgan, just packs whatever is the nearest, dirty or clean lol x

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    • It’s good that you love the preparations, I really don’t love them at all! It’s not unusual for me to be yelling at people as we leave the house as my stress has just overwhelmed me. I’m pleased to say that my son does only pack clean stuff! X

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  4. It is worth it in the end isnt it? I now have a packing list for holidays which includes everything that is essential to us, from chargers to batteries to first aid kit to teabags it reduces my stress to a level i can manage!

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    • It’s definitely worth it! A packing list is a very good idea. My daughter keeps a permanent one on her phone. I used to do a new list every time, but now just pack from memory, which is potentially risky!

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      • I have tried from memory and as it is no longer the memory i used to have, i have resorted to one on my computer. I print it off and cross things off when they are done and sorted, it includes turning off the heating/water, emptying coffee maker, locking windows… The last two holidays have been less stressful now that the list is done (and can be added to!)

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        • That is a very good idea. I always panic on the morning we go away about turning various things off and getting rid of any food that will go off! It all adds to the stress…

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  5. When we went away for Christmas I did it all. All the planning, packing, organising train tickets and packing the presents too. My fella did appreciate it and knew I’d worked hard, the kids not so much but it is worth all the stress! Memories were made and fun was had! x

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  6. Totally! Men always think packing for holiday is easy, because they never help! They certainly would if their things weren’t packed! 😉
    Sounds like you have had a wonderful summer, I hope it was cheaper to eat out in Padstow than Nice – your post on how expensive eating out was had pushed Nice to the bottom of my bucket list. :/ Sim x

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  7. The older my kids get, the more I realise how vital they are for ‘regrouping’. We all lead such busy lives and rarely sit in the same room for an hour let alone an evening! I always question whether a holiday is worth it before we go, the stress of travel plans, packing, sorting the house out and pets, is so draining. As you say though, I always conclude that it is. We all need a change of scene I think. xx

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    • That’s exactly how I feel! Getting ready for a holiday is such hard work and I slays have that moment where I question if it’s the right thing to do, but it is so important with a family of teenagers to be able to take that bit of time to unwind and spend time together.

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  8. I can totally relate to this. It is one of the reasons that next year we are going to go to Cornwall or somewhere instead of abroad – as that has even more stresses.

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    • Much as we loved Nice, the extra work was a reminder to us of how much easier it is to go to Cornwall!

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