10 things every family holiday will involve

Jul 28,0106

The British family holiday is a thing of wonder, and something that most of look forward to all year round. But is it the sun and sandcastles that stick in your mind, or the endless hours spent in traffic jams on tiny coastal roads? We've compiled a list of 10 family holiday inevitabilities - those things that every family holiday just wouldn't be the same without. So grab your tin of boiled sweets, crack open your flask of tea and read on to see if any of these sound familiar…

Travelling in your pyjamas

The stuff that dreams are made of. Leaving the house in the morning for school is usually a monumental effort of scrubbing faces, wolfing down cereal, wriggling into uniforms and shoes and piling out the door. The joy of being allowed to travel in your pyjamas instead is an experience like no other. Throw a sleeping bag and your favourite toys into the mix and the perfect holiday adventure has begun.

Are we nearly there yet?

Of course the joy of quiet, preoccupied children is often short-lived for mum and dad - never more so than when this particular question is ominously raised from the back seat. Statistics will show that this is usually followed by such family favourites as I'm bored, I want to go home and Johnny's done a wee.

Erecting the tent

Camping holidays deserve a list of their own, and there are often times when you find yourself wishing you'd instead booked yourself into our Copthorne Hotel at Gatwick Airport before jetting off the next day for a fully-catered holiday by the Mediterranean. Having said that, a holiday under canvas has all kinds of wondrous charm to offer as your family gets up close to nature. There's just the small task of erecting the tent first. On a good day, you'll get to do that in the sunshine, with all the poles and pegs all neatly labelled as the kids wait patiently. On a bad day, well…

Driving on the wrong side of the road

It doesn't matter how many times dad has driven on the continent before, or how successfully he navigated the journey all the way from St Malo to La Rochelle at the start of the holiday. All it takes is a quick trip to the épicerie before shouts of Dad! Mind that tractor! are bellowed at your beleaguered driver, who then gently steers over to the right as if nothing ever happened. Smooth work, dad.

Dad's dodgy French

Speaking of dad's smooth work while abroad, nothing induces a face to the palm from embarrassed teenage children more than his attempts to use the local lingo. From telling the Spanish waiter that his seafood paella was très fantastique to asking Do you hire bicycles? in English with a cod-French accent, you can always rely on dad to do his bit for foreign relations.

Mum's bottomless beach bag

The family holiday is when mum's Mary Poppins tendencies go into overdrive courtesy of her amazing beach bag. Whatever it is that you need to make the most of the seaside, you can guarantee she's got it in there. A full range of sun lotion in varying factors goes without saying, but then there's also Susan's sun hat and dad's e-reader too. Not to mention four neatly sliced ham and cheese baguettes (all individually wrapped), an orchards-worth of fruit, tissues, wet-wipes and more.

Reserving the sun-bed

Nothing brings out the competitive spirit of parents abroad more than the early morning race for the sunbeds. While the kids are still sound asleep, mums and dads throughout the hotel gather their towels and head to the pool to claim their sun-loungers. As pre-breakfast holiday rituals go, it's captivating stuff.

Get digging

No family trip to the beach would be complete without a bucket and spade. However, a patch of sand is a veritable blank canvas for many dads, who won't be satisfied until they've dug out a foot-deep moat to surround the thirteen-turreted palace they've built for you.

T-shirt tans

There's always that holiday where, as a family, you chose the hottest day of the year to wander around a castle or local town. The result is a family of happy holidaymakers, all sporting matching t-shirt tans and looking like the Neapolitan ice cream served up for dessert in the restaurant that evening.

Great memories

One thing that all family holidays have in common is the amount of happy memories they leave you with for years to come. It's a chance for mums and dads everywhere to properly relax and unwind away from work and enjoy some quality time with the kids, while for those children it's a magical adventure in the sunshine filled with excitement.

Whatever you get up to this summer, have a memorable time.

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