Our Top 10 Essentials for Great Family Holidays

#MarkWarnerMum Top 10 Travel EssentialsI wrote this post on our top 10 essentials for great family holidays as part of a Mark Warner competition. Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but the post remains as true and relevant now as it did when I wrote it.

When it comes to family holidays, I think there are some essential ingredients that really make a family holiday and these are ours. As long as we have these 10 elements, I know we’ll have a great time.

Mauritius Hotel#1 Family-Friendly Hotel

It all starts with the perfect family hotel. Nothing is more important when you have two little ones than a good hotel that you are happy to spend as much time in it, as you are out of it.

Our holidays these days are all about the kids, although mum and dad want to have a good time too and that means staying somewhere that caters for families in every sense of the word.

That means great hotel and room design that is as easy to use as it is to look at, and tasty food that is as nutritious as it is impressive. It means beach foraging activities for the kids and couples massages for mum and dad. It means feeling like you are in a home away from home.

Mauritius fun with hotel staff#2 Attentive Staff

There is nothing that makes me happier when I’m on holiday than when I see the hotel staff talking to our little ones with genuine interest and delight, and treating them like the special little guests that they are.

It’s what makes a hotel a great place to stay and makes you want to come back before you’ve even left which is exactly what we found during our stay at the Lux Belle Mare in Mauritius.

Mauritius poolside snap#3 Perfect Pools

For me, a great holiday is a beach holiday and that usually has to involve a swimming pool or two to jump into and lounge around at. There is a lot less lounging since we’ve had the little ones, but we still manage a fair bit of splashing, although its usually in the baby pool these days. But as long as our hotel has a great pool then we’re a very happy family.

Mauritius family snap#4 Family

Five or so years ago a perfect holiday was to someplace far-flung and exotic, usually with friends. These days a perfect holiday is no less exotic, or necessarily closer (although it is far easier) but it is always with family. My little tribe.

There is something rather special and magical about travelling once you have children of your own. Suddenly looking at the world through another lens. Theirs. The excitement of taking them somewhere for the first time, of showing them something for the first time, of them trying something new for the first time.

Mauritius beach snap#5 Beautiful Beaches

For me, a holiday would not be a holiday without a beach. Which is why when we very occasionally go on city breaks, they don’t quite feel like a holiday.

They always feel like they are missing something and it’s probably a beach. I love nothing more than lying on a sunny beach abroad, although much like the swimming pool, it rarely happens these days.

Whilst we may visit a beach when we are on holiday, there is no guarantee anyone is going to be lying on it, especially when your three-year-old is still scared of the sand. But I am hoping that one day I’ll get to lie back on that beach. Eventually.

Mauritius food by pool#6 Yummy Food

Good food is such an essential. Even more so now that we have a little family. Not only do we need food that appeals to us, the type of gluttonous food that you wouldn’t eat every day at home (because we all like to let loose a little on holiday right), but also food that appeals to the teeny tiny palates of little ones.

I want options and I want choices, and I want things that are authentic. But I also want things that I could eat at home as we did at the Lopesan Baobab Hotel. Basically, I want the world.

#7 Ice Cream

A holiday would not be a holiday without oodles and oodles of ice cream. I’m not sure how much more there is to say about ice cream other than we love it, can’t get enough of it, and eat waaaaay too much of it when we are on holiday!

#8 Sun

Our holidays have to be somewhere warm and sunny. For me, a holiday would not be a holiday without the sun. I love the summer sun and seriously can’t get enough of it. I am never happier, home or abroad than when the sun is shining.

Mauritius horse riding snap#9 New Experiences

Before the little ones came along Chris and I would always spend our holidays out exploring the local places. Now that we have the little ones, we’ve found a good balance for us is spending some of our holidays in the hotel as well as exploring the city, town or island that we’re in.

Because one of the most important thing for us on holiday is having fun, exciting and interesting new experiences as a family.

Mauritius swimming snap#10 Happy Children

As much as it is a holiday for the parents, the most important thing for us is having happy children at the end of each day and at the end of the holiday.

Nothing brings a smile to my face like it does when I see happily exhausted and content little faces. That’s when I know that the months of planning, the hours of travelling and all the disrupted routines have all been worth it.

What are your top 10 essentials for great family holidays? I’d love to hear yours in the comments below. 



  1. March 2, 2017 / 9:11 am

    Absolutely beautiful photos and a fab list of essentials. Good luck!
    Amy recently posted…February FavouritesMy Profile

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:56 pm

      Thanks lovely, really appreciate your lovely comments 🙂 x

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:54 pm

      Thanks lovely, and you’re so right, I don’t think it actually counts as ice cream when you are away either 😉

  2. March 2, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    You’ve got to have ice cream and happy children that’s for sure!
    Fingers crossed for you lovely x

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:51 pm

      I completely agree! Is it really a holiday without it? 😉

  3. March 2, 2017 / 9:58 pm

    I love number 10! So true! We booked our holiday this based on an experience I really wanted to share with the kids, and have a number of ‘bucket list’ holidays planned over the years based entirely on giving the kids a stellar childhood and making awesome memories together. xx #sharingthebloglove
    claire recently posted…Turning a negative experience into a positive day.My Profile

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:51 pm

      Thank you. I have to say, that sounds like such a great idea for a bucket list! You’ve inspired me to rethink ours now 🙂

  4. March 3, 2017 / 11:11 am

    Oh I just want to jump into your post and experience all of this! I love the way you have focused on experiences and not what you would pack lovely – such a refreshing change! Good luck with your entry and thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub xoxo
    Talya recently posted…Dealing with anxiety, worry, OCD and panic attacks in childrenMy Profile

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:49 pm

      Thanks Tayla! I started with the conventional things, but then I realised that actually our most important essentials weren’t necessarily things that you could pack, but actually what we experience. Your comments are really lovely and mean so much, thank you for your support 🙂 x

  5. Jordan Adewunmi
    March 3, 2017 / 2:01 pm

    Great post, I love the vid!

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:48 pm

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed watching it 🙂

  6. March 3, 2017 / 2:03 pm

    Oh the place looks amazing! What was the name of your hotel? The place looks heavenly.
    Really creative top 10 things. Family first ☺

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:48 pm

      Thank you! It was the Lux Belle Mare in Mauritius and it was absolutely divine. Perfect place for a family holiday, I’d definitely recommend it!

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:45 pm

      Thank you lovely. I agree, its definitely the most important of the ten!

  7. March 6, 2017 / 6:31 am

    Love this and I have everything crossed for your entry chick. Everything you’ve written is so spot on – I’ll be referring back to this post when I get round to booking our holiday! xx #marvmondays
    Fi – Beauty Baby and Me recently posted…I’m Broody – Growing My Tribe!My Profile

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:39 pm

      Ha, ha! I can see why you would be. Holidays aren’t a walk in the park with little ones, but they are definitely worth it. If you get a chance to go on one do it, I promise you won’t regret it 🙂 x

  8. March 6, 2017 / 8:07 am

    Oh brilliant entry lovey. Totally agree a good hotel and great staff make a huge difference – as do happy children! Happy children definitely make for a happy holiday! #marvmondays x
    Tammymum recently posted…Why Do I Find It So Hard?My Profile

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:38 pm

      They really do don’t they! Its just not worth it unless you have those things I think 🙂

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:36 pm

      Oh thank you lovely! It would be a dream to win, but there are sooooooo many great entries this year I don’t want to get my hopes up! But it is lovely to have so much support from you lovely lot 🙂

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:28 pm

      Thanks lovely. Not quite your usual top ten, but these really are our ingredients to a perfect holiday 🙂

  9. March 6, 2017 / 11:49 am

    This looks stunning, love the line about seeing it all through a new lens when you have children of your own. It’s so special to be able to take your children on holiday, to show them the world. Lovely post (: #Marvmodays
    Petite Words recently posted…Bewitching Iceland On A Beautiful BudgetMy Profile

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:27 pm

      Oh thank you lovely, it really is the most wonderful, special privilege. Our holidays may be different now, but they are more magical than they have ever been 🙂

  10. March 6, 2017 / 11:50 am

    Because we are a family of 12, we do not do much traveling by plane. In fact, we never do any traveling unless we can drive there in our RV. But one day…one day I hope to take our family to Hawaii, and for me the most important thing is the hotel pool ~ if there’s not a really cool pool, then I’m not staying there. Gotta have a pretty pool on vacation! #marvmondays
    Katrina recently posted…the good mommy momentsMy Profile

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:31 pm

      Oh I absolutely agree, its all about the pool! I can imagine it would pretty tough to take a family of 12 away often, but I’m sure you might do it one day and hawaii sounds like a pretty awesome place to do it 🙂

  11. March 6, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    The key to making our holidays work here at Coombe Mill has been happy children, if the things for the kids are in place the parents are easy to please! #marvmondays
    Coombe Mill – Fiona recently posted…Trash 2 Treasure March 17My Profile

  12. March 6, 2017 / 3:11 pm

    I love your top 10, i agree on the hotel. Good luck xx #marvmondays

  13. March 6, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    Hi, I want book a holiday now. Lovely photos and great points. Yummy good, fab beaches and and pools would be in my list #MarvMondays

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:20 pm

      Thanks lovely! I felt exactly the same as I was editing our little video. Thats the joy and power of photos and videos isn’t it 🙂

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:14 pm

      Oh Helen, it really is isn’t it! Holidays are so different, a holiday in the sense of getting away from it all back at home, but not so much a holiday as far as rest, relaxation and sunbathing go (lol). But they are the most wonderful experiences, showing the world to your little ones 🙂 Where did you guys go, I’d love to know!

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:13 pm

      Thanks lovely. Happy children is definitely the most important 🙂

  14. March 6, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    Do you know what, with every one of these entries I see I kinda wish I had got my sh*t together and done an entry! You so deserve the win Emily – we are rooting for you! Beautiful posts, your MW updates would be fabulous…
    MMT recently posted…Creatures of habitMy Profile

    • March 6, 2017 / 9:10 pm

      Oh thank you lovely, that seriously means SO MUCH. I very almost didn’t enter, but I’m so glad that I did. There have been so many amazing entries that I’d be really surprised if I won it this year, but never say never I guess! 🙂 x

  15. March 6, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    Great list of essentials, beautiful photos. Good luck! #MarvMondays

  16. March 7, 2017 / 9:39 am

    Reading this on a gloomy March Monday makes me want to jump on a plane right now! Never been on a Mark Warner holiday and I know this year we are on a serious budget but maybe one day!

  17. March 7, 2017 / 9:39 am

    Reading this on a gloomy March Monday makes me want to jump on a plane right now! Never been on a Mark Warner holiday and I know this year we are on a serious budget but maybe one day!

    • March 7, 2017 / 11:05 pm

      Definitely one day 😉 glad this lifted your mood, theres nothing better than looking at holiday pictures!

    • March 7, 2017 / 11:02 pm

      Thanks lovely, I couldn’t agree more, family definitely makes a holiday 🙂

    • March 8, 2017 / 7:58 pm

      Thank you! They’re definitely not a holiday in the typical sense of the word, but I’d much prefer to be abroad with the sun, sea and the sand dealing with the tantrums and all the usual daily chaos 😉

  18. March 8, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    We have really similar taste in holidays – so many of these would make my list too! I suspect families are often looking for similar things from a holiday – a beach, good food and ice cream would definitely top my list! My two year old is currently obsessed with holidays and keeps asking to go after our last one back in November. Sadly we only have one booked this year and that’s not until September (and only in the UK, so fingers crossed for the weather!) Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
    Katy – Hot Pink Wellingtons recently posted…To pregnant women everywhere: Be in the photo!My Profile

    • March 8, 2017 / 8:01 pm

      You two year old sounds just like my three year old. She is obsessed with them too, and after watching a cbeebies programme where a family went on holiday to Portugal she has become adamant that we need to go to Portugal too! I love a good staycation, there are some beautiful places in the UK so I’m sure you’ll all have a lovely time 🙂

  19. March 12, 2017 / 11:18 pm

    This post has made me desperate for a holiday! Beautiful beaches, an amazing pool, sun and ice cream are definitely all essential to a good holiday! #marvmondays
    Sarah | Digital Motherhood recently posted…A Day Out At Cheddar GorgeMy Profile

  20. March 18, 2017 / 4:31 pm

    Gorgeous photos, gorgeous family and great post. I wish you the best of luck in your competition and do keep us posted. Oh to be on Holiday! #marvmondays

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