Christmas on a villa holiday

Christmas In A Suitcase

Booking a villa holiday over the Christmas period is an excellent way to get the extended family together and to spend valuable relaxing time with children, grandchildren or just a group of old friends.  In this short article, we give you a few tips on how to make you’re your Christmas Day (or New Year’s Eve) celebrations go with a bang on your villa holiday.

Christmas Presents.

If you don’t have children with you, you may like to consider celebrating Christmas and exchanging gifts before you leave for your holiday or after you return. This needn’t limit the fun. With the right approach it can just add another great day, or at very least an evening, to your Christmas festivities.

If the thought of having no gifts to exchange on Christmas day leaves you cold, you could always reduce the collective luggage weight by opting for the ‘Secret Santa’ approach.

Secret Santa is a long-standing festive tradition in which members of a group all pull one name from their group out of a hat (or have name assigned to them any other random method). Their job is then to choose a gift for that person, and only that person. It is best to agree a maximum budget for the gift, which no-one should exceed. Technically, the identity of the gift giver should remain a secret and should never be revealed. However, guessing who selected the gift is often part of the fun.

When unwrapped and unveiled one by one at the dinner table, this can lead to a very enjoyable and entertaining spectacle. Fabulous fun for large groups and extended family holidays.  There are many apps available for organising your Secret Santa. Here’s one example that we came across www.secretsantaorganizer.com.

If you have very young children, you will probably want to take along a few gifts.

Think carefully about the weight, size and fragility of anything you intend to pack in your luggage. Also, think very carefully about any security issues that may arise. It may be difficult to explain that the brightly coloured rocket launcher in your suitcase is simply a child’s toy.

Wrapping Gifts

Airlines recommend that you do not not wrap any gifts before you fly. Airport security staff may unwrap gifts in your hand luggage or checked in bags, causing delays at security. And of course, leaving you with the job of rewrapping them.

Instead, pack wrapping paper in your checked in bags, and wrap your gifts after you arrive at your villa.  Don’t forget to pack a roll of celllotape. But even though your airline may permit you to carry scissors with blades less than 4 inches in length, it’s probably best to leave the scissors at home. Any well-equipped villa is sure to have a pair in the kitchen drawer.

Music

Yes it’s cheesy, but a few Christmas jingles always set the scene on the big day.

Be sure to take along a Christmas CD or two or better still, compile an online playlist.

If you go for the online option be sure to check the box to ‘download’ the tracks in advance just in case you have no WiFi at the crucial moment.

Christmas Outfit

Spread the word before you leave. Make sure that absolutely everyone packs a festive outfit to wear for the big dinner.

You can give this your own spin. Whatever you choose From Christmas ‘Hawaiian’ Shirts and Santa Hats to Red Dresses, White Shirts and Christmas Ties, it is a chance to generate a bit of extra Christmas cheer and get everyone in the mood. A common theme always makes for great photographs in and around your villa too.

Don’t let your plans become too grand, whatever you choose should be light and easy to pack, easy to find and not too expensive.

Decorations

We’re not suggesting that you drape the entire villa with tinsel and glitter. However, if you take a few lengths of tinsel and a handful of sparkly accessories, you will be able to wow everyone in the party with a beautifully decorated dinner table.

It is always an option to ask every member of the party to bring one item of decoration. Unveiling the collection of assorted decorations and arranging them around the villa could become an enjoyable and entertaining part of the celebration.

Games

Nothing is more festive than after dinner games. They are a great way to extend the celebrations and to bridge the age gaps. Why not take a long a few simple games to play after dinner. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need pack heavy or cumbersome board games. With a little research, you may be able to simply take along a pack of cards, a pen and some paper and a few notes/prompts to remind you of a handful of games and their rules.

Of course, on a villa holiday at Christmas there is always a chance that you will be enjoying dinner outside on the sun terrace, by the pool or even down at the beach, so you may want to adjust your game selection accordingly.

Whether you play wink murder, spoons, charades or name that tune, you’ll have great fun and create many, many memories

If you need a little inspiration, there are countless suggestions for games online but here are a couple of links to get you going:

Table Place Names

Carefully prepared and packed in your luggage, a pile of festive place names for the dinner table will add a special touch to the big event and allow you to carefully adjust the seating plan to ensure harmony or hilarity.

Skype or Facetime

If you have any family members who can’t make it on your trip or friends at home that couldn’t come along with you for any reason, why not gather round an iphone, ipad or latop and call them up live on video with Skpe, Facetime or any alternative.

There are various ways to make video calls these days. But whatever method you choose, it is best to agree a precise time in advance and to be sure everyone in your party knows when it is happening. Make sure you make the call precisely at the agreed time and all should go to plan.

This is a lovely way to share the festive cheer, have some fun and to share a bit of love at the same time.

Cooking

For some, cooking Christmas dinner seems like a military operation and an utterly unrewarding task. Whilst others thoroughly enjoy the hustle and bustle of the kitchen preparation and revel in the role of head chef and host.

If it is your thing, throw yourself headlong into the process and enjoy every minute.  But remember, there are no rules. You don’t have to produce the perfect, traditional Christmas dinner. This dinner is about the people and the connection between them.

Be prepared to break the rules and adjust the menu to make it easier for you to prepare and serve. It doesn’t really matter if you serve up burgers, pasta, seafood, curry or a beach barbecue buffet.

If cooking a big dinner is simply not your bag, why not consider the alternatives?

External catering may be an option in your villa. Whether you have food delivered or have dinner prepared by a visiting chef, it well be worth the additional cost.

Don’t forget that you can always book and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. In which case all the tips above still apply.

Whatever you choose to do, think things through carefully in advance and you will soon be enjoying your best Christmas ever together in a luxury villa in the sun.

Check out our range of ‘Family Party’ villas

 

 

 

Thomas Cook

What Can Holidaymakers Learn From The Collapse Of Thomas Cook

 

The news of Thomas Cook’s collapse was sudden and shocking. Most shocking for those with holidays booked, or for those potentially stranded overseas on their trip.

Whilst things unfold, in the aftermath tens of thousands have been airlifted home and many, many more are attempting to secure refunds on their holidays.

As a nation of holidaymakers calms down and carries on, we take a moment to consider what lessons we can all learn from the Thomas Cook Affair.

ATOL and ABTA – are well worth checking for.

The Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL)was setup in 1973 to protect holiday makers from precisely this kind of crisis.

During the last few weeks, over 600,000 people have received assistance from ATOL.

ABTA LOGO

Whilst ATOL was originally designed to cover flight-based trips, Package Travel regulations apply to other holiday packages and cruises, provided they are booked through ABTA registered agents.

Both Villa Retreats Wildfoot Travel are ATOL registered and both are registered members of ABTA (Association OF British Travel Agents). We strongly believe in the value, their protection offers.

Beware Foreign Imposters

Many foreign travel websites give the impression that they are based in the UK. But check very, very carefully. ATOL protection is only applicable to flights or packages booked with UK based travel firms.

By law travel companies must publish their ATOL number. You can check this number on the Civil Aviation Authority Website.

Booking with agents or airlines who are not registered with ATOL or ABTA could result in uncompensated loss of your holiday.

Check Your Certificate

ATOL logo

When you make an ATOL protected booking, you should receive an ATOL certificate. This will list the parts of the trip that are protected. If you don’t get a certificate, you are not protected.

Check Travel Insurance Cover Before You Buy

All insurance policies are not the same. Check and compare the details before you buy.

Make sure it covers Scheduled Airline Failure (SAF), which exists precisely to cover you in the event of an airline’s collapse. The SAF cover should also have a figure allocated to it. The range of cover varies from £100 – £15,000, with the average being about £2,500.

Make you own mind up about how much cover you need. But check the policy carefully and don’t underestimate the difference a few pounds more on an annual policy can make.

Get Your Credit Card Out

Purchases made with a credit card can often be covered by the card providers insurance policy. Check carefully. And always pay the balance off at the end of the month, or you may end up paying hefty interest on your booking.

Don’t buy vouchers as a gift

Many people who held Thomas Cook travel vouchers suddenly discovered they are now completely worthless. Think carefully before you buy a voucher of any kind as a present.

If someone gives you a voucher as a gift, use it as soon as you can. It seems, you never know what could happen.

Keep all your paperwork carefully

In the event of any kind incident of on holiday, it always helps to be able to get hold of receipts, invoices, policies and other documentation quickly.

Gather them in your e-mail and set up a neat new folder so you can find them quickly. Consider downloading them to your phone or tablet, in case you are unable to access wifi whilst you are away.

Take That Trip

If you have a dream trip, don’t keep putting off. Book it now. You never know what will happen. International travel may become more expensive and less accessible as the political and environmental world changes in the future.

 

Check out our family friendly villas

Take a look at our most romantic villas

 

Spending Precious Family Time With University-Age Children

As children or grandchildren head off to university, to start new lives and develop new careers, so an exciting new-age of holiday begins.

During this transitional period, children’s personalities are evolving rapidly. Their world is filled with new experiences, insights, influences and experiences. They are full of new-found energy and passion. But at the same time, they appreciate their family more than ever, and the security, strength and warmth family connections represent.

That’s why it is a such a wonderful time to bring the extended family together for a holiday and re-enforce the family bond.

On a villa holiday, teenagers have the opportunity to unveil their new-found knowledge experience and enjoy those all-important connections with the extended family unit.

In this article, we reflect on the what makes a villa holiday perfect for multi-generational family holiday.

No Agenda

Staying in a villa as opposed to a hotel means you will be free from any precise agenda. This flexibility is critical when dealing with different generations. It’s always important to remember, that it is everyone’s holiday and what suits one person, isn’t always right for another. Staying in a well-equipped, well-appointed villa means you can all get up, eat, drink, sleep and come and go as you please.

Space to be Yourself

There are times when we’d like to talk, laugh sing and dance. There are also times when we’d rather relax quietly with a good book or just enjoy the view quietly, with only our own thoughts for company.

A villa with plenty of room inside and out will give you plenty of options to find space or to get together with others when you would rather be in company.

A villa with space to chat

A quiet lie down in an air-conditioned room. A few minutes lost inside the pages of a captivating novel under the shade of a whispering olive tree. A solitary dip beneath the shimmering, motionless water of a deserted swimming pool. Or a relaxed, one-to-one garden-chair conversation under the dappled-orange glow of a Mediterranean sunset. It’s all possible in the right villa.

A place to get together

Alongside the quiet times of course, there are incredible opportunities to enjoy time together. Enjoying the vibrant conversation and laughter of a family meal, reliving old times together beside the pool or settling down to a ‘family movie night’ in front of the big screen.

A carefully chosen villa will provide countless chances for both all-encompassing enjoyment and individual tranquillity.

Room to rest

A good villa will have plenty of bedrooms, bathrooms and communal space. So you should never be on top of each other, leaving you all with space to relax in your own way.

Villa with plenty of space for a large group

Have fun in the sun

Whether you choose to lounge by the pool, swim in the sea or read under the shelter of the nearest palm tree, it’s hard to deny that the warmth of the sun is uplifting and relaxing.

A beautiful villa with a swimming pool

With everyone enjoying ‘doing their own thing’ in the sun, spirits will be high, which leads to relaxed, rewarding and enriching conversations and experiences. It is a great way to re-cement the family unit.

 

Dining together

A good villa will always have great dining facilities. Both inside and out. Because the dinner table is where the family magic is truly made.

Dining in a luxury villa

Light the BBQ, pop open a bottle or two while the dinners sizzles in the background and just talk.

Take plenty of time to eat, drink, chat, tell stories, play games and just enjoy each other’s company. One day, the children will look back on those meals under the stars as some of their most special and cherished family memories.

Early nights or late mornings

Choose a villa that is within walking distance of a few bars, restaurants and maybe even the occasional night club. That way each generation can dance the night away as much as little as they want.

Flexible catering options

Whilst catering itself brings with it the flexibility to do things at your own time and pace, it also takes time and effort for some (or all) of the family.  Choosing a villa within walking distance of some good restaurants will give you great alternatives.

Cooking in a luxury villa

In many villas, it is possible to book external catering for the length of your holiday or just for the occasional evening.

Activities To Enjoy Together

If any of your group have specific interests, you can choose a villa or location that allows them to enjoy activities together. Often, these activities can have cross-generational appeal which can lead to wonderfully memorable days out.

A game golf together, a kayaking or stand up paddleboard adventure, snorkelling, sailing or just a walk on the beach as a small group.  With the development of electric bikes, even mountain biking or cycling can be enjoyed together by a wide range of ages and abilities.

The range of activities on offer today is incredible and affordable, so be sure to check what is possible when you are choosing a villa.

Of course, there are many more positive reasons to bring the whole family together on a villa holiday but we’ve given you plenty to think about in the list above. If you’d like to chat to our team about the incredible villas we have available, why not call us for a no-obligation chat and we’ll give you a few suggestions.  Why not call our team and discuss your plans on 0800 988 5586

These villas are just perfect for a multi-generation holiday.

Villa  406 – Deia, Mallorca

Villa 2394 – Antigua

Villa 2115 – Quinta do Lago, Algarve

Villa 2263 – Marbella

Villa 524 – Menorca

Villa 2388 – Provence

Villa 2067 – Mallorca

Villa 2091 – Ibiza