By Sophie Ryan, iSelect Spokesperson Most of us could do with some extra savings…
We finally took the plunge to take the kids on a proper family holiday; plane trips and all! The travel was the scariest part for me as a parent, but lets just say it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.
Here is my blog on what we did and how we managed. I’ve also included some my tips for travelling with kids! The whole trip was made much easier for us because the amazing team at the Global Explorer booked it all! We got the best resort package deal which we got for under half price for 3 nights ($799) and included:
- $100 voucher for the Marriotts famous dining
- Spa Voucher
- Kids stay free
- Full Buffet Breakfast daily
- Bottle of wine & Internet access
- There is tonnes more. You can click here to view the deal we got
Our First Family Holiday Itinerary
Its go time! I had everything packed and ready to go, so all we had to do that morning was get everyone dressed, eat and leave. When I got Harper up I realised she had what looked like an infected bite on her finger. The holiday was off to a great start! I spent the morning getting the kids ready and ringing the health hotline. They said to try see the doctor at the airport or see one once we get to the Gold Coast…great!
We drove to the airport and left extra early so we had plenty of time for any toilet or tantrum stops along the way to the airport. I also wanted to make sure we had time to check in the pram and breathe! To be honest I was more anxious about Harper’s finger than the plane (maybe a good thing at the time). We got on the plane and spent the whole time just feeding the kids snacks, singing songs and letting them watch the Netflix shows we had downloaded before.
Once we got the hotel we basically checked in and took our detour to the doctor (parent life hey). Harper’s finger just ended up needing antibiotic cream. Once we finally got back to the resort we went up to our gorgeous room and the lovely staff at the front desk gave us a drawing pack for the kids. There was also a bottle of wine waiting in the fridge (hallejuah!).
So we relaxed, had some wine while the girls coloured in with their new books. We decided to head down to the lagoon which was just what we needed. Then had a casual dinner at the Chapter & Verse lounge by the pool. I was pretty anxious about our first night sleeping in a new place with the kids but they went down like a dream!
SATURDAY- Finding our Holiday Groove
The family spent the day down by the pool which was just what we needed. We swam with the fish, went in the whirlpool, under the waterfall, and ate lunch by the lagoon. Then we put the kids down for a nap (well Willow napped, Harper just chatted to herself in bed for an hour haha). After that I had an event to go to so I got ready and we decided to have some cocktails down by the pool before I left. Once I went to the event, Ryan chilled in the room with the kids ,watched unlimited kids movies and got room service (perfect!).
SUNDAY- Explore and Relax Day
Being our last full day we decided that after breakfast we would go for a walk around Cavill Avenue, and go to the arcade (not sure if it was more for Ryan or the kids haha). We had also booked a cabana for that afternoon by the lagoon. After our walk around exploring the Gold Coast we came back, had a nap (again parent life), and then went to spend the afternoon at our cabana. The cabana was a highlight for us, it was shaded, right next to the water and the pool bar staff would bring us our drinks and food…HEAVEN! The kids coloured in, watched the iPad, swam and we all just the best time.
MONDAY : Home Time!
I honestly thought by the end of our holiday I would be dying to go home (because I assumed the kids would be killing me, and I’m a creature of habit), but I was honestly so sad to be leaving! The resort felt so welcoming and started to feel like home! We had our last buffet breakfast- which I consumed my body weight in pancakes, then we went down to the lagoon to watch the fish feeding which Harper loved! Then we got on our transferred and headed back to the airport. It really was the best trip!
I actually stayed at the Marriott at Surfers Paradise many years ago, on my hens! It is honestly my favourite resort I have stayed at. It feels like your overseas on a tropical holiday and I could easily just stay at the resort the whole time.
This resort is the perfect mix of luxury and family friendly facilities. It’s a gorgeous facility that you can get dressed up and have a cocktail by the pool or come down and eat in your pjs and not feel judged. There is so many families there doing the same. This is one of the main reasons why I loved the Marriott and felt so comfortable there.
The resort itself has every facility you could image; buffets, a gym, day spa, kids club and I won’t even get started (just yet) on the lagoon they have!
The room itself was really baby-friendly so I didn’t have to stress about Willow getting into everything. The door handles are also a tad higher than your standard door so this makes your life easier. The resort provided a cot for Willow with sheets and a blanket. Our room had a balcony which of course is always a worry but not only did the door have a lock, it also had a chain lock up high so Harper couldn’t unlock it.
The railing on the balcony was also a lot higher than your standard balcony railings, and was fully enclosed which also gave me a bit more peace of mind (of course you would NEVER let your kids on the balcony without you but when we were out there it did make me feel better). There was also decent sized walk in wardrobe which I loved because we could store our suitcases away from the kids and they weren’t in the way.
Where do I even begin?! This resort is absolutely packed with things to do! Lets start with all the water based fun.
The Marriott has the salt water lagoon which has REAL fish in it! Which means everyday you can swim amongst the fish. Every morning at 9:30am they feed the fish which the kids LOVE. The lagoon even has sand but get this, its silica sand so it doesn’t get stuck all over you and the kids – GENUIS!
You can also hire water gear like snorkels, pool noodles, floaties etc. They have a swimming pool, kids pool, spa, a waterfall and a whirlpool! For us parents they have a pool bar which also has amazing food for the whole family.
On our last day we actually decided to hire a cabana by the lagoon which had great shade. The hire cost was actually amazing as it also included cocktails, ice-cream, 2 pool meals, snorkel hire, towels and it was the best!
The resort also has a 24 hour gym, day spa, multi purpose sport courts for activities like tennis, basketball, volleyball, cricket, football/soccer nets, badminton, table tennis, and a giant Jenga!
One of the best facilities they have for families is the Kids Activities Centre! The center has a supervised care option for children 4- 12 years of age. The fun things the kids get up to is arts and crafts, movies, face painting, kids games, video games, foosball and heaps more.
The dining was absolutely mind blowing!
I was actually excited for breakfast every morning! The buffet breakfast had everything you could imagine from your hot breakkie options like eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes. There are even chefs there to make your own omelette anyway you like. There was pancakes, waffles, fruits, yogurts, fresh juices and smoothies and of course your usual continental breakfast like toast, cereal etc.
What I also really like is that they provide plastic cutlery and plates for the kids.
Lunches and dinners were incredible with huge seafood and teppanyaki buffets. The food was just mouth watering.
The buffet is not the only option but, there is the Chapter & Verse lounge and bar, which serves delicious food and drinks! We had a couple of dinners there and the pizzas and hamburgers are soo good!
Travelling with Kids Tips!
Ok so I know Im definitely not to most seasoned traveller with kids BUT this is what I’ve learnt so far!
- Pack a ridiculous amount of snacks and yummy treats they don’t get often. This will keep them very happy.
- When the plane is taking off and landing to help with there ears, give baby a feed or dummy, and the kids a drink or lollipop (depending on their age).
- Download their fave shows on Netflix so they are able to watch it when the iPad or your phone is on flight mode. Download a good amount of shows and movies too- just to be safe.
- Buy them some new drawing books so its something new for them .
- Try to keep their usual nap times while your away. Even if they won’t sleep just call it “quiet time” and read them a book so everyone is resting.
- We still had an early dinner every night so we don’t get stuck with overtired kids
I hope you guys enjoyed this blog! I highly recommend you guys check out all the amazing holiday deals over at the Global Explorer! I will also be uploading a vlog of our holiday onto my Youtube channel too! So keep any eye out! What are your fave places to travel to with kids? What are your tips?