Over the past 10 or so years I’ve become addicted to travelling, I long to see more of the world especially anywhere with a very different culture to what we’re accustomed to in the UK. At the last count I’ve been to 9 different countries outside of the UK and hopefully I’ll be well into double figures before the end of the year. As it’s almost a new year I’m dreaming big about the adventures we could have as a family this year. My wandering eye and itchy feet have led me to vacation rentals in Barbados, home to gorgeous turquoise coastlines; bright white sands and rustling palms. We’ve been on quite a lot of ‘urban’ or busy holidays lately to cities like New York or London so I’m really craving something calmer and more outdoorsy.
When we go abroad with Luisa I much prefer renting an apartment or villa as opposed to staying in a hotel because it gives us so much more space and freedom, I also think it helps kids adjust to a new timezone better when you can give them a home from home feeling. Another major bonus of renting a villa with a good management service is that there are security nearby to assist should you need them and maid services provided so you’re not still running a home on holiday. I feel like it’s the best of both worlds and definitely suits a young family better than a hotel.
Another big factor drawing me to the Caribbean, as if the weather and culture wasn’t enough, is that neither Matt or I have been anywhere like it before. It would be amazing to cross a new part of the world off our list and explore it for the first time, together. We’re always keen to go somewhere new on our travels, rarely returning to exactly the same place – no matter how much we loved it. Sometimes I am tempted, especially when we’ve had a great experience but the draw of those undiscovered locations always pulls me in.
I’m one of those people who gets a little idea in their head and 30 minutes later has a full tactical plan to make said idea happen as well as a list of ‘evidence’ to support why it was such a clever notion in the first place. Obviously the sun and the beaches are a massive part of what makes me want to visit Barbados but there is much more to it that lounging around by the sea! If I’m lucky enough to be jetting off to the Caribbean any time soon here’s a look at what we’d get up to.
Luisa loves all things to do with animals and there are loads of activities that would keep her amused. We’d definitely be getting aboard the Atlantis Submarine to discover all the amazing sea-life, shipwreck sites and beautiful corals – a real life Blue Planet excursion! We’d certainly be off to the Barbados Wildlife Reserve to meet the monkeys, parrots and iguanas as well as learn more about their conservation scheme. I think it would be amazing to see these animals up close in a really natural environment and so different to any zoo experience we can have in the UK.
As much as Matt & I do like the sun we aren’t really sunbathers! We both like to be on our feet and obviously do avoid being outside during the hottest parts of the day. I’d love to spend an afternoon cooling off underground on a trip to Harrisions Caves. You can take a tram tour or go on foot if you’re more adventurous, exploring the limestone caverns and finding out more about the history of the island from a very different perspective.
Something that’s really important to us when we travel is experiencing as much authentic local culture as possible. I love to go off the beaten track a little and explore markets, meet local people and try out whatever basic phrases I’ve managed to learn before my trip. For me it’s just not travel if you spend you whole trip walled up in a resort, as lovely as that may be. Meeting local people, supporting their businesses and trying their cuisine is all part of the adventure.
Fish is a massive part of Bajan cuisine, which is great news for me as I love all kinds of sea food. I’ve also seen some amazing looking curry online with a big Creole influence and of course there is rum, lots of rum. I’d love to book on to a food tour around Bridgetown to get a real flavour (pardon the pun) of local cuisine. We did something similar on a trip to San Francisco when we went to a street food festival and it was a lot of fun to try new dishes and get talking to the vendors who were always keen to educate us about the origins of the recipes and their origins. A good meal is always great conversation starter and a lovely way to get to know a country better.
Now all that’s left for me to consider is the small matter of my airfare and, of course, getting Matt on side. I don’t think the latter will be too difficult one he’s had a read of this.
Have you ever been to the Caribbean? I’d love to hear more about your trip and any tips you have for me – especially if you went with young children.