This week, I have great pleasure in introducing fabulous blogger Jenny to you all. She tells us about her wonderful sun-kissed vacation to Lanzarote and admits this is the best holiday she has had so far, as it was the first one as a family of four. Not only does Jenny share her great tips for the area, but she also gives sound packing advice for parents with young children in tow.

Over to you, Jenny…

rp_fotor01012205118.jpgWhat do you look for in a holiday?

I would have to say we like a huge mixture. It depends on where we go for our vacation and what season it is there. For summer, we usually go back to America to see my family which has beaches, rivers, and many outdoor type adventures for the whole family. In winter, we liked to go for skiing/snowboarding type vacations before we had children and I am sure when they get older we will go back to that but for now it’s usually a retreat to the beach for New Year’s Eve. I love a place that has good restaurants nearby for Mr P and I, and fun family activities during the day for the kids. I am huge on sightseeing; Mr P is more of a beach bum. So it will interesting to see what types of vacations we take when the kids get old enough to have a say, too.

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Where did you go?

This particular vacation we went to Playa Blanca, Lanzarote. It was our first fly-away vacation as a family of four. We wanted warmer weather and beaches for the kids to play on.

Why Lanzarote?

We chose this destination because it’s the closest we can go to capture the sun at that time of year and the cheapest. We also saw a deal online for an inclusive family package where we wanted to stay so that helped sway us.

Where did you stay?

We stayed at Princesa Yaiza in Playa Blanca. We chose this hotel because it was in the center of everywhere we wanted to go and places we wanted to see. It also had the best activities for young child and kiddy pools for them to be entertained in. It was all about the best family vacation experience and this hotel seemed to have it all and away from the hardcore nightlife. We use a company called Travel Counselors for all our travel needs. They are amazing. We did bed and breakfast accommodations, as we like to go to various restaurants outside the hotel at night.  We first look at a few online websites and read reviews on hotels then we told our travel agent this is what we are looking for in terms of what they offer and where they are located. i.e. away from nightlife, family activities included, good restaurants etc.

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Were there plenty of activities for the kids?

Yes, Princesa Yaiza is fantastic for young children. It has it’s own soft play area right in the hotel to give your child some freedom as well as parents. They also have childcare throughout the day and night so children can take classes. If they are older kids, classes like ping pong or kids disco in the evening, if they are younger they have a great baby facility for them. With two kiddy pools and kids entertainment throughout the week it really is the perfect all in one for activities for kids.

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Your most memorable moment of the trip?

It was New Year’s Eve and both kids were fast asleep in the stroller. Mr P and I booked a table on the waterfront for a six course NYE celebration dinner with champagne. We ate, drank and watched fireworks explode above our heads and the whole time our two beauties stayed asleep and snuggly in their stroller next to us. Everyone was amazed as much as we were! Best moment ever.

What did you get up to?

We did a lot of exploring the marina and walking through different shops. Since the kids were so young they mostly wanted to play in the pool every morning and on the beach in the afternoons. They both still had their two-hour naps during the day so we used this time to go shopping while they slept in the stroller. We did the kids disco show and the soft play area too. We mostly enjoyed eating at various restaurants all over the marina with the kids. We like our food! LOL.

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Was it good value for money?

The hotel was a bit pricey but if you got inclusive it was way cheaper and worth it. The breakfast was to die for there. We loved it. Everywhere else around us was really cheap so we would definitely go again.

Your top tip/s for the area?

Wear good walking shoes because that’s all you will be doing and it can get hilly if you explore a lot like we did. If it’s winter it can get really hot one day and cooler the next so bring both sets of clothes. It’s a small area Playa Blanca and even if there isn’t a huge partying nightlife the walls are thin and you can always hear things going on outside. If you are a light sleeper download the fan app and play it during the night to drown it out. Or just use a fan if it’s hot enough. The hotels usually provide you with one.

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Which photo is your favourite and why?

Mr P and Buba were kicking the soccer ball on the beach for the very first time. I was just learning photography and playing around with lighting and angles. This is my favorite photo because Buba is my first-born and it was the first time I realized how fast he is growing up. It was heart melting moment to watch them being boys on the beach without a care in the world together! Like father, like son.

Would you recommend to a friend? Would you go back again?

Yes, to both. I would go every year if I could. I think it’s the perfect place for families with young children. I can’t rave enough about the hotel it was magnificent. There are so many various activities available and numerous restaurants to eat at right inside the hotel. You would never have to even leave the hotel grounds if you didn’t want to. It is still one of my favorite vacations I have ever had. I am not sure if it was the amazing hotel & location, or the mere fact it was our first family vacation together as a family of four I think all of the above played an important factor in it but it will remain my forever-favorite vacation together.

 What are the five holiday essentials you couldn’t live without?

For me:
• Swimsuit
• Comfortable flip-flops
• Sunglasses
• Laptop
• Cover dress

I don’t pack much for me as I usually am giving my luggage allowance to the kids so these are probably the five things I make sure I have. I always make sure my cover dress is casual enough to throw over my swimsuits but dressy enough to add a belt and heels and be my evening dress. Packing less is more, it really is. It’s all about how you can change the same outfit into something different with a little accessorizing. Let’s not forget the laptop so I can be blogging about it while I am there in the moment.

For the Baby & Toddler:

• SnoozeShade for the stroller
• Baby blankets for bed
• Baby wash/shampoo (hotel’s isn’t good on baby’s skin)
• Sun hat
• A favorite toy each

image4SnoozeShade has really changed our traveling all together. We really couldn’t live without it now. Keeps the sunrays out and the air flowing so they can nap and sleep on the go. We have been to numerous hotels where they don’t give baby soap out; the hotel versions are harsh on your baby’s skin so always bring a travel size of your own. It’s hard for kids to sleep away from home sometimes so a comfort toy or blanket is always a good idea.

 If you would like to be featured on Holiday Snapshots, please email me at ting@my-travelmonkey.com and I look forward to including your travel stories.

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