Off to Turkey…..
The worst part of having a travel business is that one is always busy when it is vacation time for others. We are working extra hours planning kid friendly vacations for families, while we glance across wondering if we will be able to take our children for a vacation in the summer holidays. The big question: MONEY vs PEACE OF MIND! I chose the latter. Been working since I was 16 and fortunately earning money is no big deal for me.
People working in the travel trade and other working moms might be able to relate to this blog. Firstly, I consider myself very lucky, my family is not dependent on my earnings. So it is easy for me to say no to business (well not so easy at times when there is a big juicy luxury file on the cards!) and secondly, I am quite independent and have no qualms leaving behind my working husband and taking off with my darling daughter! Well, somebody’s gotta earn for the next vacation! Sorry hubby, but you know this already and must say you’re quite cool or maybe I don’t leave you any choice!
Last summer I was busy burning the midnight oil while my daughter was busy burning her eyes and the Ipad battery. Hated it and regretted it a lot, so this summer I have cut down my work and my greed to spend time with her. She doesn’t like it much and would rather keep burning her eyes, but we’ve done some amazing things already this summer being in Mumbai. Took her to the Mumbai High Court for an interesting museum walk, she attended and thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful Art Appreciation course, watched a couple of movies and explored some new restaurants.
My husband and I had planned to go the Himalayas this summer but my darling daughter shot it down as she is, what she calls, ‘a beach person’. We have a USA trip coming up this Diwali so didn’t want something expensive and also we were late in planning, so airfares had skyrocketed. What an irony, being in the travel business I always ask my clients to book their air tickets by January for summer travel and here I was in April still figuring out where to go? Lesson learnt, “practice what you preach”! She had loved our week in Crete, Greece and wanted to go back, but the airfares were too high, so I started looking for airfares to Turkey and found a good fare. So yesss, it’s Turkey this year!
Tip: If the destination you have in mind is too expensive to travel or if you are looking at a similar destination that you have been to and liked, look at the neighbouring countries on the map. You will be visiting a new country with similar terrain but maybe with a completely different culture. Of course, for those who like to keep a checklist, a new country knocked off your list too.
Husband can make it only for a week, so we are taking (dragging perhaps) him to Cappadocia & the beach. I would take time to visit Sirince (a charming village) for a day while he baby sits. Have booked Korumar Beach Resort & Spa in Selcuk which is a brand new 5* property with lots of activities and animation for kids. A small Aquapark, bang on the beach, an indoor heated pool, pools everywhere throughout the resort AND an Ultimate All Inclusive Plan, which means food and booze round the clock! That sounds like a holiday, can’t wait. After our last fiasco in France, where we lost our wallet with a lot of cash and driver’s license, we have been yearning for a drive, so we might rent a car and make use of the husband and make him drive to enjoy the scenery This was his idea, am not such a horrible and selfish wife.
Tip: If you are looking for some ‘Me Time’ on your vacation with kids, find a resort with a kid’s club and a team which keeps kids occupied when they are not in the pool or on the beach. An All Inclusive Plan which includes food does mean that the quality of food will be average, but trust me the kids will be very happy when they can just walk up anytime and help themselves with food & soft drinks whenever they want. Let them splurge on carbs and ice creams, I bet the wicked mother in you will ensure they have one wholesome meal with protein & veggies.
In Cappadocia we will do the usual tours with hot air ballooning and am excited to stay at The House Hotel (a Design Hotel member). Looks stunning and a cave hotel. Also located away from the tourist crowds in a sleepy suburb called Ortahisar. Will write a blog on our stay here. What I am also excited about is a wine tasting tour in Cappadocia. My new obsession and love.
My daughter and I will spend 2 more days at the beach after my husband leaves, busy bonding, giggling, bitching about other guests (this is the only time when she speaks to me in Gujarati as it is ‘safe’) and am sure having arguments for sure. We will also spend 5 full days in Istanbul at The Lazzoni, again a 5* hotel. I prefer smaller hotels, though my agent was giving me a very good deal at The Wyndham, I chose Lazzoni. Love that it overlooks the water and is situated in Beyoglu (Golden Horn area) which is not too far from Taksim Square & Miniaturk is just walking distance from the hotel.
Tip: Pick local brands and boutique smaller hotels over big brands. With big brands you know what to expect, but with local brands and smaller boutique hotels, I do find the management very hands on and staff is more friendly & helpful.
Don’t ask me what all we’ll do in Istanbul, as I have given my daughter the task to make an itinerary for us by doing some online research. She’s almost 11 years old and hates shopping malls and theme parks, so I guess I am in safe hands. She’s been quite fascinated about the Byzantine empire and has been watching a lot of videos and reading up trivia on the subject. She definitely knows more on the subject than me. We love museums, so plan to visit at least 3 museums in Istanbul, feel free to drop in your suggestions.
Tip: Involve your kids in itinerary planning and ensure they know about some historical facts if you plan to visit monuments. Most kids don’t like historical monuments as the on-the-spot history commentary is not interesting at all. Also they like to raise their hands and chip in or show off to the guides on the topic. This can only happen if they know something about the place & history. Don’t insist on just reading books. There are some amazing TEDTalks and Youtube videos which educate in a subtle way. They will be happy with the screen time. Ideally, tag along in watching the videos or reading the book, as they always like to discuss it later.
Will keep you posted on what we plan to do in Istanbul and hope to write a blog on each place.
So excited…… yay we are off to Turkey!