A recent anonymous social media post from a mom relayed how she was lacking in confidence when it came to holidaying with her young children. She was worried because things had changed. When her second child came along she said holidays have become more stressful and challenging.
I really get it. Travelling with two children (and even one) can be stressful. But for some reason I got a bee in my bonnet about booking a trip for the boys and I to Ibiza. As the holiday drew nearer, I admit I was getting a bit worried.
Major British tour operator Thomas Cook had just gone under and it was October – low season with unpredictable weather. A long-range forecast on BBC weather showed that there’d be reasonably good weather in Ibiza – low 20s but that there’d be a storm on the Tuesday we were flying out.
Either way, I determined it would be warmer than Kent, where we currently live. As my husband could only take one day off at work it was an opportunity for some mom time with the boys.
Why I chose Jet2
As I was travelling alone, I reasoned that an all-inclusive package holiday was a must. With two kids aged 6 and 4 I didn’t want to scramble in my purse every time they wanted something.
I also wanted transfers included so I did not have to queue with two active kids for a rental car. I didn’t want to think about meals or drinks or have to budget for it. A package holiday made sense. I didn’t have to organize a thing.
Jet2’s package holidays seemed to offer all that on a budget I had set for myself (under £1,000 for all three of us). Of course, I could’ve chosen self-catering or half board but by choosing all-inclusive it meant that all meals and were catered for, plus pool snacks, as well as drinks (alcohol included).
The flight on Jet2
The flight left on time on both occasions. For parents whose kids enjoy watching movies, series or cartoons I’ve got to warn that there’s no in-flight entertainment. There was just the Jet2 magazine and safety card which only occupied my eldest son for about 5 minutes.
Thankfully, I came prepared and kept the kids occupied with the games on my iPhone, Amazon Kindle and the movies I’d downloaded. I highly recommend being prepared – download your own games and movies before a flight and make sure they are fully charged. Travel to the airport without letting the kids play on devices if you have to. Otherwise it will be a very long 2.5 hours if you choose to fly to Ibiza like we did.
Although the resort itself would be all-inclusive the flights aren’t, which means food and drinks must be paid for. Jet2 accept money and cards though. This is of course where the company squeezes its customers some more.
For example, expect to pay £1.80* for a box of small Pringles, £6 for mac & cheese £2.80 for hot drinks (tea, coffee, etc.), £1.80 for a 330ml bottle of water and £4.50 for a can of beer or cider (330ml).
The storm on the way in ended up being more of a thorn in our side than expected. We were diverted to Menorca to refuel and attempt a landing from the other side of Ibiza. It turned a plane trip that was meant to be around 2 hours to one that ended up being around 5 hours.
The Cala Verde hotel
I chose this hotel, which is part of the Invisa Figueral Resort, based on the reviews – the majority of which were good (you can access these on Jet2’s website as well as TripAdvisor). The description for the Cala Verde Hotel rated it top for families.
It had everything I wanted: pools, a supervised kids club with cameras, a water park, entertainment (including mini disco for the kids), food, drinks and a room with an incredible view.
I’d say in all it was a very enjoyable break and exactly what we needed. The resort was very kid-friendly and had all the entertainment they needed. It made the whole trip as a solo parent traveler that much easier.
One word of warning though. The resort is in a very isolated part of the island, so if you’re after a more cultural, city vibe then this place isn’t for you. If you’re after a place to chill by the pool or relax by the beach, then look no further.
I’m glad I chose all-inclusive. It made the experience much easier. Travelling as a solo parent is entirely possible if you plan ahead and make things easier on yourself.
Going in October half term (although end of season) was a perfect time to go I felt. We practically had the resort to ourselves and didn’t have to fight over sun loungers. The kids club averaged around 5 kids including mine. Apparently in the summer around 50 kids are checked in to the club – of course, they up the number of staff during the busy period.
The travel insurance
Jet2 offer travel insurance to customers through a partner company. The draw for me is that the kids would be free on the policy. What I failed to realise was that if you wanted pre-existing conditions covered you have to call their partner company separately and pay an extra premium.
In my case, I have asthma and the conventional policy would exclude any asthma related illnesses and complications. I felt it was only sensible to pay for the extra cover but I felt I should’ve compared prices myself first as I do think I could’ve got cheaper cover.
5 Tips when choosing this resort and Ibiza
- Come prepared with your own beach towels. Although if you forgot them like I did then you can buy more from a small shop next to the beach.
- Bear in mind that even though you book all-inclusive there are some food items that are not free. For example, free water park poolside snacks include two ice creams: a vanilla tub or an ice lolly. If you want a different flavor or a big Magnum, you have to pay for it. When I was there the bar didn’t accept cards. But I have to admit my children learned quickly which items were ‘free’ and part of the package, which I persuaded them to stick to.
- I wouldn’t choose this resort if I had a baby. Luckily, I didn’t have any babies, but I felt sorry for the parents who did and brought their pram along. There were lots of stairs all over and it wasn’t very pram friendly in my view.
- If you’re able to, bring your own meds. My kids developed a cough towards the end of the holiday. The only way to get medicine, if you didn’t have your own transport was to order a cab into town that would deliver it back to the hotel. There appeared to be no pharmacy nearby.
- Don’t forget about the tourism tax. They expect you to pay for it upfront before you check into your room. For me this was more of an irritation as it was insisted upon despite the fact that we arrived at 1am in the morning due to the flight delay because of the storm. I wished at the time that a bit of common sense would prevail. My tax, after all, only amounted to under ten euros. My 4-year-old was cranky and tired and the tantrum that ensued when I had to put him down to pay. I am sure woke up the entire hotel!
*All prices quoted correct as at 26 October, 2019