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Family Holidays - tips and tricks

After three years of holidaying in France, here are my tips and tricks for planning your family activity holiday to France.

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I absolutely hate packing and what’s more, I’m generally rubbish at it so when it comes to packing for our family holiday to France with Rockley, to say that I procrastinate would be an understatement! No matter how many ‘This Morning segments on how to pack light for your summer holidays’ I watch – only take 2 pairs of shorts, 1 dress, 2 tops and 1 pair of flip flops (seriously, is that even doable?) it still turns out to be an arduous task! I’ve been to France on this family holiday for a few years now so by our third year, last year I had a rough idea of what I should be taking with us. I will impart what I have come to learn over the years to you in the hope that it goes some way in helping you!

The task is not made any easier by the fact that I’m packing for 2 children – luckily my husband packs his own clothes as he has no desire to take the whole wardrobe! Daisy is pretty tidy and usually just grabs the first thing that comes to hand, so not many clothes required, Joseph has a tendency to whole-heartedly embrace the outdoors and get a bit dirty therefore more stuff required. There, we have a nice balance!

Packing for the water is a priority 

Luckily our trip to France does not require us to take any bed linen or towels as this is all provided so that is a massive help as this space really is needed for rash vests, wetsuit boots and if you tend to feel the cold like I do, then a wetsuit too. On a watersports activity holiday, the priority really does have to be the water gear so get all that sorted first. I tend to take a few rash vests each for the odd days when it isn’t super-hot but we’ve still ventured out on the water both in the morning and evenings and they’ve not had the chance to dry properly. That said, the kids rarely bother about this – it’s not long before they’re messing about and wet again anyway! 

If you are a keen runner like myself then make sure you bring your trainers – there are some lovely runs to be had through the forest just outside the campsite or take to the cycle trails – perfect for the whole family.

Stuff for the kids

In the first year, a lot of space was taken up with stuff to entertain the kids - board games, cards, toys, superhero figures, books galore, the list goes on. The reality was, we barely needed any of it. By last year I figured we just needed something to keep them busy during the short hour and a half flight – by the time we’ve played cards and hangman, we’ve pretty much landed. Obviously, a lot of you will be driving so concentrate on what works for you because once your holiday at the campsite has started, you won’t need too much!

So, my advice to you in terms of what to bring for the children would be:

  • Dobble – the fact that I still cannot see what is right in front of me completely baffles me!) 
  • Playing cards
  • Uno
  • A few books 
  • Colouring books and crayons for the younger ones
  • Travel rummikub 
  • Ipad with downloaded films if they really can’t live without it! 

…..and that pretty much is it. The point is, by the time we had spent time on the water, been for a bike ride, messed around in the pool, played with friends round the campsite…..well there is time for nothing else but eating and sleeping. We have a rule that once all technology has run out of charge, it doesn’t get used which means the Ipads are packed away by the first evening – trust me you’ll realise how liberating that is if you dare to go without technology for a few weeks. I’m guessing by the very fact that you have booked this type of camping holiday, that for you it’s is all about being outside and spending time with your family anyway!


The children have an evening entertainment night on the Monday which run by the very energetic and enthusiastic instructors and is a great way for them all to get to know each other. There are also badminton sets, footballs and table tennis bats and balls for you to borrow.

Don't forget the Avon insect repellent!

Aside from the obvious passports, EHIC cards, euros and driving license – particularly if your flying and hiring a car, I recommend you bring the following:

  • Extra pegs for hanging out clothes and wet gear 
  • Fairy lights which always look great around the campsite
  • Avon’s ‘Skin So Soft Original Dry Oil Spray’ which is the ideal alternative insect and mosquito repellent and the choice of the Royal Marines
  • Men and boys – don’t forget the speedo style shorts otherwise the pool is off-limits!
  • Loads of enthusiasm!

On that note, I wish you all an amazing holiday – enjoy all the watersports on offer, the outdoors, spending time with your family and making both new friends and lovely memories!


On my return home, I always find that I have just worn the 2 pairs of shorts a few tops and yes mainly my flip flops, just as the very helpful lady from ‘This Morning’ had recommended. Maybe this year I will heed her advice!

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