Arriving at your holiday destination in France

Hints and Tips for your Arrival By the time you have arrived at your holiday destination everyone is usually tired and fractious. It’s a good idea to have worked out beforehand who will do what on arrival – ie unpack the car, unpack the suitcases, talk to the gite owner, campsite reception, receptionist at hotel, do the shopping, make the coffee, make the beds….

Usually the children want to go off immediately, but they can be an enormous help unpacking the car, so it is a good idea to make sure they understand that they will help you before doing anything else. Once the car is unpacked, we like to send the children to the pool or to play with one adult while the other unpacks the cases and sorts out the gite. It is well worth thinking out a plan that will suit you and your family.

Something that will help your first evening if you have the time and inclination beforehand is to take with you a meal ready prepared. This gives you one less thing to think about on your arrival. We generally find that we are all to tired to want to go looking for a restaurant!

Shopping for the first few days

You will need to shop for essentials unless you are able to take them all with you. It is quite a good idea to get this done just before you arrive, especially if you don’t want to go out again and considering the supermarkets may close earlier than you are used to in the UK. The downside is that the car is usually full but we have found it possible to squeeze some extra bags in, especially if it is only for a short distance, so try and find out the location of nearby supermarkets before you travel. An alternative is to unpack the car and for one of the adults to go and shop while everyone else unpacks the suitcases and argues about where each person will sleep! And remember you can always get croissants for breakfast and a hot cooked chicken for lunch at a Sunday market (see shopping).

Arrival at a campsite. Make sure you check in with reception and locate your pitch first. If there is any problem with your pitch, take it up immediately. If your children are older, get them involved in helping with the set up – fetching water, pegging down fly sheets and such like. Once we have reached a reasonable state of organisation we usually let one of the adults go off with the kids to suss out the site, find the pool, check out the catering etc. whilst the other adult finishes of the more tedious jobs of unpacking suitcases and preparing beds. If you are really tired, don’t be afraid to put off the final unpacking until the next day when you will feel much more like it.

Many larger campsites have reasonable catering facilities, either a take away or a restaurant, and these can prove invaluable on the first and last day when you may well not feel at all like cooking a meal

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