We all look forward to our holidays, time spent with family relaxing or simply getting away and recharging the batteries, lazing around getting a tan before getting back to the everyday grind of the workplace. Sounds like the perfect break to me, or does it? With today's focus being on healthier lifestyles and exercise it makes me think why not look for a change?
Having kept in a comfort zone of beach holidays and sticking to what I know it was a challenge to find something a little different bearing in mind it had to be family orientated, something that will appeal to my children too? Only having one holiday abroad per year like most families we would want something that we would all enjoy and remember. That's when I thought about what we need out of a holiday?
When we go on a beach holiday, we spend the majority of the time swimming, biking or lounging about, then in the evening strolling round the local area, sampling the local cuisine. When we holiday in England we take our bikes, fishing rods and swimming costumes and do pretty much the same. That's when I decided that an activity holiday would cater for all.
Not quite knowing where to start I searched for activity holidays and to my surprise stumbled upon ski holidays. I thought that ski holidays were simply that? Never having been skiing myself it didn't appeal to me to spend my whole week learning to ski, but there is so much more to these holidays than meets the eye.
Ski resorts during the summer season don't always have the amount of snow to offer purely ski holidays and therefore offer Activity holidays or Healthier holidays as an alternative. The Alps are fast becoming the 'place to be' for summer activity holiday makers and people seeking something a bit different to occupy their precious time away, very much aiming their holidays at families too both for families with young children with creches and child minding services to families with older children who want to be in the thick of the activities.
I found that Ski resorts are now adopting a summer mountain and active pursuits programme with a vengeance, and especially with a view to bolstering the ski season. Ski lifts turn into 'up lifts' for mountain bikers and walkers, and ski hire shops turn into bike hire and hiking shops as the summer takes a grip.
Mounting biking is not the only activity these holidays offer, climbing, hill walking, white water rafting, sailing and other water sports that are suitable for all ages and abilities if youre brave enough to try something different!
However for those of us who still want to retain an element of relaxation it must be remembered that activity holidays can be relaxing too, perhaps a spot of tennis and a relaxing swim, lunch in a mountain restaurant or a spot of shopping in the boutique style shops, whilst the rest of the family hits the piste, then regrouping in the evening to experience the diverse range of cafe culture, bars, restaurants and stunning sights to see sampling the local cuisine and entertainment.
Once the decision had been made I then turned my attention to accommodation. Ski Chalets, chalet style bungalows, hotels, I was spoilt for choice the accommodation suited all size groups solo travelers to groups of 25 plus, so as you can imagine a family of five was no problem. Self catering or catered? all inclusive or budget accommodation? There was something on offer to suit all pockets, all inclusive packages could be booked which included flights, transfers and an Activity rep to meet and greet. How much easier could it get?
A wide selection of French Resorts including Chamonix, Morzine, les Gets and Tignes to choose from and each offering similar holidays in the fresh mountain air of the Alps, avoiding package holiday makers and tourists, all that was left was to book.
We booked our holiday with Alpine Elements who offer winter ski holidays or summer activity holidays, it was simple. We had a self catering chalet, but still ate out on occasion tasting the delights of the local cuisine, we tried as many of the activities and outdoor pursuits as we could fit into our holiday.
We sampled the bars and cafes and yes I indulged in a bit of shopping and we still came back with a tan! I would recommend activity holidays to anyone especially those with children. We had a great time and came back with lots of memories. I would definitely go again, but don't just take my word for it, try it yourself, you never know!
Shaun Parker has been at the forefront of the Skiing Industry for 15 years. Now serving over 10 000 clients per year for European snowboarding, mountain biking, activity and ski holidays, Alpine Elements provide the complete package for all Apline holidays all year round.
For more information visit http://www.alpineelements.co.uk