Each night before we go to bed, I get J and Miss A to close their eyes and think of a happy place. I ask them what they can see, what they can hear and who they are with. J’s always consists of me, daddy, him and his sister somewhere sunny. The sky is blue, sometimes there’s a rainbow and we are usually building sandcastles on the beach or splashing in the water.
Our family holidays have already become an integral part of his happiness.
I think I know where he gets it from! As a travel journalist, I explored from Monaco to Malawi, I’ve travelled to over 50 countries and I want to show my children the world too. Last year we explored Dubai and went camping in France, and the year before we had a relaxing break in Menorca, after a Thanskgiving trip to America. Travelling with children always takes a bit more planning though and travelling with two food allergic children definitely does.
Travelling with food allergies
We are not alone though. With up to 1 in 13 children suffering from a food allergy, there are millions of families facing these same challenges. We set up the Allergy Travels website last year to help with this and have been overwhelmed by the response. People message us every day looking for information about how to travel abroad safely with food allergies.
One of the questions we get asked most often is if we can recommend an allergy friendly resort. I have written before about why I prefer a self catering holiday but there are elements you do feel you are missing out on – the kids’ club, the facilities and the beachside location that come with an inclusive holiday. So many families, like us, are looking for that experience that offers the best of both worlds, where they can switch off and relax without the daily worry of what they are eating.
That’s why I have been so excited to explore the Simpson Travel website. They offer villas, apartments and even chateaus – all of which would be great for any food allergy family – but what really stands out to me are their family villa holidays at two locations in Greece.
Periyali Villas in Greece
Periyali Villas in Zakynthos, Greece, is simply my perfect family holiday. Each detached villa, with self catering facilities, has its own private pool, fenced off for safety. A short walk through the manicured garden takes you to the large shared pool overlooking the sea and you can wander down to the nearby beach, named by The Sunday Times as one of the twelve ‘Top Beaches of Europe’.
Are you sold yet? Because if not, here comes the best part.
You get all the privacy and practicality of your own villa and pool but the facilities of a top resort and they even have a children’s club! Yes, you heard right. You can escape for a few hours or even an entire day all to yourself while the children enjoy being looked after by qualified nannies. Plus there’s more excitement for food allergy parents. In the children’s club FAQs it says:
“Parents of children attending full-day sessions will need to provide them with a packed lunch, ensuring that any special dietary requirements are catered for. Lunch boxes are provided in the villas. Please let us know if your child has any food allergies when you register.”
Family friendly touches
It’s little touches like lunchboxes being provided in the villas that show this is a really family friendly company that has thought of ways to make life easier. It’s those little things that matter. And to know they are also already thinking about food allergies and are set up for children to take their own food, only makes it more reassuring.
As we always say, allergies don’t need to stop you from doing things, you might just need to do them differently. Simpson Travel is a family company that has been running for over 40 years so they simply know what works. Graham, the founder and chairman says: “To us, the road less travelled is about going the extra mile; making the effort where others might take shortcuts.”
So next time we shut our eyes and think of our happy places, I’ll be dreaming of dipping my toes into our own private pool in Greece. I’ll be able to hear the kids’ laughter while they safely enjoy an afternoon at the children’s club, before we all stroll down to sip sunset drinks overlooking the sea.
*This is our entry to become a Simpson Travel ambassador.