Turning 40 in the not-too-distant future? If you’re reading this post because of the title the chances are the answer is yes – but don’t panic! You’re not alone!

With my 40th birthday on the horizon Misery Guts is asking me what I’d like to do for it, and given it falls in the middle of summer it would be nice to go away – if anything to try and forget it’s actually happening at all!

before turning 40

It’s fair to say our holiday budget has taken something of a hit since having the kids (I don’t suppose we’re alone in that, either) but even so, it’s got me thinking about all the holidays we’ve been on and the ones I’d still like to do.

So, I thought it would be fun to come up with a bucket list of 10 holidays to take before turning 40!

10 holidays to take before turning 40

1. A fly and flop holiday

You know the sort of holiday I mean: sun, sea, sand, a good book and not a lot else. I did not take enough of these sorts of holidays before becoming a mum, and now that I am it’s going to be at least another 10 years before I can. So, my advice is to take as many as possible while you can! And if you’re worried about flying with a plane full of strangers post Covid, you could fly private – the cost to rent a private jet might not be as much as you’d think!

before turning 40

2. A chartered yacht holiday

I’ve always fancied the idea of chartering a yacht: swimming, island-hopping, fishing and bobbing about on the water. I’ve been researching yacht holidays for the last few years and there’s so many to choose from, including Ionian yacht charter in the Greek Ionian islands, which are perfect for novices thanks to the sheltered sailing area and short island-hopping distances. The quaint harbours and bays dotted along the coastline look stunning, making this a must-do holiday for me one day!

before turning 40

3. Campervanning

If you’ve never stayed in the back of a van before, you haven’t lived! A bit like glamping, there are all sorts of campervans available to hire from traditional retro classics to brand new top-of-the-range, high-tech versions. And if you can get one with a pop-up roof, even better! I hired one from LokoCampers for Misery Guts’s 40th birthday and it was such fun, with the older two kids sleeping on the double bed at the bottom and us and the baby sleeping in the pop-up roof at the top. Memories to last a lifetime were made on that holiday (see 10 great reasons to go campervanning with kids).

 4. German Christmas markets

I don’t mean English German Christmas markets which pop up in town centres across the UK in the run up to Christmas, I mean real ones – in Germany. If you haven’t been to a German Christmas market before this should definitely be on your turning 40 bucket list. Think mulled wine, potato pancakes, the smell of cinnamon everywhere and more Christmas lights than you can shake a stick at. Our family favourite is Trier in West Germany, one of Germany’s oldest cities, which is made all the more affordable thanks to Ryanair and Airbnb.

before turning 40

5. A staycation

Say what you want about foreign holidays, there’s a lot to be said for staying a little closer to home. Especially when you’ve got little people in tow. For the same price as five plane tickets we’ve had staycations in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in recent years and we’ve all had as much fun as we would have done abroad – for half the price.

6. Glamping

From yurts to bell tents to shepherd’s huts to treehouses, when it comes to glamping there’s so much to choose from. One of our most memorable family holidays is half term spent in a yurt in a field in Sussex (see 10 reasons to take kids glamping), booked through Canopy & Stars. The youngest was only three months old but it was perfect: a proper double bed for us, day beds for the kids and a wood burning stove to keep us all toasty at night. Bathroom facilities were a solar powered shower in the woods and a composting toilet, and with no electricity at all it was the perfect chance to get away from it all.

before turning 40

7. A solo holiday

By which I mean by yourself, without anyone else. Earlier this year I travelled solo to Morocco to be at the finish line when Misery Guts completed the Marathon Des Sables, and what I hadn’t banked on was how marvelous it would be travelling and being there completely on my own. There was no airport bickering; no little people to entertain during the flight; I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and I slept and slept and slept. Priceless!

before turning 40

8. A multi-generational holiday

While travelling solo is indeed marvelous, so is going away with several generations of the family. Especially for the kids. We often go on family holidays with our parents, siblings and their kids and everyone loves it: the kids entertain themselves; the grown-ups get a much-needed break and more hands make light work on the parenting front. It’s also a chance to spend quality time with each other that you just don’t at weekends and Christmas.

before turning 40

9. An Airbnb holiday

If you haven’t tried Airbnb before, you really should! Way cheaper than a hotel because you’re staying in someone else’s home, Airbnb is the chance to stay in fantastic properties you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. If you’ve got kids in tow this type of holiday is also a great way to avoid having to take everything but the kitchen sink with you, because you can search out properties already kitted out with the amenities you need, like cots and highchairs. We’ve Airbnb’d it in both Cornwall and Germany for the Christmas markets, and loved the experience both times.

before turning 40

10. A holiday on the other side of the world

Because there’s nothing like travelling to the other side of the world to really get away from it all – and the fact you’re turning 40! Seeing orangutans in Borneo has been on my bucket list for years (google it and you’ll see what I mean), and I’d love to go back to Japan where I lived in my early 20s and experience it as a tourist. Sadly, that may have to wait until I turn 50 though!

before turning 40

Do you have a holiday bucket list? Have you been on any of the types of holidays mentioned in my list? If you have any other suggestions I’d love to know what they are!

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