Having recently returned from a two week all-inclusive family holiday to Ibiza, I thought I'd share some vital tips to ensure that everything goes smoothly for those of you who are about to head out to sunnier shores.
Preparation is key and if you follow these top tips then I am certain that you'll have a blast.
1. PREPARE YOUR GUTS BEFORE YOU GO
The main reason you chose to go all-inclusive wasn't for the unlimited kids ice-cream and copious amounts of chips and hotdogs to keep your little ones content.
It was for the booze. Be honest with yourself.
It's time to go nuts and neck a load of cocktails! It's all paid for, so what the Hell right?!!
But be warned. The 'local spirits' that are on offer aren't what we are acquainted with in the UK. There's no Smirnoff, Bombay Sapphire or Jack Daniels. Nope. And the spirits that are on offer were all likelihood fermented in the Devil's basement by spawn of the underworld and they are served to inexperienced Brits abroad by the half pint measure.
To prepare your stomach for the low-budget Devil's brew, drink a few litres of drain cleaner and swish your mouth out with Mr Muscle or Domestos a few times a day before you go.
This way, your stomach will be accustomed to the sheer shock of highly toxic substances slipping down your oesophagus.
You will hopefully build up an level of tolerance so that you don't end up unbearably shitfaced/unconscious on a foreign beach- pants around your ankles with litre of vomit and shreds of your melted oesophagus encrusted in your hair.
Perhaps also consider going down the vets and mirco-chipping yourself so that if the worst happens, the local Police will be able to identify you and know what hotel you are staying in so that you can be returned safely in the very least.
2. MEN- PACK YOUR OWN BAGS!
Listen up fellas. Make sure that you take responsibity for your own holiday clothing. Go buy yourself a couple of pairs of shorts and a few T-shirts and pack them.
Don't leave everything to your wife or partner to take care of. She has quite enough on her plate with sorting out the kids and chances are that she'll just dash into Primark and grab you a load of budget T-shirts at £1.50 a pop.
Then, you'll find that your self-esteem is ripped away when you realise that the wife of every man around the pool had the same idea and everyone is dressed just as you are......and you may not come off all that great compared to others.
3. SHOW A TOWEL A GOOD TIME
Make sure that you pack an attractive beach towel to lay on your sun lounger.
If you have come away with young children, believe me that your ass will NOT sit on a sunbed for the entire duration of your holiday. You'll be too busy trying to prevent your kids from drowning and/or playing volleyball and dancing the Macarena in the pool because the holiday reps just won't take no for an answer.
So, buy an attractive towel as it will be on display for the duration.
Don't hold grudges. Don't curse your kids when you have to dance the Congo around the pool with them when all you want to do is lie down and neck a Sangria in the sun. Take comfort in knowing that your towel is having a lovely time lounging on your sunbed.
It's a real treat for most towels. They don't get out much you see.
4. PREPARE FOR EXTREME VELOCITY
Ladies and Gents, brace yourselves for the DEATH SLIDE.
If you're unfortunate enough to arrive at the pool and find one of these bad boys waiting for you, then you must be fully prepared to ride the deadly slide.
Your kids will insist upon it.
Sadly, I wasn't prepared to handle the sheer turbulence of darting down a slide at 40 mph in front of a crowd of German and Spanish sunbathers.
And what's even sadder is that neither was my Asda's own 'extra- supportive' swimming costume.
If you haven't got adequate travel insurance to cover having invasive surgery to remove your costume from your colon, or if you aren't comfortable with flashing your low hangers to a crowd of strangers, then make sure you pack a roll of gaffer tape in your case and secure all loose parts down before mounting the deathly slide.
6. STAY AWAY FROM THE GIFT SHOP
Aside from unlimited Margaritas, another reason that you chose to go all-inclusive was to save cash. Everything you need has already been paid for, so in theory, you shouldn't have to cough up for any extras whilst away.
Based on this, I beg you, STAY AWAY from the local gift shop.
The bright colours of the rubber rings and buckets and spades dancing in the breeze will draw your kids in like moths to a flame and you won't be able to leave the shop until you've spent £9 on a lollypop bigger than a human head.
The lolly pop will be licked 4 times before it makes it way to the bin.
Avoid the shop and avoid bankrupcy. It's that simple.
7. ELASTIC TROUSERS ARE A MUST
Despite paying through the nose to ensure that your family has access to a unlimited spread of food on your holiday, your kids will survive solely on bread, chips and icecream for the duration of your stay.
You'll encourage them to try the dodgy looking fish fingers on the kid's buffet, but the bottom line is that if they're not Captain Birdseye's, they ain't getting past their lips. Only the bread will be accepted....but not the crusts (as standard)
So, in order to relieve the sheer anger at having paid three grand for some bits of bread and multiple bowls of cold pasta swirls, you and your partner are going to have to reclaim your money by caning the entire buffet all by yourselves.
Like Joey Tribianni, this is how you'll win all your money back.
Forget wearing tight evening dresses and slinky shorts. You're going to have to invest in some elasticated baggy pants as you'll be eating Paella, burnt steak, chicken curry, mash potatoes, cold chips, and bowls of bright green blancmange at every sitting for the next two weeks.
8. BEWARE OF THE CROUCHING TODDLER
And finally, if you see your child crouching down in the position as shown then you must ACT FAST!
Don't take it for granted that your potty-trained child won't let you down on this occasion. If you see this, leap into action and grab your child out of the pool.
No one likes a stool in the pool.
Enjoy everyone! And watch out for those Pina Coladas!....you don't want to be 'caught in the rain' with your pants around your ankles!!