Why you should treat your kids to holidays, not things

According to a recent survey, the UK has the second highest spend per child on toys. Coming in at a whopping £508 per year, it’s safe to say we’re a nation that values our material goods, but what would you say if we told you that these items actually contribute very little to your child’s wellbeing? Read on to find out more…

family cycling holidays buy experiences not things
Few can deny the initial joy that purchasing the latest gizmo-gadget can bring, both to yourself and the little ones! From the latest lego creation to a fluffy talking animal, the list seems endless these days! Many would say this is a great way to keep the little kids happy, but Oliver James, Britain’s best-selling psychological author, disagrees:

“Do you have any idea what an extraordinary proportion of presents we give children aren’t actually wanted or valued? […] Give a two-year-old a present and she’ll get absorbed in the box instead,” says James. “It’s similar with children and travel. We should let them explore their own ways of finding wonder in their surroundings.” 

James argues that material objects do very little to stimulate your children and you’d be better off putting your money towards family holidays, experiences and creating memories together instead. We tend to agree too, as after all, a time spent doing something exciting together is much more valuable and precious than a new shiny iPhone or the latest toy trending in the schoolyard! With this in mind, we thought we’d break down why exactly we think treating your family to a holiday, not things, is far more rewarding long term:

Memories last longer
You might say that things last longer than experiences. And you’re probably right! That toy you bought you’re kid for Christmas will physically last longer than a holiday in Europe that comes and goes. However, the joy of material things fades quickly, but the memories you gave your family, by taking them on a holiday to experience another country, will last longer and will be much dearer to you and your family. Isn’t it also great that you don’t need any additional storage in the house to put all your memories and experiences? It all stays in your heart (and photos).

Escape every day’s routine
Traveling and having experiences gives you a chance to do something different from your daily routine. This will help you and your kids to feel refreshed and rejuvenated when getting back to your daily tasks. It also gives you a lot of stories to share with your colleagues (or classmates) and friends!

Long-term benefits

Increasingly, modern toys put distance between family members, removing children to their own room or a screen. While shared experiences, like holidays together, connect us more to each other and strengthen the emotional bond. Some researchers even argue that traveling makes children smarter and more aware of the world, and we definitely agree!

So, next time instead looking for things to buy the wee’ bairns, try to look for something you can experience together and make memories that will help set them up for life.

family cycling holidays buy experinces not things

Feeling inspired?
Take a look at our range of family cycling holidays and experience the world on two wheels like never before!

France: a la mode!

For our latest giveaway we asked you to tell us your favourite thing about France! We absolutely loved reading your responses and for the evident love you all share for this spiritual home of cycling. From fine wine and cheese to safer two-wheeled experiences, here are just few of the things you all can’t get enough of:

 A la carte

‘… well, France! First voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)? Think a romantic dinner near the Seine river, not Aguilera.’ Vera Albuquerque

‪‘… the food, and earning the food by pedaling!’ Jamie Emerson

‘… wine, only because I have not had the opportunity to cycle there yet. Having had the opportunity to have John Walsh as a guide in Costa Rica, I would love to experience riding in France with Saddle Skeddale.’ Kathy Campbell

For the joy of cycling…

‪‘… the way drivers leave plenty of space! Not to mention the glorious scenery and food.’ Ruth Mayorcas

‪‘… being able to cycle and not feel like drivers ‘are out to get you’ & of course the gorgeous wine and cheese.’ Fiona MacCallum

‪‘…”le trajet” or “the ride” ‘ David J McDonàgh

 ‘… everything, but especially the mountains’ Dewi Evans

Because it makes a great pun



We want to send a big thank you to everyone who participated and congratulations to Colin Bays, who is now the owner of a signed copy of ‘France en Velo’ by Hannah Reynolds and John Walsh! Keep your eyes peeled for more giveaways and for your chance to be featured on our blog.

Feeling inspired?

To explore our range of fantastic cycling holidays in France click here and experience the country like never before!

Conquer the Fred Whitton Challenge this year

Photography: www.steveflemingphoto.com

At 112 miles, the Fred Whitton Challenge is not for the faint hearted. Featuring some of the Lake District’s most spectacular peaks, riders face everything from Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose! With Britain’s premier cycle sportive fast approaching, we asked our guide Isobel Riley to share her experience taking on the UK’s toughest road cycling challenge last year…

Fred Whitton Challenge in Lake District

‘Tackling the Fred Whitton route is a true personal challenge, each climb testing your legs and lungs in true Lake District fashion.  For me, a few special places en route stand out:

  • Kirkstone Pass, first of the big ones, sets you up for the day to come and even has a downhill section mid-climb. Once at the top it’s ‘one down, 5 to go…I can do this’
  • Ascending Honister Pass is the first real test maxing out at around 30% – try to hold on here – breathing also helps!  After this beast you are rewarded with a stunning, rolling road skirting Buttermere. This is my favourite valley in the Lakes, remote and picturesque.  Enjoy it while you can before being rudely launched up another biggy: Newlands Pass.
  • The final two bumps, Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass, are a true test of grit and determination.  Cycling down Eskdale valley, Hardknott looming ahead like a wall of windy tarmac, and with a mixed sense of excitement and trepidation, there is nowhere to hide. The only way is up as they say. The first time I conquered this ‘nemesis’ I actually shed a few tears, before jubilantly making my way down the technical, steep descents into the fast, rolling Little Langdale valley.

The Fred Whitton sportive is recognised as the most iconic cycling event in the country attracting riders from all over Europe. If you want stunning scenery, challenging climbs, sweeping descents and rolling valleys this trip is for you!’

lake district challenge

Preparing for the Fred Whitton?

If you’ve signed up for this infamous Lake District route this year, fear not! For those seeking the perfect training plan, why not join our Classic Passes road cycling tour in Lake District, which follows pretty much the same route, takes place just before the big event and also conveniently splits up the challenge over two days, enabling you to really get to know the climbs and glean some knowledge from our expert guides, to help you on the big day.

Hey, even if you’ve not signed up for Fred Whitton, our road cycling tour is a great opportunity to test yourself on the iconic route, albeit in a more manageable (and hopefully enjoyable!) way.

For more information about our Classic Passes holiday click here.


The official blog of Saddle Skedaddle cycling holidays. Featuring everything from destination highlights to top picks from the team….