We’ve been away a few times with Isabelle now, and we haven’t braved going abroad yet. We’ve been to Center Parcs about 4 times in the last two years, but we have looked into going abroad with her extensively and planning a holiday with a toddler.
First things first, it’s not an easy job sorting out a holiday before you add in the complexity of kids. Finding a hotel and then scouring the TripAdvisor reviews is no easy task, but it is one I quite enjoy. I must admit that my husband has very different tastes for locations to me, and sometimes that makes it a difficult compromise. However, there’s more to planning a holiday abroad with a toddler than just the venue. Here are my top tips.
1. Finding the right place to stay.
The difficulty we’ve had with abroad holidays is finding somewhere that we can take Isabelle that also fits in with our routine. All inclusive always seems like the obvious option but then they still don’t start serving breakfast until 7 (in some cases) and dinner at 6. Having a very hungry little bean means it’s not easy when you can’t access snacks on demand. So we started looking for other options and private villas seemed a natural choice.
Places like Tots to Travel are a great way of pinpointing suitable holidays in one go. They are tailored at finding children friendly holidays and are completely bespoke. You pick what country you fancy, how many bedrooms and how many nights – so no obligation for a 7-night stay or 10-nights only. They then show you all the villas or resorts available.
Another fab thing about the site is the promises that they make to the customers; they vet all villas and resorts completing at 30 point child safety check, make sure that all pools have barriers and provide you with a toddler kit on arrival which includes:
- At least one cot that meets EU standards
- Good supply of cot linen
- At least one high chair
- Booster or junior seat (suitable for use at a dining table)
- Baby monitor
- At least one changing mat
- Stair gates where needed
- At least one potty
- Child’s toilet seat
- Child’s step
- Baby and child cutlery, bowls, cups and plates
- Bath toys and non-slip mat
- Hand-held blender
- At least one bed guard
- Blackout blinds/curtains/shutters in child bedrooms
- A selection of children’s books and indoor toys
- DVD player and children’s DVDs
- Night light in children’s rooms
For me, this would make me relax knowing I didn’t need an extra 15kg luggage just to bring Isabelle’s cot linen and the vast selection of Peppa Pig and Thomas DVDs.
2. Pre-buy your nappies and formula (if necessary).
You can order from Boot’s online and pick up your nappies and formula when you arrive at the departure lounge. This means they won’t form part of your baggage allowance, which is invaluable when nappies are so goddam bulky!
3. Try and fly in the day.
This is a marmite type piece of advice. Some people prefer to fly overnight in the hope that the kids will sleep, but from what I can tell it’s a risky game. If they wake up they’re grouchy for the whole flight, rather than waiting until morning and flying during daytime hours.
4. Make a surprise flight goody bag for the kids.
I’ve stolen this from Mrs Meldrum. Make a goody bag with loads to keep the little’uns entertained like crayons and colouring and sticker books. I would say pop a sweet of some type in that they can eat as they take off and land. If they are swallowing some treats then it will help with the air pressure and popping their ears.
5. Take a cheap stroller.
This is a biggie. From many friends having their prams destroyed by the baggage handlers, they advised me to buy a cheap stroller that you wouldn’t mind getting damaged. Aldi do fab ones when their baby event is on, costing around £20. You can’t moan too much when that gets battered by the conveyor belt.
6. The most important piece of advice.
The most important thing about going away is to try and remember to have fun. I used to get so stressed about packing and making sure we had anything I didn’t spend much time relaxing and making memories as a family. Take loads of photos and sit back and look at your beautiful little family. It’s not often you get to spend dedicated time with each other like this.
What would you add to the list? Is there any advice you would give?
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