It’s about that time of year that we all start thinking of holidays. When you are single and/or childless you can go on amazing holidays that are lovely and exotic and also relaxing. Unfortunately when you have kids, the reality is a little bit different!
Little H is almost 5 so luckily we’ve been through the worst bits of going on holiday with a baby – travelling with a toddler isn’t fun either.
We’ve been the parents with a fidgeting and screaming child on the plane, getting tuts and dirty looks from other passengers. We’ve been the parents taking it in turns to have 5 minutes peace while the other one chases a small person down the beach. And we’ve been the parents roping the grandparents into going on holiday with us so that we have some back-up.
If you are thinking of going abroad with small people, here are my tips for going on holiday with kids…
This is my top tip when travelling with children. If you’re in a position to go away with your parents or in-laws do it! You can have a night out on your own, sit still for 5 mins while someone else takes them for a walk, and we all know that kids are so much better behaved when Nanny & Grandad are around.
Take plenty of snacks
I would definitely recommend taking some of your child’s favourite snacks, whether it’s crisps, rice crackers, breadsticks or whatever they love the most. They’ll be a godsend on the plane, but also really handy to have in your bag if you need to bribe them to get in the pushchair or sit still in a restaurant. Foreign alternatives might not be the same, you know how fussy kids are.
Think about entertainment
A top tip for taking children on a plane is to take as much entertainment with you as possible. iPads, books, colouring, toys, travel games, take as much as you can fit in your bag! A must for the plane, especially during takeoff and landing when children need to stay in their seats. These things will also be handy to keep them occupied if you go back to your hotel in the afternoons.
Don’t forget the dummies
If your child has dummies take loads with you. A lot will get lost or covered in sand, and you don’t want to be trailing around shops trying to find replacements that your baby will accept. Also a godsend for takeoff and landing when children tend to get fussy.
Paddling pool for the beach
If possible buy a little cheap paddling pool in a beach shop when you get there. We found putting Little H in it on the beach with a few toys was a bit like a playpen and kept her still for a while. We also put blankets in it if she wanted to nap while we were still at the beach, and even used it as a baby bath when our villa only had a shower!
Baby-proof with a travel cot
Villas are rarely baby proof so if you can hire a travel cot it will come in really handy when you’re trying to get ready. You can take 2 baby items for free on most flights so if you have a travel cot at home it might be worth taking it with you. There may also be places nearby where you can hire baby items for a week or two.
Take your own car seat
If you’re hiring a car take your own car seat. The first time we went to Spain when Little H was 1 we hired a car seat from the car hire company – it cost us £5 a day and was the most difficult one I’ve ever used. You can take it for free even on cheap flights so it’s definitely worth it.
Pick a family-friendly hotel
I don’t know about you but family hotels full of horrible kids, over-enthusiastic holiday reps and cheesy entertainment aren’t exactly my idea of a perfect holiday. However, when you have kids it is so much easier to stay in places where they do help to entertain the kids and no one bats an eyelid when they scream in the restaurant. It also helps if you have a decent sized family room to go back to for a rest and entertain the children for a while to give everyone a chance to wind down.
If you’re off on a family holiday soon, I hope some of these tips for travelling with children will help to make your holiday a bit easier. Have a great time!