Planning a Holiday with a Toddler series

Holidays with your toddler are a slightly different prospect than when it’s just you and your partner. This blog series provides tips for planning a holiday and travelling with a toddler.

Planning a holiday with a toddler

I love nothing better than visiting somewhere new on holiday. Since having ToddlerGirl my holidays have changed somewhat, however. Unsurprisingly, they are less frequent and less ambitious these days. Having said that, I realised the other day that she’s already been away with us six times in her not quite three years of life. That’s pretty good going!

It’s more than possible to escape for a weekend or week away with a little one, but it does perhaps take a bit of research and a slightly different approach to make sure the break is worth it.

I have put together this Planning a Holiday with a Toddler series, covering the questions I ask myself during the planning process and tips for travelling with a toddler:

Where to go and where to stay

Where do we want to go?

The obvious first question! My problem is narrowing the locations down… There are certain holidays that lend themselves to families with young children but, budgeting considerations aside, you may not want to limit yourself (and if you’re up for it, why should you!).

Our trips so far have included:

  • Cottage breaks in the UK, with lots of toddler friendly activities nearby, or better still, on site
    Our best weekend break (and I am already planning to return there next year!) has been at a farm which had amazing facilities to keep little ones busy. ToddlerGirl was in seventh heaven and it was about as relaxing a holiday as you can get with an active toddler.
  • Beach holidays abroad with some guaranteed sunshine
    ToddlerGirl adored spending hours at the beach digging in the sand and splashing in the sea. We had access to a swimming pool at our accommodation and were staying in a very family friendly resort each time.
  • A jam-packed long weekend in Edinburgh
    Don’t rule out a city break. Many cities have a whole range of places to visit that are great for little ones but this style of holiday may take a bit more forward planning.

Really, nowhere is impossible. We haven’t braved a long haul destination yet but I’ve been seriously tempted. The cost of the flight for ToddlerGirl being my main reason for stalling for the time being! We also haven’t attempted any camping as I’m not sure how well she would sleep (and I’m not a big camper anyway) but camping is always a popular option for lots of families.

Where will we stay?

Once we’ve decided where we’re going, accommodation is our next big consideration. Some of the questions I ask myself before booking include:

Planning a holiday with a toddler - where to go & where to stay

Are there any self catering facilities?
I personally find self catering by far the easiest option when travelling with ToddlerGirl. We have stayed in fully equipped cottages, a lovely villa, and an aparthotel with some limited self catering facilities (a fridge, microwave and two hobs). Being able to store food and drink and rustle up a snack or light meal gives us that little bit more flexibility.

What will the sleeping arrangements be?
Is there a separate bedroom available or space in our room? A spare room or sofa bed in the living room is a useful luxury if your little one is anything like ours and gives you broken nights, as one of us can at least get some sleep and be fresh in the morning!

Do we need to bring a travel cot or will the accommodation provide one?
Now ToddlerGirl is older, she’s outgrown travel cots but I’m not sure she’s quite ready for a big bed in a separate room, so we have an inflatable toddler bed that worked really well on our last weekend away and comes in a smallish bag for easy packing. If your child will do OK in a bed on their own, the accommodation may be able to provide a bed guard.

What facilities are there on site or nearby?
A beach, a pool, a playground or even just some outside space that we can use are all great for keeping ToddlerGirl entertained if we aren’t ready to head out for the day. We had none of that for our city break in Edinburgh but our apartment was very central so we could get up and out quickly every morning.

Is there anywhere for us to sit after bedtime?
This is really important as far as I’m concerned! What’s the point in going on holiday if the two of us get no down time in the evening?! I’ve found accommodation with a separate living area for all our breaks so far. If you’re in a hotel and only have one room, check whether there is a balcony at least for you to escape onto it after your toddler has gone to sleep.

Is there a bath?
This isn’t a dealbreaker but I’d need to be prepared to be showering ToddlerGirl every evening.

Where is the accommodation located?
When it was just the husband and me, long transfers from the airport to our accommodation weren’t a big deal, and not being in a central location was fine. With ToddlerGirl, these things aren’t out of the question – as long as I’ve thought about them in advance. Are shops, restaurants and places to visit within easy walking distance? Do we need a car? Is there parking available? Can we hire a car seat? If we are using public transport, are we close to the bus/train/tube stops?

The next post looks at tips for travelling by car with a toddler.

Find links to the whole Planning a Holiday with a Toddler series below:

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