When I leave the house with my little one, not only do I need my handbag and essentials, there is a huge ticklist of things I need to ensure that I bring along for my little one. To name but a few, a drink, snacks, nappies, wet wipes, Sudacream, a few toys, portable changing mat, spare set of clothing… basically everything except the kitchen sink! Travelling light is no longer an option. One has to be prepared for any and every eventuality. So, when I consider what I need to prioritise when I am looking to book a family holiday, my mind boggles considering all of the varying facilities, services and options that I need to keep in mind, before I’ve even booked.
With this in mind, I’ve put together a guide on how best to book a baby-friendly holiday.
1. Location – Flight Time
When I have booked our family holiday this year, I have considered a few different things regarding the location we will visit. What is the flight time involved? I have stuck to a four hour radius from the UK, as you also have to consider time spent in travelling to the airport, time spent checking in, time spent boarding, the actual flight time itself, and then the transfer time. Any further than 3-4 hours (with a two hour check-in prior to this) was set as off limits. Not only would Ethan get tired and unhappy at being restricted, he would be limited by what he could drink with the 100ml carry on limit. At home, I struggle to get him to sit still for more than five minutes, this boy has so much energy! Asking him to sit still for more than 3-4 hours would be very stressful for him and us.
2. Location – Temperature
Considering temperature has been very important, as I want us all to be able to be outdoors and appreciate the sunshine (anticipated, but almost guaranteed everywhere, apart from the UK!) We have a very active family, and want to be able to visit the beach daily, go to a water park & take long walks in the area to absorb the culture. If it gets too hot this can make things very difficult, especially overseas! We will of course bring a bucketload of sunscreen, but the midday sun can be dangerous for young babies, if it gets too hot and they are exposed to this for lengthy periods of time. Given this, we have decided to go away at the end of May. Not only is it at the beginning of the holiday season (hoping it will be quieter), it should also be a little cooler.
Letoya & Ethan love to play, especially where water is involved. What does this mean for me? An endless pile of washing! This is one of the reasons that we have chosen to book an apartment, with great facilities. If needed, we can wash our clothes midway through the holiday, safe in the knowledge that they will dry within hours. We have a cooker and a fridge to accommodate for any hunger pangs and Ethan’s love of milk. The accommodation offers dining facilities with a high chair also, which will make breakfast time a breeze, which is what you want on a relaxing break. I love to stay in luxurious hotels and see it as a break from the day-to-day chores that I face, but, by booking an apartment within a hotel complex, I have all of the facilities that a hotel offers, with the home conveniences too!
4. Activities Available
I love nothing more than exploring the areas that I visit and absorbing the culture, by visiting places of interest. However, that isn’t really on my children’s agenda! When I looked to book our holiday I did some internet research to see what facilities were available at the hotels, including kids clubs, swimming pools and on-site parks. I identified a water park within a couple of miles of the complex, the beach within a five minute walk, a wildlife park close by also. Whilst I am sure the beach alone will keep Letoya & Ethan more than happy (with the caseload of inflatables we own thrown in!), it is nice to know that there are other activities that we can look at.
It seems that more and more destinations that I grew up visiting are now considered to be ‘no-go’ areas. As a parent, when I travel I want to ensure that we are visiting somewhere safe, that poses as little of a risk as possible. I have set our boundaries to within Europe this year, and decided on the Canary Islands, as these are a popular tourist destination, with great facilities. Being a member of the EU we can carry along our EHIC (European Health Insurance) cards, should we need to use them!.
Speaking from a mother’s perspective, we are constantly juggling work, home and family life, on a conveyor belt that doesn’t stop spinning. Take some time out to relax and appreciate the wonderful family that you are blessed with, away from the stress of 9-5 living.
So…Let the countdown begin! I am like a big kid with holidays!
Where are you going on holiday this year? Are there any belongings you simply couldn’t leave home without? If you were stranded on a desert island what one item would you bring?…. okay I’m joking with that one.. perhaps not the best lie to feature in a travel post!