One of our favourite things to do is to travel. Pre-children, the husband and I would regularly make the most of any opportunity to explore the world, near and far!
Kids have made that a little tougher but we always promised ourselves that we would continue to travel once we had a family of our own. So far so good! Our 3 year old isn’t doing too bad on the old country bingo so far!
This year we were lucky enough to get away to the very beautiful coastal town of Ericeira in Portugal as well as a few staycation weekends in the UK. Believe it or not, the journey times were probably just as long to get to Portugal, as to Cornwall or the Isle of Wight, but given this unprecedented weather we’ve been having it was actually warmer here! Weather aside, we have had some wonderful trips this year already and I’m sure that it will continue to be a huge part of our family life.
Carry on reading for some of my top tips for getting away with a young family.
My top 5 tips for getting away when you have a young family:
- Enrol family or friends to come along with you!
We were very lucky this year in that my parents gladly came along with us to Portugal but we have also been away with my husband’s side of the family, and with friends too. Not only does this make for some excellent quality-time for us all but it also shares the load of worrying about the kids! This year, having extra hands around made it easier from the get-go. My parents were able to help us with our 10 (yes 10!) pieces of luggage through the airport; they took turns entertaining the girls on the flight and once we were on holiday, they even offered to babysit so that we could have a date night! Sometimes its nice to go away just as a family of four, but I have the most incredible memories of big family holidays from when I was little and so I can only hope that our girls will feel the same!
2. Rent a baby-friendly villa/property.
We have now stayed in a range of hotels, apartments, villas and cottages with the girls and all have their pluses/minuses. Having said that, whilst the girls are both so little, we find a baby-friendly villa has definitely been our favourite option! Finding somewhere with high-chairs, cots, stairgates etc all available at your disposal when you get there saves an awful lot of packing at home, and an awful lot of stress when you arrive. There are some fab providers which have a huge selection of baby-friendly accommodation so be sure to shop around! Why not check out Blue Chip Holidays for UK based travel or TotsToTravel for any trips further afield.
3. Learn some key words and phrases in the language that you might need!
Now this one might not be for everyone but for me it is a real must-do! As you know I’m a huge language lover and really enjoy finding new vocabulary in different languages. But this is also a fairly practical suggestion too! Asking for a high-chair at a restaurant, or where the baby-change is can make a real difference to your experience! And on a more serious note, it can be a real help should you need any medical advice too! We’ve been abroad twice now and needed the advice from a pharmacist! Thankfully my French was enough to get a tick removed from my daughter’s leg and I was just about able to ask for some child paracetamol on our recent trip to Portugal!
4. Make sure you pack snacks, toys and more snacks.
No matter how you’re travelling or where you’re travelling to, you can never take too many snacks with you!! If your children are anything like mine, a snack can give you a good minute’s respite in even the most terrible temper tantrums! Similarly, make sure you take some familiar toys that you know will be a hit! We seem to take our play tea-set wherever we go! If you’re flying somewhere, or equally going anywhere on a longer journey you could even try wrapping up some little toys! The wrapping paper is half the fun when you’re two years old!
5. Don’t be afraid!
Having children puts a lot of people off travelling, but in our experience it has always been worth the journey time once we have arrived at our destination! Last year we took our eldest who was almost two to California and whilst it was a long flight, and I was also fairly heavily pregnant at the time, the trip was absolutely incredible and we made some wonderful family memories. Yes she may not remember it in years to come, but my husband and I will. We’re not sure where is next on our list but I’m sure it will be an adventure wherever we end up!
What are your top tips for travelling with children? Have you got any favourite places that you go?
Let me know – I’d love to hear from you!