And as the days become shorter and the nights longer, I know we all find ourselves dreaming of sunnier times, less layers of clothing and Summer holidays. They say Summer bodies are made in the Winter. Well, do you know what else is made in the Winter? Summer holiday plans.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love it when the leaves start to fall and the nights draw in and get cosier, but sometimes I can’t help but wish we were on holiday somewhere lovely and warm with the boys. Our Winter holiday of choice is usually a UK break followed by skiing so it’s nice to think about what we might do and where we might go in the Summer. As it happens, with the two boys, we have to make sure that any time we go away that it’s totally child friendly.
Location, Location, Location
They say that “change is as good as the rest” so does it really matter about where you go? Well, I think so. The location has to come top of the list because, while the Maldives sounds like an incredible holiday, it’s probably not totally practical for a 4 and 2 year old. Location really sets the tone for a holiday and I’d really like to explore more of Europe with the boys before we take them further afield. I just think that keeping it close to home has some familiarity about it, you can go for a short weekend break or a full on month away and still be relatively close to home if you want to be.
Tots To Travel are a company who specialise in family friendly holidays and they have some of the best locations! When we go skiing, we go to France and I think I’d love to have a family Summer holiday there quite soon. France calls to me in so many ways; the French chateaus, beautiful countryside, little villages, some beautiful beaches and of course the bread! Tots To Travel have found some really amazing family friendly villas and holidays in a choice of regions and it’s with peace of mind that I’ll be able to explore locations all over France, and all over the world, when booking to go away with the little ones.
Home Away From Home?
Accommodation plays a huge factor when travelling with kids. You can’t just up and go somewhere and hope you can grab a night in a hostel (well, you can but it’s pretty risky!) and a lot of it requires more forward planning.
Obviously it’ll depend on the ages of the kids, the family dynamic, personality and preference but there are so many ways to sleep well. Whether you do choose the hostel route or whether you end up on a home farm it’s about finding a place to stay that suits all your needs.
Finding accommodation that’s both trusted and reliable is quite hard but it can be done if it’s done properly. Usually these types of things can make or break a holiday so this is where I think a fair amount of budget would go if it were us. Look for good ratings, check independent review sites like TripAdvisor or see if anyone can recommend somewhere that they’ve been before.
You’ll also want to see if it’s value for money, especially when this is what’s likely to eat into your funds first. If it’s got a hot tub, will you actually use it? Welcome packs are great but only if you’re self catering and even then they’re a nicety rather than necessity. You want to look out for features that aren’t so run of the mill; an outdoor space that’s child friendly, proximity to all the local life – these are the things that show providers are out to offer you the best holiday, rather than just offering you a place to stay.
Find something that suits all of you and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Don’t Be Boring!
This is probably a very personal thing as well but if I go to a different country I do like to try and explore what I can, soak up all the culture and enjoy what it has to offer. I know others prefer to just lie on a beach for two weeks and read a few books and, for me, that’s nice for a day or two but if you’ve been on holiday with kids already you’ll know you don’t get to do that.
I would suggest that this is where location comes into it. If you do your research you’ll know what places are around that you can visit and see and what there is to do. Whether you’re looking for something more relaxed like nice walks or visiting the local town, or whether you’re a thrill seeking bunch that needs activities, make sure everything is within reasonable travelling distance.
I’m absolutely not suggesting there needs to be a second by second itinerary but it’s certainly nice to have things planned, especially if you want to engage the kids and wear them out ahead of bedtime.
Relax A Little
I know when I’m at home that I quite like to have routine but when we’re out and about I do like letting the kids explore. The greatest thing you can take with you is patience and time. Kids love to explore, they love the experience of anything really; whether it’s being on a plane, exploring the ferry or picking up yet another stick while you’re out and about, just take your time.
Kids don’t usually care for the pressures of travel, they’re super adaptable and tend to cope better than us adults who get the huff if something doesn’t go to plan. Embrace it, roll with it and enjoy it – you want this to be a holiday of a lifetime, not one you regret booking.
Education And Experience
When we go on holiday I have this big idea that wherever we go and whatever we do, I’d like it to either be educational or a complete experience. I want the kids to create memories and have fun but I also want them to learn about the places we go. Is there anything better than learning from travel? I think I would constantly travel with my kids if I could.
It’s during these holidays that we interact with our kids more because they’re not at school, we’re not at work and we get to immerse ourselves in family life – don’t get me wrong, some days I’d rather be at work or the kids at school. It might be hard work but the rewards are so much greater in the long run.
What are your top tips for travelling with kids? Is there somewhere you visit year upon year?
*This is a collaborative post.