The last time I went on holiday abroad, I was 28 weeks pregnant and enjoyed a quiet and relaxing week away with my wonderful mum at a spa in Greece where I “whaled” away my days swimming and sleeping in the sun. Before that it had been several years since I had been abroad, in fact I think it was when I left Sicily to move back home in 2012. I had either never had the money or gotten around to it. Since Alyssa was born, we have been away for a few weekends with family but we haven’t really been on a proper holiday. Going freelance as a blogger and being a single mum it has simply come down to the fact that I haven’t been able to afford it and it is better for us not to have gone whilst she was young and wouldn’t really remember (despite the fact I am in desperate need of a lovely break away or some sunshine!) However, this year we are actually going to be in a position to go away on possibly two holidays, one abroad and one in the UK (can’t beat good old classic English seaside holidays sometimes) and so we’ve been enjoying perusing the web for places we could potentially visit for our much needed holiday. This is the first holiday I have been on in a very long time with a small child and it makes you look at places in a completely different way doesn’t it…
So to start with we began every search with Dr. Google and just randomly started searching for holidays… yeah this was just like BOOM, BAM, SMACK IN THE FACE, too much of what I didn’t want to see and not really focused enough for the family holiday that we are looking to go on if I am honest. Then we came across Tots to Travel which was literally like a hallelujah chorus moment! I had never heard of it before but instantly knew that I had found what I was looking for – holidays perfect for families with lots of different ages and tastes, brilliant!
We haven’t actually decided yet as we are still waiting for some family members to confirm dates they are available from work etc but what we have done is make a list of all the things that are essential for us as a family for an upcoming holiday. I thought I’d share them with you guys because then perhaps it could become a check list for you when you are looking for your next holiday with the kids:
- Safety – I know it sounds boring to begin with but one of the first things I am looking at is how safe the hotel/villa/lodge looks or for a better phrase, how toddler friendly. Are there lots of nick-nacks she is going to wreck? Are there too many stairs she is going to obviously fall down? Things like that just to make sure I am not on the edge of my seat for the whole holiday.
- Distance – I am not too overly bothered about flight time as we will be going somewhere in Europe and there will be a few adults and I intend to arm myself with a lot of distractions so the flights not too much of a bother. However, what we are keen to try and keep on the shorter side are the transfers from the airport to the holiday location. There is nothing worse than getting off a flight and then having to travel even more hours via hot sticky coach to get to where you desperately want to be.
- Amenities – At the very top of our list is the pool, well it had to be really didn’t it? It’s okay to have a big pool that adults can take her in but she loves being able to stand or sit in water herself and splash and she is also trying to swim a little too so we have been looking for locations with both big and little pools so that we can all enjoy them to their full potential. We’ve also been looking for places that also have other games etc in the hotel/villa like a mini-arcade that can keep others like Rowan entertained.
- Food – this may sound unimportant because usually if there are some restaurants or a buffet nearby then you are sorted. However, we are a family that is made up of 99% vegetarians and so many times in the past we have ended up eating pizza every night for two weeks because there is nothing else on the menu so now we like to check the area to see what is around that we can all enjoy – even if it means going self catering and being near a local supermarket.
- Entertainment – I remember as a child visiting holiday parks and one of my absolute favourite things was the evening entertainment where all the children would get up and dance at the disco so it would be great to be somewhere we have access to entertainment like this BUT at the same time….
- Noise Level – Despite the fact we want entertainment and amenities around us, it’s also a really important factor that when we choose to go to bed we are able to and that we aren’t going to be disturbed by other holiday makers enjoying themselves.
- Temperature – I never thought I’d find myself saying this as I am a total sun-worshiper but my little one has quite fair skin so we are also checking the expected and average temperatures of different areas at different times of the year. We want to go somewhere where it is nice and warm and sunny but not somewhere that means she has to stay bathed in factor 50+ and a sun suit even at night!
- Extras – We’ve also been looking to see what places actually provide things specifically for toddlers – like cots, pushchairs, safety railings and were quite surprised by the number that now do in fact do this.
- Time – It never used to bother me what time I traveled and I really have gotten flights at all sorts of random times, but I don’t think this is necessarily very practical with a small one. I realise we might need to pay a bit more to travel at reasonable times of the day but I think to avoid tantrums and a very disrupted toddler it is better all around.
- Wifi – No not for me as I really don’t plan on blogging whilst I am away I swear! However, we will be going away without some people like Alyssa’s daddy so it will be good to have wifi so she can Skype call him. There are also those emergency situations where you need 5 minutes just to go to the loo so wifi will come in handy for emergency YouTube In the Night Garden episodes for sure!
There you have it folks – there are probably a million more things we will be looking at and considering before finally deciding where we are going but these for us are the utmost important. You may be surprised that I didn’t add kids clubs and I think at an older age they will definitely be something we consider but for now, in a foreign country and in a place we don’t know, I think I’d rather have her with us. Call me an over protective mother and yes I know I need a break but getting away will be break enough. Are there any you think I have missed that you think are important? Have you traveled with your tot and got any top tips for me?
This is a collaborative post – all thoughts and opinions are my own.