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Slightly disappointing first holiday away with baby(41 Posts)
So I probably sound a bit ungrateful / whiney, but hubby & I have just got back from our first holiday away with our 5 month old Son. We had 4 nights away in the North in a log cabin. We booked it when I was pregnant, thinking we'd only want to manage a few nights away with a baby that age and only want to drive for a few hours to get there. So it was easy to travel & packing wasn't so bad, cos no flying was involved etc. I just found myself yearning for the sort of holidays we used to have (a week in Italy or Greek island on a beach, eating out at night and hearing a foreign language being spoken and a different culture etc.) It just felt like we did what we do at home but further up the road. We went on long walks and saw some sights in daytime, cooked at home every night (was in back of beyond so nowhere to go anyway) and watched tv at night. It kind of left me wanting to go away again (4 nights flew by) and get some sun and see a beach! Sort of missed the intimacy of just me and my husband, that we used to get when the 2 of us headed off for a week of relaxing doing nothing! Was hard work trying to look after a baby and do stuff my husband wanted to do on holiday.
I guess I will get used to it as time goes on. It was all we could afford this year but I suspect we'll have similar UK holidays like that in future.
Anyone else feel like this on their holiday? Got any tips for fun stuff you can do with a baby on holidays? I reckon next year we'll go away when my son is a year old and a couple of months, so it'll be different again then.
Every time we go away lol! No seriously, it does get easier as they get older and can be more actively involved in everything.
Having said that, we have had some great holidays when ours were little. Yes, you have to take tonnes of baby kit, but they are so portable, unfussy, fairly easily entertained and sleep a lot!
If you want some sun and couple time, you could always look for an overseas resort with a crèche or evening babysitting. I saw on their web site that Thomson do family resorts with all you need for 0-3 year olds www.thomson.co.uk/editorial/families/thomson-family-resorts-0to3years.html
I had a similar, fairly miserable, holiday in a very rainy Cornwall when dc1 was a similar age.
We then tried taking her to Spain with us. First a long w/e in Barcelona and then a week in Malaga/Granada. It was fantastic! We'd sightsee/wonder around during the day and then go through dd's usual evening routine, but instead of putting her down in her cot, we'd put her in her buggy and then go out.
Lots of places to sit and eat outside, so no need to worry about taking up space with the buggy. Kids are much more welcome in the evenings there than many other places, so even is she woke up it wasn't a problem. It was lovely.
Now the dc's are 7 and 3 and we just take them out in the evening. They quickly adjust to having an extra rest during the day and/or lying in a bit longer in the morning.
Beach hols don't work until the kids are ~3 IME, but you will get back there one day!
I think holidays with children can be very stressful as they are so different from the sort of holidays where you can do exactly what you like - every holiday we now have is a compromise - you need to find things that you all enjoy - even my DH and I differ about what we like to do on holiday - he is into outdoor stuff/hiking/camping whereas I love cities/relaxing/National Trust houses that sort of thing.
No idea what the answer is. . We didn't have a summer holiday this year and actually I didn't mind at all.
We had a rainy week in Wales when DS was 6 months old. It was pretty rubbish as he was having two naps a day so we had to fit everything in around that or be driving at the right time etc. We also all got a cold too
and the inlaws visited
We then had a weekend at Center Parcs when he was 18 months old. That was much better as everything was close by, he was better catered for and, frankly, DS was more fun to be around by then.
We've had a holiday with my parents this summer to Portugal (DS 2.4). It was ok but would have been less so if we hasn't had others there to babysit so we could have a couple of nights out.
DS2 is due in December and we've decided that we probably won't bother with anything bigger than weekends away for the next few years. Even the cheapest sunny package holidays for 4 will set us back at least £1,500 and I can't see that we'd actually get that much out of them that we couldn't from a couple of days at the beach and a short last minute break to Center Parcs.
We're thinking of saving our money and taking them somewhere amazing when they're older, like a safari or Florida maybe. Then they can stay up for meals in the evening and entertain themselves more during the day if necessary.
Its the weather that makes or breaks a holiday. I have never been on a holiday in a UK and classed it as my main holiday.
I would rather stay at home and go on holiday in the UK and it be my main holiday - sorry!
Watch safari's. Lots dont take kids under 12 for obvious reasons.
We have always been ambitious with our hols and gone long haul. Kids just dont seem to know about jet leg or suffer although they are often awake at odd times (just like us!).
Italy is fantastic with kids. They welcome them and being outside when eating definitely makes a huge difference.
I could have almost written your post OP!!
We went to Center Parcs when DS was 6 months and in my head I thought a 'holiday' would still be just that - a nice relaxing break where we would get to do the things we wanted, eat out, lie-in, spend quality time together, no stress etc.
Looking back I realise how naive this was!!!
As you say, it was just how it is at home - just in a different place!!!
We were lucky in one sense, as Center Parcs is so geared up for babies / families, a lot of the stress was taken away (ie. having changing facilities on hand, highchairs in restaurants, buggy parks, etc.) but I did come home feeling disappointed - and shattered and in need of a 'proper' holiday!!!!
We went to Center Parcs again when DS was 9 months old but this time we went with my parents and it was so much better! Just having that extra help to dress / feed DS, look after him etc. Me and DH managed to go off and have some time to ourselves which was brilliant (I miss that) and it really did feel much more like a proper break. Maybe you could take your parents / in-laws along on your next holiday?
(believe me, I was thinking the worst when we first booked it oo but actually it was great!!!)
We are hoping to go away again when DS is 18 months - somewhere abroad, sun, sea, sand etc. I'm hoping it will be a bit easier by then as he will be walking and maybe down to 1 nap a day and is eating everything etc., though I will not be so naive as to think it will be like our holidays used to be!
I think you just have to adjust your expectation a bit. You can still go for a week in Italy or Greece. Eat out (with a baby is easy). But obviously you can't pack a lot of activities in. Everything has to go slower. I found baby stage is easier than the toddler stage. You don't have to just go to the UK if you don't want to. If money is a problem and you have to compromise, how about camping in France?
Can't help you with intimacy though. Our DD became our focus when going on holidays now!
I think there are only two ways to have a real break if you've got babies/small children - either go away with people who are genuinely keen to help so that you get a bit of time "off" each day and a couple of evenings out (e.g. your parents/siblings, or another family so that you can take turns to babysit); or else go away without the child/children. We do both.
We holidayed in the UK until youngest DS was 3, couldn't contemplate dragging buggies and nappies abroad before then. Granted, we had some good times and were lucky with the weather....BUT, that first time we stepped off the plane in Menorca as a family of four.....that hot sun. Never looked back! Be patient, things will get easier but different, and your holiday preferences may have to take a back seat for a very long time!
We found Mark Warner great for kids clubs and yes, I agree an extra pair of hands is great.
I have also got the grandparents in and gone away with my DH. They are totally in charge and I think that's the only way to do it tbh. If you start dicating too much you will end up with no one wanting to do it!
I took DS to Crete when he was 6.5mo. We stayed in a Thomson Sensatori resort which is really brilliant for babies and toddlers (Mothercare cot, steriliser, bottle warmer and high chair in our room!).
Even so, I got back and guiltily confessed to my best friend "well...that wasn't much of a fucking holiday!!" - to which she laughed her head off and said she remembered feeling exactly the same after her first holiday with her kids.
Despite the lovely setting and lots of good facilities for kids, everything was v hard work: DS was still having 4 x 30 minute naps per day at that stage (and was a real rat bag if he missed one) so we spent a lot of time tryin to find somewhere cool an shady enough to rock him to sleep in the buggy. I also found I missed the entertainments of home for DS (library rhyme time, baby groups etc) a essentially we packed about 8 toys that he quickly got bored of!
Also, we tried putting him in his buggy at bedtime with a blackout cover on it, so we could have dinner out at one of the resorts restaurants whilst he slept but DS had other ideas!!!! He just wailed and wailed and kept looking at me like, mum, what the fuck? It's bedtime! Put me in bed! So we had to then spend 10 days of the holiday having dinner at 6pm the instant the restaurants opened, and then rushing back to the room to put him in bed. When then had to sit on the balcony getting bitten to death by Mosquitos and reason our books until 9pm when we went to bed :-S
So the moral f this story is, whether you for a rainy week I. Wales or a sunny week in Crete, with a baby, it ain't much of a holiday..!! I have heard that it gets better as they get older though, and can 'do' more durin the day, enjoy the pools etc, and perhaps stretch out to a slightly later dinner/bedtime than at home.
We will probably go back to Crete Sensatori next year cos it is so set up for toddlers and lots of families there were having a great time.
Taking nappies abroad isn't that bad, honestly! We had flown a few times abroad and DD is only 2.5y. She's been to the Far East (Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia), and also a couple of times to Spain (Mallorca and Barcelona). She gets full luggage allowance on the plane, and nappies doesn't weigh much. I mean it's 20-23kg! My only budget flight is to Mallorca and she was over 2yo, so maybe infants on budget airlines didn't have full luggage allowance? Obviously I only packed a week of nappies.
Buggies is a pain only in cities. We felt so sorry for those in wheelchairs. Many times DH and I lifted DD inside the maclaren up and down the stairs. We just couldn't find the disabled lifts.
But agree to all the meal times are a pain. Nothing seems to open when DD wants to eat. And then when we want to eat, it's DD's sleep time. I had the same wailed and wailed and kept looking at me like, mum, what the fuck? This is only a problem when DD is older though. Baby age was easy as DD loved the baby bjorn.
If you ask me now, I'd say definitely go more travelling when they were babies.
We must be mad though as we have just booked going to NZ new year.
We had a number of holidays abroad. When ds1 was pre-school and ds2 baby. North Ibiza, Baelerics. Soooo easy. Didn't take loads of stuff. Found it really easy. Sun. Pools. Slept in the shade. Went out to eat.
Just went with the flow.
What's stopping you?
I remember reading a very wise magazine article when DS was about that age "a holiday with a baby isn't a baby, just your normal life in a different location".
We didn't go abroad because we were concerned about DS's fair skin so did Wales in a caravan. We could do historic places etc but, as you say, it's nothing like that last holiday we had before DS, in Crete, where we wandered around markets, and rode local buses, and ate at tables on restaurant roofs.
Agree with OneLittleTT - it's about adjusting your expectations. You won't have holidays like you used to pre-children now for another 20 years of so, but that doesn't mean you can't have some lovely holidays .
The key to self catering is being near enough to places to either eat out, or bring in takeaways. The other way is to have a good meal in the middle of the day when you are out and about, and not cook in the evening. I'd agree it's not a break if you are cooking every night.
We took our dc away in UK for years - eldest dc was 11 before we ventured abroad, and, we've had some lovely holidays and made some great memories.
I was sat at the airport this year (a 6 hour wait for a delayed flight) and thought to myself how glad I was that I wasn't trying to do that with a baby and a toddler.... that's before we even got on the plane. Of course, if you go anywhere too hot you will be spending a lot of time trying to keep the baby out of the heat, then, once toddling, from not falling into the pool, etc. - by going abroad, the holidays won't be the same relaxing times you had as a couple, remember.
Holidays with a baby?
Same old childcare in a crap sub-standard environment.
It gets better - mine are both at school and we were body-boarding this summer. Really quite entertaining.
I think the OP says money. So they ended up somewhere that's basically like home. The point I'm sure is if the OP wanted action packed holidays or just a relaxing one. DH and I were the action packed type, and that had become really difficult with a toddler. (Again baby was easy. DH carried DD everywhere). But we have to adjust our expectation.
And I think the cooking in every night is a killer too. That sounds like a lot of work! I really enjoyed the AI we had in Mallorca this year. Pool, beach and no cooking. We did escape the hotel for 2 days, going to the old town and also on a all island tour. I would have a look at Crete Thomson Sensatori. DH loved Crete and I haven't been to it yet. Centre Parcs I've heard lots of people raved about. But then you won't hear foreign language being spoken though!
OneLittleToddleTerror is right, sorry - you need to adjust your expectations. Or invite other people along! But kids won't know that it is a 'holiday' for years yet, they will still want a similar routine, to maybe have a nap in the day time, to go to bed at a reasonable hour etc.
We're doing self-catering in the UK or maybe France for the next few years, either with family or friends with similar aged DC. That way we can get the odd day or evening off.
Absolutely nothing stopping you from going abroad and getting some sunshine, but without some back up you're not going to be able to do the same things you did before.
We took DD abroad to Mallorca at 5 months and it ws lovely. We hired a small villa, but ate out some evenings with her in her buggy (and had lunch out other days so we did not feel like we were cooking a lot). It was lovely and felt like a holiday, in part having DH around all day to help made a difference (I was still on maternity leave when we went). We took DD swimming in the pool, and out people watching in the near by towns/beaches etc. We also did some sight seeing with her in her sling. Got to do a lot of reading by the pool, in part becuase DD still had a long sleep in the middle of the day, and in part we took it in turns to entertain her. Different from some holidays of old, but still lovely and def felt like a proper holiday. Since then (with 2) we have done various different things, a lot of holidaying with friends, some holidaying in hotels with kids clubs (although tend to use them just an hour or 2 here or there), some quite ambitious (Australia, Costa Rica etc) and some in the UK (although after a wet summer in Cornwall we now always have our main summer holiday somewhere warm).
I think it is just a case of working out what will work best for you (and your budget), but I dont think going abroad (if affordable) needs to be difficult.
I had 3 holidays like you had. All pretty awful. Then this year we booked a week in corfu AI with my in laws. It. Was. Amazing. I honestly couldn't recommend it enough. We had 4 year old dd and 1 year old ds. DH and I took it in turns to have some time off, then do things as a family. The kids loved the kiddy pool with a few slides (ds was going down on his own as long as I caught him!) and inflatables. It was on the beach so we could walk down and build a sand castle look for crabs etc. tonnes of ice creams etc. we kept them up late for the kiddy disco a few times which they loved. Sat on the balcony while they slept a few times (not great ill give you) the in laws took them a couple of evenings so we could go to restaurants etc etc. I'm a total convert!
We've just got back from a week on the beach in the South of France with our 20 month old DD. She loved the beach (thought it was the biggest sand pit she'd ever seen) and playing in the sea. We took it in turns to play with her, while the other snoozed/read/relaxed in the sun - so it is possible to have a bit of relaxation time. Also, if you go somewhere sunny, once little 'un is in bed - you can sit outside with a bottle of vino and enjoy the warm summer evening.
I never wanted to holiday with my in laws until ds arrived. now they come with us every holiday and my parents have started joining us too . we have been staying in chalets in Spain (no sharing though! ) or camping in wales. never ever thought yjis would happen....
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