Holidays with very small children

(64 Posts)
ohthegoats Wed 01-Jul-15 09:40:25

Are they ever really fun or relaxing for the parents?

OK, my baby is currently only 8 months, but we're trying to look at options for the summer holidays, and it's all sounding stressful and dreadful.

I'm thinking that a more expensive 'beach' holiday like Mark Warner, that involves some part with childcare clubs will actually be the best all round. Kiddy club in the mornings, they make little friends, parents have some time off to do stuff that actually makes a holiday, then you have family time in the afternoon by a pool where there's no sand to eat and lots of shade, eat together, then parents spend time together in the evening on their balcony - drinking wine and reading/chatting/whatever.

Or am I being a dullard?

Itscurtainsforyou Wed 01-Jul-15 09:45:26

I've never managed it!
I pretty much took the view that all our holidays would be UK based child-centred for a few years.
Other people may have done a better job than me though...

ohthegoats Wed 01-Jul-15 09:50:36

But even UK based child-centred holidays seem to be quite hard to fathom. I'd rather stay at home and pay for a babysitter to come every night so that me and the boyf can have some proper nights out! Kid won't notice the difference, we'll feel that we've had some down time!

HeadDreamer Wed 01-Jul-15 09:52:55

Depends on what you want from a holiday. DD1 would never agree to a kids club. I know plenty who didn't. But an 8mo would hardly complain grin

I enjoyed it and have travelled with both mine a lot. They are 4 and baby.

lexyloub Wed 01-Jul-15 09:55:00

At 8 months old it should still be fairly relaxing. It's a bit of a faff taking sterilising stuff with you and you can pre order milk and food from boots to pick up at the airport before you fly out.
I took ds1 away at 9 mth it was a lovely break he was happy to be in the pram and because it's not he slept alot giving me chance to have an hour on the sunbed. He was happy to sit in a highchair at meal times and enjoyed eating bits of what we were having. If your baby is confident sitting up well without support get a little paddling pool with a bit of water in put it by your sunbed under the shade with a few plastic toys and sit the baby in so he can splash a little bit and play whilst keeping cool.
At night stick to your normal bed routine but instead of putting baby to bed put in the pram go for a walk whilst he falls asleep then enjoy a nice meal with your dh put baby in travel cot when you get back to room and maybe enjoy another drink on the balcony.
Taking baby at this age is much easier than it will be next year when it's running around. Have fun.

MorrisZapp Wed 01-Jul-15 09:56:23

We took DS abroad last year for the first time. It was great! We took turns entertaining him at the pool and he made heaps of friends. No nappies or pushchairs to faff with.

Early evening the three of us wandered into town and ate, later evening it was me and DP on the balcony having a beer while ds slept.

He was three then, and we're doing the exact same trip next week. Majorca here we come smile

Heels99 Wed 01-Jul-15 09:56:25

Yes childcare is the key!

Artandco Wed 01-Jul-15 10:00:58

8 months is fairly easy tbh. Most kids clubs don't take them until they are 4. My eldest is 5 and won't stay in them still so I wouldn't rely on them

We never stay at a 'family' resort. The idea of being surrounded by hundreds more kids is our idea of hell! We book and nice hotel or apartment or villa separately as before children. Somewhere with sights to see and beach or lake usually so we can do a combination.

At 8 months they sit in pram and you see the sights, they sit on beach on towel, or paddle in sea or pool with you. For dinner they can just come with you and nibble bread/ fruit/ whatever your having and sleep in pram or sling once tired

ohthegoats Wed 01-Jul-15 10:01:40

Oh she's a confident sitter, and a confident crawler/cruiser/climber (stairs and sofas have already been summited)... I don't think she's far away from walking.. she's a menace!!

For me, all those things are safer and less stressful at home.

RiverTam Wed 01-Jul-15 10:07:32

We always go on UK cottage holidays with DD (now 5). We always choose on with a lovely garden so we can chill out there in the evening with a bottle of wine. Personally I don't see the point of going on holiday with my family and shunting one off to a holiday club, we want to be together. But if we had 2, we probably would!

ClaireFontaine Wed 01-Jul-15 10:24:31

Depends what kind of holiday you want to have.

Mine have always been pretty ok on sunshine type holidays. DS in and out of pool (with me) and sitting on the edge of my sun lounger colouring and pottering. DD who is 9mo (she walks by the way so not a blob sitting still on the beach) I just pour loads of ice on to a side table and she plays with that until it melts or she's eaten it all. Mixed with a few books and some time in the pool.

I think the travelling is the worst bit so try and go somewhere that is just a plane journey rather than boat, train, long coach ride as well etc.

More of an adventure holiday I don't know if we would hack so well. That said, we have just got back from Glastonbury and that worked out ok! (Although not as fun as going without them!).

addictedtosugar Wed 01-Jul-15 10:29:00

The only advide I'd give is make sure you have 2 rooms - so once kids are asleep, you and DH can have a drink/chat etc.
One hotel room and small kids who refuse to pram/pushchair sleep is a nightmare.

We have gone for: kept the kids happy during the day (pool, beach etc), and then have a nice meal and kids to bed. Crack open a bottle and the icecream, and have a lovely evening just the to of us, but not out.

PeterParkerSays Wed 01-Jul-15 10:35:30

I remember reading something in a magazine that holidays with small children were just like your life at home, only in a different location. We struggled to find places that had childcare under age 3 so we just stayed in a caravan for the first few holidays so DS was in a bedroom and we could sit together in the evening, but we never got to eat out as a couple.

HeadDreamer Wed 01-Jul-15 10:36:25

I think I like the same sort of holidays as artandco. DD1 is very particular with her food. So having a bit of self catering is great as she can have weetabix. She even noticed they are different in australia but she was ok with it. We usually eat both lunch and dinner out. But sometimes a take away for evening meals too. Then early night with us chilling out in the living area while they are asleep.

blushingmare Thu 02-Jul-15 19:15:32

Tbh at 8 months you really don't need to go on a child-centred holiday. A normal adult holiday and baby tags along is just fine at that age. And make the most of it, because in a few years time you probably won't get away with it and really will have to find something to entertain the children. I guess a hot beach holiday isn't great for a baby and you need to consider where you're going to be for meal times. Also, think about accommodation - if you're in self-catering you can put baby to bed and have the night to yourselves, whereas in a hotel you'll need to take baby out with you in the evenings or sit in a hotel room while they sleep (or find a hotel that offers babysitting if you're comfortable with that).

We took DD to New Zealand for a month at 9 months. It was a brilliant age to travel. We did a road trip and stayed in a variety of places -self catering mostly, but some hostels and a couple of camping trips. It was a brilliant holiday and not at all spoilt by having a baby in tow. Babies are so flexible and you can more or less do what you want to do and they can't really object. Three year olds - they don't want to see mountains, go hiking, eat on posh restaurants- it's a different holiday with three year old, but we're still trying to resist the "kids camp" if we can!

Roseybee10 Thu 02-Jul-15 19:22:03

8 months sounds perfect although I wouldn't personally be leaving a baby at a kids club.
I wish we had done a holiday when dd1 was tiny. Now she's a terror lol.

Booboostoo Thu 02-Jul-15 19:51:44

We're on holiday at the moment with 10mo DS and 4yo DD. self-catering is a good idea as I can rustle up something for the kids if they are hungry and it is easier to sort out salt free meals for DS we don't sterilize anything, he puts everything in his mouth so it seems a bit pointless to be sterilizing utensils, etc. but he is also bf which is no hassle). Being in a hotel requires a bit more vigilance when they can crawl/walk as your home is baby proofed or you are aware of hazards. We end up doing a lot of activities as the DCs are quite hyper from all the changes, e.g. today we climbed the Mycene ruins with an ecstatic DS waving at everyone from the sling.

ApplesTheHare Thu 02-Jul-15 20:06:14

We went away with DD when she was 2 months, 3 months and 7/8 months, and are away again with her at 10 months now. It's all been fine. I like going away with family as they chip in with childcare and make sure we get downtime. It's been lovely when just DH and I though, daytimes are slightly different to when we used to spend 7 hours a day lounging but you can't beat a warm evening on a terrace with a nice glass of wine grin

33goingon64 Thu 02-Jul-15 20:35:34

1. Go self catering with 2 bedrooms.
2. An 8 yo will tag along with whatever you want to do (maybe not scuba diving). It's when they get older you need to consider their desires. Certainly wouldn't leave 8 mo at a kids club!
3. Take advantage of the fact you can go away outside of school holidays. Prices shoot up and it's much busier. Book for second week of September.

zzzzz Thu 02-Jul-15 20:42:19

We just went where we wanted and took the kids with us. confused

Where have you loved going?

changeshow Thu 02-Jul-15 20:43:04

It's not a holiday anymore, it's an 'being away from home with your children, and without all the usual stuff that helps you cope'.

It's harder work than daily life, but at least you are both there to do the boring bits.

I wouldn't spend too much money as children seem to get ill on holidays. But somewhere with a balcony would be good for an after bedtime drink.

Easy, just think easy. Maybe somewhere you have been before?

eurochick Thu 02-Jul-15 20:52:30

We are away at the moment on our first holiday with a baby (11 months).

We chose Greece (very baby friendly but flight is at the long end of short haul - a couple more hours and you would get a bit more leg room and luggage allowance).

We went for a villa (good choice - means we have a kitchen for bottles and baby food plus we can put her to bed and have our own space to relax in the evenings) on a complex with a good restaurant (good choice - means we can grab an early dinner and be back at the villa within five minutes when she starts getting fractious) and room service to the villa if we want it.

Overall, this is working pretty well so far. It is very different to pre-baby holidays but we are still enjoying it and she seems to be too.

ohthegoats Thu 02-Jul-15 22:58:53

My normal holidays involve trekking – Ladakh or Nepal in the Himalayas, the Atlas mountains, the Andes, or long road trips on motorbikes etc. Not really suitable for babies. When I was pregnant we went on a backpacking trip to Thailand (we had flights booked before I was pregnant, but originally planned to bike through Cambodia), and it was alright – there were people doing similar things with small children. It wasn’t the most exciting for me – no drinking, too hot and stuff – and it would have been made more difficult with children. We still hired motorbikes to get about.

We’ve now planned a week house swap with the inlaws followed by a week at a mates place in Cornwall that we’ve been to before. For this year anyway… next year we still need to work out what would be a good option. I’m a teacher which makes everything more expensive too.

Thanks for responses. Interesting.

RiverTam Thu 02-Jul-15 23:03:10

Could you get a good baby carrier and go on a walking holiday in the UK? We went to the Oeak Dustrict with DD as our first holiday, she was a bit older that yours but it worked really well.

zzzzz Thu 02-Jul-15 23:11:25

we are lazier holidayers (so I like big hotel, to explore from rather than road trip), that said we have been all over the place with babies. Babies are EASIER to travel with than small children. I find going Eastwards easier than West. I'm not sure why a UK based holiday is easier confused

The only positive for staying in the UK is medical (ie NHS) but most countries have fairly good hospitals if you don't go too far from major cities.

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