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Share your tips for planning a family holiday with a baby or toddler with Thomas Cook - £300 voucher to be won NOW CLOSED

(255 Posts)
JustineBMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 22-Jan-18 10:14:03

Going on holiday with a baby or toddler in tow means you’re likely having to plan for things you’ve never even considered before. Whether you’re new to holidays with a baby or toddler or feel like you’ve got too much experience, Thomas Cook would like to hear the tips you have for planning a family holiday with a baby or toddler.

Here’s what Thomas Cook has to say: “Going away with a baby or toddler can, at times, be a little stressful; there are lots of readers out there with some great tips to help make things easier for other mums, meaning that everyone can enjoy their well-earned time away”

Do you find that it’s easiest to book a package holiday so that the big stuff is done all in one go? Perhaps you have tips for making a flight run smoothly? Or maybe you have ideas for keeping them entertained when you’ve had to scale down their toy collection for the week?

Whatever your tips, share them below to be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher for the store of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck!


Standard Insight T&CS apply

scorpio93 Mon 22-Jan-18 14:22:57

I took my son, who was 2 years at the time, away to Spain with Thomas Cook.
We bought a cheep small folding pushchair for the holiday so it wouldn't take up much room (and just in case it got banged about in the plane or conveyor belt). It was good because we used it in the evenings so he could rest if we ate dinner late.
Stock up on bottled water, always.
Go somewhere cool around 1-3pm (we would go to the hotel room for a siesta, he still had naps at that age) and 1-3pm is when the sun is highest in the sky and at its hottest.
Lots of sun cream, hats (with neck covers), long bathing suits for the toddler (they sometimes come with the matching hat with neck cover).
Get a small brolly to shield the child from the sun.

I was so nervous because my son was walking and loves water. Had to keep my eye on him every second in case he wandered off and fell in the pool.
- I think it's best to go with a biggish group of you when you have a toddler with you, there were 6 of us adults and just my son when we went away, so we all took it in turns to watch him and play with him so I could also have some relaxation time.

Also find a hotel who do a crèche type thing, our had entertainers and we paid about $5 for him to have an indoor play under their supervision (all safe and secure too, had to sign in and out so he wouldn't get taken etc, but I stayed close by anyway and sat on a subbed outside of the room lol).

Little swimmers nappies are good but they do fall apart quite quickly. So stock up on a few packs of those and change every hour.

scorpio93 Mon 22-Jan-18 14:24:36

Edit: I meant €5 not $5. Woops!

ErinSophia Mon 22-Jan-18 14:37:38

Try and find a flight during quieter times and keep a bag of goodies to hand to keep the little ones entertained. When myself and my husband took our then 2 year old and 7 months old to Spain we got a flight at 8 in the morning as it was less busy then according to the airport staff, we keep books and colouring in stuff in a bag along with sweets and juice to keep the girls entertained and happy on the flight.

Treaclespongeandcustard Mon 22-Jan-18 15:39:18

Book a hotel near the beach and take plenty of bath toys. Our toddlers were as happy as Larry poddling on the beach all day. I like all inclusive too because they can look at the food on offer and pic at lots of things instead of having to commit to a meal. For the flight I take sticker books and one new toy (think playmobil or similar) and both kids seem to be happy with that. I also book daytime flights so I don't have overly grumpy children. I love holidays grin

asuwere Mon 22-Jan-18 15:45:36

Best tip is to remember not to expect a holiday to be as relaxing as it was without a baby/toddler!

Cheekyandfreaky Mon 22-Jan-18 16:24:00

Do you find that it’s easiest to book a package holiday so that the big stuff is done all in one go?

Yes, but sometimes that can mean sacrificing on smtg- food/ accommodation/ flight times, but yes it’s easier package style.

Perhaps you have tips for making a flight run smoothly?
Drawing pack, snacks, drinks, flights with kid friendly films or tv are great. Wine for parents!

Or maybe you have ideas for keeping them entertained when you’ve had to scale down their toy collection for the week?
Portable DVD player, colouring book and crayons, favourite 3 books, ‘mini toy’ eg. Small figurines.

If there’s a beach or pool at your destination, and your child is in good health with access to food they’ll eat and you have sun cream/hats/ swimming cossies you’re fine.

MummyBtothree Mon 22-Jan-18 16:59:29

We tend to holiday over here in the UK and base our holiday around the kids, our pleasure comes from seeing them have a great time and it's alot less stressful than long journeys etc.

IceBearRocks Mon 22-Jan-18 17:38:07

Always travel at night've got a better chance of them sleeping through the journey. iPads and headphones are a necessity and snacks which they actually like and recognise!!!!

CheeseEMouse Mon 22-Jan-18 18:41:30

We bought a little blow up bed for the toddler - cheaper than hiring cots (which he would escape from anyway) and that gave us a bit more flexibilty with where we could stay

Sleepysausage Mon 22-Jan-18 19:05:59

I always try to remember that everywhere we've been on holiday the locals have babies or toddlers too. So there's generally nothing we won't be able to buy. Swim nappies are always more expensive on holiday though so we do tend to pack plenty of those.

sharond101 Mon 22-Jan-18 19:22:07

Skooters in hand luggage, genius!

CMOTDibbler Mon 22-Jan-18 19:44:05

Lower your expectations! And be realistic about what your baby/toddler is like - just because someone elses baby is happy to go to sleep in a pushchair and be parked in a restaurant in the evening doesn't mean your 'wakes at the drop of a gnats wing, and is inconsolable unless in a blacked out room at their bedtime' baby is going to magically do that on holiday.

Vonklump Mon 22-Jan-18 20:07:22

Drop your expectations, and your standards.
Do what works for you. For us that was self catering, and holidaying in the UK. Sorry Thomas Cook!

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 22-Jan-18 20:12:03

We took a buggy, even when DD didn't use one at home anymore. This meant if we were out in the evening and she got tired she could go in it and we could stay out a bit longer. At the end of the holiday, we left it with the abandoned floats etc. for someone else to use.

Gill81uk Mon 22-Jan-18 20:20:04

Most airlines allow you to take a car seat in the hold for free which gives you piece of mind and means you dont need to rely on hire car companies. We bought a large car seat travel bag and padded it with some towels and nappies which served the double purpose of protecting it and saving room in the case!

Most airlines will also allow you to take your buggy to the gate also. We found that having a buggy allowed us to go through a different security entrance and saved a lot of time queuing so it';s worth taking one, even if you don't expect to use it much.

100millionbillion Mon 22-Jan-18 21:16:12

definitely take a tablet computer for the journey, download loads of Cbeebies before you go. Airbnb is great as you have space rather than being stuck in a tiny hotel room... and you can cook, make more noise etc.

del2929 Mon 22-Jan-18 21:23:15

plan and plan, make lists and make more lists

ipad for journey

all inclusive saves alot of hassle and gives peace of mind.

mayago Mon 22-Jan-18 22:20:39

I recommend packing lots of snacks and new toys for the plane, and don't assume your child will sleep! If baby isn't sitting up yet, ask for a travel cot on the plane - you get extra legroom and a place for baby to sleep, keeping your hands and lap free smile

Onedaylikethi5 Mon 22-Jan-18 22:23:12

We take a little bag with stickers, crayons and small toys out to dinner to keep the toddler entertained. We also choose accommodation with good on site pools and activities

magentastardust Mon 22-Jan-18 22:47:09

Plane bags. Snacks, stickers, little books, colouring ,magazine for little ones , ipad, charger, technology for older ones. Definitely makes airports and flights a lot easier. Also make sure you have favourite teddy/beaker/dummy/comforter for infants too especially for soothing ears for take off and landing.
I always packed a change of clothes when travelling with a baby or toddler. Guaranteed they will be sick/spill/have an accident at some point.

Just remember if it all goes horribly wrong during the flight you will most probably never see the other people from your flight ever again!

TellMeItsNotTrue Tue 23-Jan-18 00:34:26

Buy a few cheap beach balls before you go, you can get them for around 50p each so saves buying when on holiday and the seller has inflated prices because they know people will still pay it

Keep one ball in hand luggage, it can come in handy for keeping DC amused if flight is delayed but folds down to take up minimal space

Take multiple so that it doesn't matter when not if one gets lost or stolen or bursts. Make sure you keep one for the airport on way home

Other inflatables would be cheaper than buying at destination, but a ball has a lot more play potential as it can be used on beach or grass as well as pool, can be thrown, rolled, kicked etc you can make a bowling type game, there is so much you can do with a ball

noenergy Tue 23-Jan-18 01:52:51

@sharond101 what skooter fits into hand luggage? Where do u use the scooter, on holiday or at the airport?

I always book late night flights as there is more chance of them sleeping. Take plenty of snacks and an iPad and a few cheap toys from the pound shop. Also take inflatables from the pound shop.
Always take a cheap stroller and take it up to the gate.

Elpheba Tue 23-Jan-18 07:20:08

If you need to sterilise bottles and you're somewhere that doesn't provide them, then take Milton tablets (no need to rinse) and a Tupperware container with lid. That way you can pack things into the container in your suitcase and you're not wasting lots of space. Or you can buy bags to sterilise things in that hang from the shower- but the steriliser they come with needs to be rinsed, so again, best to swap for Milton!

sharond101 Tue 23-Jan-18 08:56:48

@noenergy we have micro skooters which fold down and took them. Kids skooter about the resort and to the beach etc. They loved it.

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