utterly shattered and needing a holiday, how to go away with a 2 year old and a five month old...?(20 Posts)
I'm hoping that some of you lovely people will have been in a similar situation and might be able to offer some pearls of wisdom. DS1 has just turned 2, and DS2 is 5 months old. Unsurprisingly, I'm pretty much totally knackered, as is DH, but we'd all really like to go away for a bit of a holiday sometime in the next month or two.
Can anyone give us any tips on how to put together a break that will be as much holiday as hard work - where's good to go, what kind of holiday might work best (hotel, self-catering etc), things to take.
Don't fly. Bloody nightmare. Airport security etc. I'd vote for centreparcs. If you honour of school holidays you can get a really good deal and it is made for people in your situation. We go march and November and have done since dd was 2 and ds12 weeks
That should read 'go out of' not honour
We had a similar gap. For three years we rented a villa in Portugal.
It was perfect, we did a huge shop at the beginning of the week and made our own breakfast and lunch, we spent most of the day by the pool. Some Villas have built in shallow toddler pools. A pair of armbands and they have a lovely time. The children could nap in the villa while we relaxed by the pool. We either ate out in the evenings with each child in a buggy or we put them to bed in the villa and barbecued and drank wine. The villas tend to have a maid so you don't need to do anything except load a dishwasher.
did haven with dd1 at 12 weeks, was great as caravan was big enough for all our stuff
did butlins half board with dd1 (3) and dd2 (4 months) was great as had big apartment and all food done so no work, lots for dd1 to do (swimming/parks etc) and lots of nice walks and fresh air for dd2
Your message seemed to be saying UK rather than abroad,
Answer really depends on your budget.
You can either do self catering where you do the same that you do away as you do at home but it sounds like you need a break....center parcs good idea and you could perhaps mix and match cooking with eating out ? Bluestone national park in Wales is a similar type of set up - haven't been but friends have and thye say its good.
If you're thinking abroad you can look for hotels with childcare - the Mark Warner/ Neilson type holidays where you are catered for / childcare and activities. Out of season you might find the rates cheap and if you can bear the flight you will get the benefits from a bit of a holiday for everyone.
centreparcs is fantastic - but you will get more out of it when children are a little older. even the pool with a 5 month old can be stressful! would recommend a self catering apartment / cottage or caravan depending on your budget & what you like to do. hotels are great, but you are restricted to specific times for eating / etc., also if you are in a routine of naps, you will be stuck in your bedroom for ever (unless you are happy to use baby listening facilities, which in my experience vary from hotel to hotel!). it can also be stressful if your 5 month old wakes up in the night crying - as you will spend all night worrying about the people in the room next door! you could always try a self catering apartment / cottage on a hotel site - these tend to me more expensive, but give you the option of using the facilities, with the freedom of your own space. head for somewhere with a white sandy beach, nearby wet weather options (farm parks, etc), and lots of child friendly pubs, cafes, restarants and take-aways so that you are not stuck cooking for the whole time! another thought -if you don't want the beach, there are some great farms that have self catering places on site - 2 year old will love collecting eggs in the morning!
Agree with previous post about flying. some people can do it with really small kids we hated it. you need to avoid school hols because prices do shoot up. Some places put their prices up from the beginning of July as this is when Ireland and Scotland break up so you don't have much of a window to find a bargain. we use lastminute-cottages.co.uk and next6weeks.com . You either need a really good child friendly hotel like Bedruthan steps or compromise with self catering. Loads of cottages now offer the cottage catering option where you can buy in home cooked ready meals - nice food just not cooked by you. Hope this helps.
Flyings fine! I didn't come up against liquid restrictions when mine were small but apart from that nothing has really changed.
You can keep them in their buggies except for security, you get to board first, they take up no room on seats so have plenty of play space.
I won't tell you about the 11 hour flight to LA with a 7 month old who screamed nearly all the way then fell asleep when we were landing though
Thank you everyone, some very useful advice. I'm hesitant about flying, as much as I'd love a bit of warmth and sunshine, as I'd presumed it would be horrendous and stressful. I guess you just don't know until you try.
I'm torn between a hotel and self-catering for all the reasons that have been suggested. Self-catering on a hotel site sounds like a brilliant idea - has anyone been anywhere like this that they could recommend?
Self catering is definitely easier with little ones. Then you can feed them what they like when they like instead of being tied to what's available at a hotel. There's nothing to stop you eating out as much as you like rather than cooking, but at least it gives you the option.
We've done a lot of British cottage holidays in recent years which usually works well. We've also stayed in an apart-hotel (self catering apartments within a hotel that also did all inclusive if you wanted it, we just dipped in and out of the provided meals there and ate out) in Tenerife which was good but more expensive obviously.
Flights can be pretty exhausting but needn't be traumatic. Take plenty of snacks and drinks (you can buy them after going through security at the airport) and a few new small toys, to keep them amused. If you have them iPod touch or iPad with simple games and movies on are fabulous for keeping even very small children entertained.
i would go for somewhere in the UK, self-catering, shortish drive (no 7hr treks to Cornwall/highlands) with an indoor pool and perhaps a few other things to entertain the 2 year old without roaming far. if you can go for somewhere where there's only a few cottages/lodges so the pool and play areas aren't too crowded.
we stayed here recently and it was very good. dd1 was entranced by the farm animals, and loved the pool and climbing frame. I'd recommend it, but there's lots of other similar set-ups on the MN holiday review pages.
what about a house swap?
i have just joined 2 sites and they are full of people with young families looking for swaps in some lovely locations.
Means you have all the comforts of home and if you swap with a young family the place is likely to be child proof.
I'm with Charlotte, stay UK, don't go far. find a cottage which has facilities like a pool and animals to amuse LO. They look expensive compared to overseas villa etc, but no flights, no currency exchange etc etc. Self catering allows for all those 5am breakfasts or is that just my DS?)
The LO won't care where you go so long as there's a playroom for DS1. Many cottage complex sorts of places keep goos quality ready meals on site for when you can't be bothered to cook. With DC that little, you can go out of season which works out much cheaper.
Try baby friendly boltholes, tots to travel and look through previous threads on here to find somewhere within your maximum alllowable journey time.
for me when I felt like this I booked Center Parcs - its the most child friendly place on earth...a baby screams, a toddlar has a tantram and no one bats an eye lid.
the thought of packing to go abroad would freak me out! Im sure whereever you go it will be fine
I agree that Center Parcs is the least stressful place with small children. Everything is child friendly and made super-easy. Personally I wouldn't want to do Center Parcs once the children are older as it's just too boring and predictable (Boring and predictable IS your best option when holidaying with very young children!)
I have 4 children currently aged 2,4,5, and 7 and have learned from experience that self catering is much better than a hotel! A good tip is to book your groceries online to arrive at your holiday cottage soon after you do (although obviously you can't do that at C-parcs).
loads of families do them
much cheaper than renting a place if you add up all the extras that requires like entertainment/food /travel
Don't fly - it is just too much. You can find lots of nice places in the Uk. I sometimes only go about 1½hrs drive away - it is far enough to be away but does not involve the hassle of a long journey.
Farmstay.co.uk are great for farm breaks - pick the ones with animals for the kids. You can always get takeways in instead of cooking.
I'd suggest somewhere with a creche so you and DH can have a rest!
Have a look on baby friendly boltholes' website.
This one looked great and not too expensive, you can chill in the spa while the children are well looked after!
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