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to ask how hard/easy is it holidaying with young dc

47 replies

HoppinMad · 10/05/2013 08:22

DH and I have been scrimping and saving for the past year so we can have a family holiday. We have never had one, DH and I have been for cheap weekend breaks in the UK but never abroad, and since DC three years ago havent been anywhere.

We have been scouring the internet and found a pretty good deal to Turkey, for 7 nights in June. However I am now having doubts that I wont enjoy it because the DC can be so difficult. They are 3 and 9 months. DC1 is never happy, always been a whinger and cries over anything and everything. He can be a delight but recently pushing boundaries, hitting DC2 etc. He hates change of any sort and can play up over trivial things such as new bedding or not getting his way over small matters.
DC2 is crawling/cruising and should be walking soon. Doesnt really like the pushchair and I know once he starts walking will tantrum because he will want to walk rather than be stuck in pushchair. Neither are great sleepers and am just exhausted most days.

I was really desperate for some sun, sand etc ( but keep thinking that the kids will be such hard work I may not even end up enjoying myself, because of expecting too much and being bitterly disappointed. We dont have money to waste. Should we wait a year or two and then contemplate going abroad?

I know people do it all the time, maybe they have easier kids than I!

OP posts:
Haggisfish · 10/05/2013 08:28

I would wait, personally. I underestimated how much my DD1 (2.10) would miss home and all her familiar things and routine. By the time she finally settled into our holiday (in the UK), it was the last day! Not sure about having a crawling baby on the beach - I haven't done it, so don't know how easy or hard it is. The trouble is, they will both be free/reduced prices at the moment, I suppose, so it may be more expensive if you wait. Could you do a holiday at home type thing, where you spend money visiting local attractions/eating out etc, but in familiar surroundings?!

we are planning a 'big' family holiday, but are going to wait until DCs are at least 4.

Sirzy · 10/05/2013 08:29

I found that when they are young then are easy abroad but as they get older it gets harder for a few years.

DS is 3 now and I have made the decision that UK holidays are better as there is generally more child friendly activities (farms, zoos, museums etc) but I am the type who can only do 2 hours on a beach before getting bored

cory · 10/05/2013 08:33

I think it depends on your own likely reactions to their being their demanding selves. Would you expect a holiday that was exactly the same as the holidays you used to have before they were born or would you be able to accept that them being children and experiencing the whole thing as children was part of the experience?

We took dd to Rouen for a cultural long weekend when she was just 2. Let's say that it wasn't the same kind of holiday as we'd had had without her, but we did think that her presence made it new and interesting. I saw things I wouldn't have seen without her and I still remember things about that trip because of seeing them through her eyes. Not necessarily the same things as I would have seen without her.

You have to be prepared to be enormously enthusiastic about things and to treat anything (from a beach to a differently shaped dustbin) as an adventure. But it can be great fun.

magimedi · 10/05/2013 08:38

Also it could be very hot & humid in Turkey in late June & you won't be on the beach but sitting in your (hopefully) air conditioned room with your DCs.

I'm a sun loving old bird & I wouldn't go to Turkey from late June to early September as far too hot.

sugarandspite · 10/05/2013 08:49

We only have 2yr old DD so far but I think the trick to holidays with kids is deciding clearly whether what you want is:

  • a holiday that the kids will love
  • a restful holiday for you

Because I think it's v hard when they are this little to do both.

So a holiday for the kids would probably be a long weekend at a uk beach in summertime. Not too hot, rock pools, sand castle building, sand dunes for climbing, trips to water parks / zoos / picnics and paddling in rivers etc. Pretty tiring for you though.

Holiday for a rest for you - if you can persuade someone (grandparents / siblings / teen nephew or niece) to come with you so you can all share the childcare in shifts and have time off. Or go somewhere with a kids club you'd be happy to leave them in. Turkey in high season still probably a bit hot though. Or leave them at home for a few days?
IfYouCanMoveItItsNotBroken · 10/05/2013 08:52

Being brutally honest, I did this last year and I would not do it again. I found that my 10 month old was exactly the wrong age to go - nowhere for him to crawl about except for the hotel room floor so he was stuck in the buggy. Not eating quite enough proper food but not really any facilities to prepare baby food or bottles. It was awful. I went to Spain but had been advised by travel agent friend that she wouldn't personally take her young kids to turkey due to heat and poor medical facilities. My 3 year old loved the holiday. But I would say if you do it get a big self catering villa rather than a hotel.

magimedi · 10/05/2013 08:54

Medical facilities in Turkey are fine, especially in larger towns/resorts. Heat is what would put me off.

megandraper · 10/05/2013 08:56

I think family holidays are great - but they're not a holiday at all in the pre-children sense. There will be no relaxation! Everything that's difficult at home (sleeping, eating, whinging, potties etc.) will still be difficult on holiday, and things that aren't difficult at home will be difficult on holiday because it's a different environment.

I have 3 small DC (eldest just started reception). Our family holidays generally consist of very little sleep (because they all sleep worse in unfamiliar cots/beds), and lots of strenuous activity (heaving pushchairs over rocky beach approaches, rushing about to find a loo at short notice, comforting weeping children who have got too hot/too wet/dropped their snack in the sand etc. You have to watch them with an eagle eye at every moment (the place you're staying probably isn't childproof, the beach is full of risks - water, wandering off etc.). If you're abroad they may not like the food because it's different from home.

We generally do self-catering British beach holidays (less travel, easy to do food, not too hot) and don't expect to relax, but get a lot out of watching the kids enjoy themselves, and having lots of time all together.

MsVestibule · 10/05/2013 09:44

We've taken our 2 young DCs to Spain several times with no problems. But we were staying with my parents in their apartment, so loads of room and built in free babysitting! No way would we have taken them away on a 'normal' holiday abroad at that age. It's only now they're 4 and 6 that we would consider it. I know there are plenty of parents who can deal with hot, whingy children and still enjoy their holiday, but DH and I do not belong to that fortunate group.

I just hate to think of you saving so hard and then not enjoying it. Do you think DC1 would enjoy staying at home and going on lots of days out instead? Or would you feel that was a waste of holiday and money?

MrsMelons · 10/05/2013 09:52

We have been abroad every year with our DCs and never had any problems however we have made sure we have gone on holdiays they would enjoy.

I would not have taken them to a resort in Turkey TBH as I want to be able to relax also if I am on holiday and they would have wanted to play in the pool 24/7 and would have needed complete supervision at all times.

We go on holidays abroad that are specifically family friendly but of course they are more expensive so not always possible.

If I knew I had a 3 YO that may not behave how I wanted I would definitely do a UK holiday in a nice caravan/chalet, eat in the restaurants to get a break from cooking and let the DCs enjoy the kids activities etc. In the evenings we put them to bed at normal time then sit and watch dvds, play games etc which is much more relaxing than being at home when there is always something to do.

wordfactory · 10/05/2013 09:56

I have always taken my two away a couple of times a year. We have all enjoyed it hugely.

But, you must adjust your expectations!

Gingerbreadlatte · 10/05/2013 09:57

What's the accommodation like? I definitely wouldn't do it unless we had an apartment type thing with kitchen and at least one separate bedroom.

Leafmould · 10/05/2013 10:00

Test your kids out on a low risk holiday first.... Ie not a long journey, not too expensive, just for a long weekend, and preferably visiting a place where you have friends or relations who can be back up.

I visited family in Spain when my kids were approx this age ( smaller gap). It was fine, but I had family, friends, and the kids were easy going.

I would be spending time trying to understand what is going on with your older child. Perhaps there is some feeling pushed out by the baby, in which case, can you take your older ds on a holiday to spend some time with him, while your oh stays home with the baby?

Obviously might not be practical, but I'm just thinking the demanding behaviour is probably the deciding factor about managing your wished for family holiday, and actually enjoying it.

kerala · 10/05/2013 10:07

Its all very subjective but this is what we found worked and didnt (ours now 4 and 6).

Our trip to Turkey with one 2 year old was a total disaster. We stayed in a cheap little hotel, dd in our bedroom, with a pool and nothing else and had to buy lunch and dinner. The food was extortionate, the restaurants in the town operated a cartel as everywhere was expensive Hmm we were spending £50 a day on food which we couldn't really enjoy because we had a 2 year old with us. DD couldn't cope with the heat got more and more floppy and by the end of the week wasn't eating and had diarreahoa (sp). We ended up sitting in our dingy room every evening as we couldn't leave DD. The flight was too long it was over 4 hours with a 2 hour transfer. We both swore NEVER AGAIN!

After that we really lowered our expectations when we had 2 under 4 we had really low key self catering holidays in England. With young kids IMO you need self catering its too hard otherwise. You need your own kitchen, separate bedrooms and TV and this gets expensive in a hotel.

When DDs 3 and 5 we went to Spain, stayed in a house with a pool (was a houseswap so very cheap!) and had amazing time.

parachutesarefab · 10/05/2013 10:55

What we look for in a holiday changed drastically after DC:
Self catering, with enough rooms (ie not open plan), and reasonably child friendly.
Safe, enclosed garden.
Washing machine.

When they were younger, highlights of any holiday were zoos or farms. Any parks with play equipment went down well too.

Long journeys aren't much fun, so our holidays have been mainly UK or France. If you fly you have to think about transporting car seats, and possibly things like highchair and travel cot.

Taking familiar bedding, toys, books, DVDs etc with you could help DC1. You may find that with lots of parental attention, when you're not trying to get jobs done etc, he may be easier than at home.

I'd suggest thinking about exactly what you want from a holiday first - sleeping arrangements, food, activities, what you'd like to do on a typical day, climate, then see what fits. Don't start with a 'good deal' and then convince yourself it's what you want.

dribbleface · 10/05/2013 11:06

We took our two boys on a UK holiday last year aged 4 and 9mths. It took 8hts to do a 6hr journey, they were both ill and needed to see a gp, the youngest was a nightmare on the beach, eating stones/sand and it was very hot for the UK.

This year we are opting for a beach holiday only an hour away, very basic but we are close enough to home should we need to be. The place we stayed in last year had no mobile signal, had to sit in reception for hours waiting for OOH to call, twice. In all honesty it was so hard, but had we been abroad I think I would have cried.

BeanoNoir · 10/05/2013 11:06

We just went to Turkey all inclusive with dd 21 months and me 26 weeks pregnant. It wasn't a really easy holiday but it's hard work anywhere. For us it was not having to cook or clean for a week that was bliss, good weather so you could just stroll around with dd on the reins/playing in the park/buckets and spades in the sand etc without shivering or wanting to get back inside. It was a lot more relaxing than being at home, but a lot less relaxing than going away pre dcs.

Night times were hardest, especially as last mealtime was at 7pm when dd was more than ready for bed and also we shared one room, so she found it hard to sleep when dh and I wanted to chat with the lights on. Unfortunately for us pushing bedtime back didn't work. Even one night she didn't sleep 'til 11pm she was still up at 6. Next time I would try and make sure she had her own room and we just got her to bed at her normal time.

It was great though, but I'm a person who kind of feels I need to go away 'properly' (i.e. on a plane with some sun) every so often. we do a lot of uk cottage breaks which are great, but just as hard work as being at home - this felt different, like we'd really been away and relaxed.

MalkieFraser · 10/05/2013 11:07

We've always holidayed with ours twice a year from they were tiny.
Everything is amazing all over again seen through their eyes. They play in the water and with sand for ages, charm everyone in restaurants, look stunning in their wee sun dresses and zonk out, exhausted and smelling of sunshine from 10pm til 9am.
We do a lot of travelling when we are away, we use a self catering apartment as a base and then use local buses or walk miles exploring.
Sling for when pram can't be used (dolmus, taxi boat etc) hire extra buggy for night time if bigger kid wants to crash out. Pool time we do in shiftsSmile
They are 5 and 2 now and every holiday is a completely different experience due to them growing and changing.

HoppinMad · 10/05/2013 11:08

Thanks to all who replied! So the consensus seems to be to wait. Ok will try and answer some of the questions

Haggis/mrs vest we normally do days out to zoos, parks, etc and Dc1 is ok just about now, since he turned 3, before that it was constant tantrums due to tiredness, running off, not getting his way etc and not very enjoyable for any of us.

cory i didnt go away much growing up so8 dont have that to compare to, but when we were older did our own thing while parents did theirs.
I think i am expecting too much, i desperately want a holiday to relax but i know deep down it wont be that way, as all young kids are demanding in different environment and change of routine.

ginger the accomadation is a family room in a nice hotel, its all inclusive so wouldnt have to wander around finding food in different eating places. Though there is a fridge but theres the issue of no kitchenette so making up and sterilizing bottles is something I havent thought properly about.

leaf it isnt possible to leave the baby with DH, he is teething and it seems to be a long drawn out process (been months but still no sign) so hes very clingy, wont settle for anybody else. Dc1 can be hard work and wouldnt behave for his dad, and also very clingy. Plus I dont think I would enjoy leaving them to go on holiday myself!

OP posts:
StarlightMcKenzie · 10/05/2013 11:18

My kids are less demanding on holiday, with more freedom and distractions, but I never expect to lie on the beach. I'm always with either one or the other, paddling, digging a hole.

The advantage of being active though is that you get an even tan and are less likely to burn. Grin

notso · 10/05/2013 11:41

We've recently been on holiday with a difficult 2 yo and a 1 yo. We also have a 12yo and an 8yo, it didn't seem fair to them to have to miss out on another holiday because their brothers are at awkward ages.
There were still a lot of the usual tantrums and grizzles, although we did find they slept for much longer during the day, 3 hours infact. Which meant we got some relaxation time.
Also once they were asleep at night DH and I sat outside chatting with a glass of wine which is something we wouldn't do at home. I think you have to make yourself get in the holiday mood despite the children.
We chose a villa with a private pool as we needed the space, plus it's easier to have the option of self catering for the little children. We still ate out most evenings. We were able to hire bed rails, highchairs, carseats, and safety gates which were all set up and ready to use.
It was not a major relaxing holiday but it was lovely and I would do it again.

I would say that even if your children are clingy and settle for you better than DH you shouldn't be a martyr and never leave them with him. It is good for your DH and your children for Daddy to be in charge sometimes, he might not do things the way Mummy does but the more he is with them alone the better they will all cope with it. Even if you think you won't enjoy it and will worry, he is there Dad and they won't come to any harm with him.
I'm not saying you leave them for a fortnight but I think you really sound like you need a relaxing night away.

notso · 10/05/2013 11:42

their Dad!

Groovee · 10/05/2013 11:45

We went to Butlins when dd was 3 and ds was 8 months. It was a good holiday and not hard. The following year we went to Salou. The only problem we had was ds on the flight, he was 20 months and bored. Once he fell asleep, it was much easier, but on the actual week, we had a fabulous time.

When dd was 2 we went to Centre Parcs and she spent the whole week saying "I want to go home!" The minute we got in the car to go home, she was howling "I wanna go back to holiday!" There was no winning. But she had a fun week.

BigBlockSingsong · 10/05/2013 11:53

I would give one piece of advice, back the kids stuff in advance, they can wear scraggy stuff for a week.

caravanning can be v. stressful , I needed a holiday from my holiday.

icklemssunshine1 · 10/05/2013 11:53

We've been abroad 3 times with DD, first time when he was 4 months (dead easy, too little too complain), second at 10 months (big family holiday so had help at hand) and thirds time at 14 months (bloody nightmare. Wasn't relaxing & DH & myself had to take it in turns to keep "watch" whilst she ran around like a maniac). Forget what sun holiday were like before your DCs, they won't be like it now. I'm not saying they won't be enjoyable but remember you have to put their needs before your own so if you have ideas of lying on a beach whilst they happily build sand castles next to you forget it!!

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