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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:
Shutupanddrive · 10/05/2013 11:55

I wouldn't go all inclusive. Imagine having to eat out at every meal, far too stressful. We went self catering last time (still in a hotel), and it was nice to have the option of buying some pasta etc from shops and making that when it suited us. Also you get a decent size fridge for milk/juice wine etc and a basic kitchen.
Or you could look at half board? The other thing we did was try to fit too much in. Days out, boat trips etc which were mostly a disaster! Just spending all day at the beach or by hotel pool was much easier and kids enjoyed it more.

WilsonFrickett · 10/05/2013 12:00

I would never take a crawler away again .

I also agree Turkey would be far too hot, that's why it's cheap Wink

Shodan · 10/05/2013 12:01

We went on holiday to Turkey in August a few years ago- ds2 was 9 months but our older boy was 12, so a bit of a difference there.

The resort we were at had a children's pool area with lots of shade, so we would haul three sunbeds together in a triangle, blocking the holes with our beach bags etc. Towels on the ground in the middle and voila- a kind of playpen for ds2 to crawl around/haul himself up using the sunbeds to stand. One of us would stay with him while the other went with ds1 to muck about in the pools, then swap around. Sometimes ds2 would go in the shallowest pool in one of those float things.

Lunch in the a/c restaurant, nap/rest time in the pm when it got very hot then all out for early dinner and a stroll with ds2 in the buggy or watch the entertainment.

It worked very well, oppressive heat notwithstanding, and everyone enjoyed it.

I think if you relax, accept that you won't be lying supine on a sunlounger for the whole trip and stay out of the heat at the middle of the day it will be fine.

Shodan · 10/05/2013 12:03

Incidentally, we stayed at an a/I resort and it was great- there was always something ds2 could eat and I think we used sterilising tablets for his bottles.

WorrySighWorrySigh · 10/05/2013 12:51

We have always holidayed with ours starting with 'proper' camping when DD1 was not quite walking.

We always self-drive as that means we can take what we like and dont have to work out how to pack it in a suitcase.

With small children I would always recommend self-catering as it means you can have food when it suits you/DCs rather than when it suits a restaurant. Of course you can also have what food you want as well.

Our favourite type of holiday with small children has been in mobile homes in France. This gives you enough space, separate bedrooms and you should get a bit of a garden as well which is great for children to play in. If its warm then you can eat outside for breakfast, lunch & dinner which makes clearing up easier and also means that you worry less about mess.

Regarding food, dont worry about feeding a balanced diet. We have had holidays when one or other of the DCs has only eaten bread or chips for a fortnight.

I would heartily recommend this campsite as making an excellent starting point to many happy holidays in the years to come. It is less than three hours drive from Calais with lots of opportunity to stop on the way or take a scenic route. All the big operators like Eurocamp/Keycamp/Canvas are there as well as a lot of small operators.

Our experience with taking DCs on holiday was to run them ragged during the day with lots of swimming, playing in playgrounds etc. Walk slower and get the DCs to walk as well. Remember that it is a holiday not a race!

Always remember that next year will be easier but you wont appreciate it until you go this year!

ENormaSnob · 10/05/2013 12:52

We have 4 dc and have always gone abroad every year.

All inclusive is easier as you don't have to cook or clean etc. if you can get an accommodation with a kitchenette that makes it easier too. We had this in menorca when ds2 was 9 months. Could do bottles etc but had the luxury of no cooking or worrying about feeding the older dc.

I do prefer self catering as I love eating out but tbh, it can be a pain with younger dc.

Turkey will be hot but have never found the heat a problem. Air con in the room and those all in one uv suits are a godsend.

MrsMelons · 10/05/2013 13:04

I think A/I is much easier, not having to cook or clean up takes a lot of the stress away. Usually there is a buffet restaurant which means if your DCs are not great at sitting at a table for ages then meals are a lot quicker. I can't think of anything worse than having to cook on holiday!

Usually the DCs eat very healthily etc but on holiday we don't make an issue of it so we never have food battles etc - its generally a relaxing time all round.

I took sterilising tablets when DS2 was little and also took ready made cartons of milk (single ones) if we were going for a week or less (if there was no fridge).

You said in your OP that your 3 YO is quite whingy and pushing boundaries at the moment - this is the bit that may put me off a bit as it could be stressful for you but you may find he is easier when on holiday as will have more freedom.

forevergreek · 10/05/2013 13:13

We do, but have done from tiny. Now 2 and 3, and they have to travel/ fly with at least one of us roughly every 6 weeks either for work/ family/ or hols.

A villa might suit you more. You can hire a car for the week so drive straight from airport avoiding long transfers, also convinent for sightseeing. A private pool will mean you have space, can BBQ food, or eat out. Many come with travel cots/ toys/ highchairs etc if you ask.

Look on baby bolt holes for child friendly options.

Leafmould · 10/05/2013 13:18

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 totally agree with notso .

You may not enjoy it very much, but it might shift the dynamics a bit so that they are not all so dependant on you.

Figgygal · 10/05/2013 13:21

I am desperate for a holiday too have a 16mo so it wont be happening. Ive been spoiled by some lovely pre DS holidays and so the idea of chasing him round with a bottle of factor 50 and rescuing him from a swimming pool he has leapt in fully clothed isn't my idea of a holiday Hmm

Turkey is lovely though and the med facilities are very good so don't be scared off because of that. Again the 5hr flight and airport transfers put me off......god im so desperate for a holiday

MrsMelons · 10/05/2013 13:26

We have done long flights (11 hours) with he DCs since 18 month and 3 YO. They have always been fine as long as they have some books, toys and the tv. Being prepared is the key!

We have been to some unusual non family friendly places also at times but we have been sensible on our expectations and made sure we are doing stuff they enjoy (generally NOT involving shopping, sight seeing or long long meals out). Now they are 5 and 7 it is different as so much easier.

HoppinMad · 10/05/2013 13:32

Thanks. Many great ideas!

Sterilizing tablets and ready made cartons seem like a good plan, I know good hygiene can be compromised when travelling/away from home.

The deal we have been considering does a/i as the only available option. Hmm I actually thought a/i would be a better idea as I wouldnt have to worry about cooking which I hate I guess we could keep bits in the hotel room for the kids.

Heat hopefully wont bother us, DH is vitamin D deficient anyway and I suspect I am too so looking forward to some sun. (brown skin so wont burn AS easily hopefully). Wish we could afford a villa with private pool etc as pp have suggested, seems ideal as kids will have their own space and DC1 wont be overwhelmed by so many people but the prices are a little high from what I checked previously.

Yes mrsmelons its the whinging that is the main factor putting me off. It drives me crazy on a normal day but can distract him with his toys, the garden, a little walk etc. He is worse when tired, and I suspect a holiday may be emotionally draining for kids like him with the change of routine. God I must sound like an awfulmother lol but he was never a chilled out as a baby, nor as a toddler. We do seem to walk on eggshells with him incase something triggers off the whinging/crying.
exhausted sigh i do love him to bits though the lil bugger Grin

OP posts:
HoppinMad · 10/05/2013 13:37

You are right notso, it would be good to share the burden a little, he does do what je can but as he works long hours DC1 is usually in bed before he gets in and DC2 not long after. He does bedtime on weekends but not bath due to bad back. His health isnt great atm so wouldnt mind leaving the kids for a day or two but would make me nervous for any longer. (I know, I know...)

OP posts:
forevergreek · 10/05/2013 13:50

The price of villas shouldn't be too high.

I have been looking on holiday lettings. Lovely private villas in say the canary islands for £500-700 for the week or less. Add flights for 2 adults, 1 child, ( baby free) and hire car if needed. Flights approx £150-200 each adult.

So £500 villa, £400 flights, £100 car hire = £1000. Need to either self cater or eat out/ mixture once there at say a few hundred max ( allowing for extra wine!). If you get one with a BBQ you can just grab some
Steaks/ sausages, salads, breads etc

Shodan · 10/05/2013 14:13

It may be that the new sights and sounds etc will distract your eldest so he isn't as whiny as he is at home. Plus there are bound to be other children there- obviously at 3 they're not going to go scampering off on their own but in the splash pool (if there is something like that) he might be entertained by them a bit.

Shodan · 10/05/2013 14:15

Oh and another thing- we took a laptop and a selection of DVDs so that we could watch them with ds1 after ds2 went to bed in the evenings.

Ds1 has very fond memories of snuggling up together to watch them, as do we.

ShadeofViolet · 10/05/2013 14:17

We normally alternate between summer holidays abroad and in the UK. I have to say I prefer the UK, but with planning and a laid back attitude I think both can be achievable and fun.

I do agree that self-drive holidays are much better with younger children.

spongebobsquareeyes · 10/05/2013 14:22

I took mine abroad at 4 and 18 months, and the one thing I wish I did differently was taking strollers for them both. Only took one for DD2 and even though DD1 had been out of pushchairs for ages, the heat totally wiped her out so she really could have done with one. Hope you have a good time :)

Bonsoir · 10/05/2013 14:27

I don't know what the fuss is about travelling with DC. It's fine, it really is. And we never, ever do all-in type holidays, always independent travel.

MrsTerryPratchett · 10/05/2013 14:34

DD (2) is not a whinger and has so far done 14 flights so slightly easier than yours. Smile Best holiday, hands down, no argument, rainy beach holiday in Cornwall. Beach, ice cream, fish and chips (no cooking, no washing up, no arguments), bucket and spade, first in the door at the Eden Centre. She loved it, we loved it.

Chewbecca · 10/05/2013 14:37

We've holidayed a lot with children and enjoyed them all!

I would 2nd the suggestion up thread to drive to a mobile home on a French campsite. Loads of benefits, you can throw whatever you like in the car, stop when you want. There's not much 'domestic' type work to do there, just an occasional sweep of the floor when it gets sandy and a little washing up. You can eat out some nights, get food in from the takeaway some nights (chicken and chips usually v good on campsites), self cater on a couple if you're on a budget.
Children can roam fairly freely and safely, maybe play with other children they should be worn out from the playground, swimming, fresh air etc so hopefully will sleep well. You can then sit o/s the mobile home in the evening watching the stars and drinking wine and having a good chat.
We find it a really relaxing type of holiday and DS names these holidays as his favourites.

Fenton · 10/05/2013 14:40

I've travelled with mine from quite young, DS1 9m, then when there were the two of them I think again DS2 was 9m and DS1 was 3.5.

Having said that though they were fairly easily pleased and contended on home ground so I didn't worry that they would be a nightmare abroad. They did however take a couple of days to adjust to the surroundings and climate so for them they were a bit whingy.

Perhaps it's a good idea to trial run them on a long weekend somewhere nearer first. If they are very much into a routine perhaps loosen this up a bit if you can - it's a lot for them to take on board (no pun intended) if they are somewhere hotter, different meal times, away from their home, away from routine all at once.

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