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Holiday Ideas with Toddlers

31 replies

nobodygirle · 28/09/2022 14:02

We're currently away for our first holiday abroad as a family. We have a 2 year old DD and another one on the way.

We've come to a lovely 5* All Inclusive in Greece thinking the convenience of it would be ideal for our daughter, that she'd love spending the day in the pool, the private beach and the ease of buffet style meals etc but she has been miserable (and therefore so have we by default).

She hates the food, doesn't like the heat or going in the pool and didn't much enjoy the beach either. Aside from the odd fun moment here or there she's seemed unhappy and would definitely rather be at home.

Either way, its been far from relaxing. We've had a stressful few months and thought the holiday would be what we needed as a family but alas....

So, leaves me with the question - where could we go for holidays in the future (over next few years when she and younger one are still young). I love going abroad so don't want to just holiday in the UK but can't do this again.

Anyone have any great ideas of holidays that kids will also enjoy? Sp far Euro Disney is all I can come up with.

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NerrSnerr · 28/09/2022 14:05

I wouldn't do Eurodisney for a few years yet. Lots of queues and walking. I'd wait until she can cope better.

Our key to a not terrible holiday with small children is put them 100% first and do what they will enjoy and then there's a chance of a quick beer or rest if they're having fun. I know it's not what you want but Butlin's ticked this box for us with toddlers/ preschoolers. So much fun stuff for children, all on one site and easy food options. We did an all inclusive this year with children 8 and 5 and it was lovely, they had a lot of fun but wouldn't have done it earlier.

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DoubleHelix79 · 28/09/2022 14:06

Watching with interest - DS is coming up to 18 months and we'll have the same problem soon.

Efteling in the Netherlands may be worth considering - it's like a quirkier Disneyland and is great for different ages. Only a relatively short drive from the ferry ports as well.

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BergamotMouse · 28/09/2022 14:09

Eek, we couldn't bring ourselves to bring a hood at abroad because we knew we'd resent having spent lots of money on having a miserable time.

I know it's the opposite of what you want but we just holiday in UK and do activities for the kids.

If you want to go abroad how about some type of European centre parks?

Ours are now 6 and nearly 4 and think I'll contemplate a holiday abroad in 2 years (my youngest can be really whingey!!)

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Chanel05 · 28/09/2022 14:11

Controversially, I'd say Euro Disney would be thoroughly enjoyed by your toddler!

We took my dd to Disney World when she was 18 months and again at 22 months and she had the time of her life.

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FlounderingFruitcake · 28/09/2022 14:15

It’s same shit difference place with that age. What goes down well can be quite random. I’d take the opportunity to do whatever you want to do (within reason) and drag them along for the ride. Kids clubs/creche are also good for everyone’s sanity!

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TheMoops · 28/09/2022 14:19

All inclusive but with a specific family/child focus worked for us.

They had child friendly food, kids clubs and kids entertainment all day.

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nobodygirle · 28/09/2022 15:05

Thanks everyone. Unfortunately all the Kids Clubs we found were 4+ so wasn't even an option.

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FlounderingFruitcake · 28/09/2022 15:08

nobodygirle · 28/09/2022 15:05

Thanks everyone. Unfortunately all the Kids Clubs we found were 4+ so wasn't even an option.

Agree they’re less common but they do exist if you want them, we’ve done a few!

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Thetractorjustmoved · 29/09/2022 13:29

We had an awful holiday in Majorca at that age. Thought he'd love it, pool, buffet etc. He hated everything and wanted to stay in the room watching paw patrol. Thankfully we've had really enjoyable holidays since, but it might just be a 2 thing!

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FriedasCarLoad · 29/09/2022 13:32

Our toddler and preschooler are far happier camping than in hotels. They love the adventure and the freedom to run around, and then we go out each day.

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Fivemoreminutes1 · 29/09/2022 13:38

Centre Parcs - my dd was as happy as Larry being carted round on the back of the bike, feeding the wildlife, playing on the little lakeside beach and spending hours in the soft play areas while we had meals/snacks/drinks. She was a bit ‘meh’ about the swimming pool at first but we took her to the little tots swimming sessions and she eventually started loving it. We put her in the crèche once so DH and I could do an activity together.

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LolaSparkle · 29/09/2022 13:55

Chanel05 · 28/09/2022 14:11

Controversially, I'd say Euro Disney would be thoroughly enjoyed by your toddler!

We took my dd to Disney World when she was 18 months and again at 22 months and she had the time of her life.

I'd second this ... we've just got back from Florida is my 20 month old lockdown toddler and I cannot stress how much he enjoyed it! Hand on heart never ever seen him so happy!

Don't get me wrong he had his moments, but they were just that ... moments! Far too much distraction for them to last any longer!

As a side note, the holiday has also been my favourite every Florida trip and holiday in general!

If relaxation is what you're after, I can also recommend a Disney Cruise! Said toddler was in his element! No holiday is fully relaxing with a toddler but the cruise part of our trip was the closest I got 😆

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Luxembourgmama · 29/09/2022 14:12

Martinhal was super for us. Excellent kids buffet and entertainment

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Luxembourgmama · 29/09/2022 14:13

Martinhal does kids club from 6 months which is very appealing

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Underwater11 · 29/09/2022 14:27

I’m surprised she hates the beach, the sand has always been a massive hit with my toddlers. Pools were only enjoyed by my toddlers if they were paddling depth and had a bucket/watering can but not for swimming. Then play parks, toddlering around towns (but not for too long), anything with animals, boat trips. I think for mine just general freedom to explore and exciting foods like ice creams propels them through any holiday and some kind of water so lake/sea/river with water toys. We even did a vineyard/wine tasting with my 20month old this summer and managed somehow to keep them entertained. The only true disaster holiday we’ve had was a city break weekend with a sick 9 month old. Would not recommend. We also take a bunch of their toys/colouring books with us which they always use. We’ve also only ever done self catering, so we can keep a decent night schedule for them but when they’re a bit older will be looking into places with kids clubs too.

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SBAM · 29/09/2022 14:32

Beekse Bergen was great this summer for a 2 and just turned 5 year old. We hired a wagon so they could have a ride when legs got tired, but there were pools, a playground, the safari park, we went to Efteling one day, the Speelland beach/playground another day, though that’s aimed at slightly older kids I think.
Even going on the night ferry was an adventure.
We did also take my in-laws, exciting for the kids to go on holiday with grandma and grandad and just made things lower stress for us to have a few extra pairs of eyes and hands.

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NuffSaidSam · 29/09/2022 14:32

With small kids it's more what you do than where you are and what they generally enjoy is....whatever they like doing at home! They're not as into the change of scenery as you are at this age. They want consistency!

So go wherever you like, but bring toys and books from home and accept that you might be sitting by a pool but you'll still be playing tea sets and reading the same books. Bring bath toys/pool.yoys from home if you want them to play with water (if they don't like water at home, they won't on holiday either). Look for a playground, a farm that sort of thing (available almost anywhere). Look for a hotel with space to play. Keep the routine as similar as possible.

Try and find somewhere with a kids club! They do have them for small ones.

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WhatNoRaisins · 29/09/2022 14:33

I think you've got to figure out what the toddler likes doing, do some days out, walking in the woods, picnics, exploring a new town, the beach etc. Once you've figured it out attempt to find a holiday destination where you can replicate it and accept it's going to be same shit different location in any case.

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Nowisthemonthofmaying · 29/09/2022 14:39

We just had a tough holiday in Greece with our 2 year old, fortunately after a hot first week it cooled down a lot so we could spend time on the beach and in the garden more easily, but it was still far from ideal.

Holidays that have worked much better for us have been either city breaks with loads of stuff to go out and visit and good public transport (dd loves buses, art galleries etc) or Butlins-type resorts (I know) which are not to my taste at all but the PILs love them so we've done a few, it does make it easier with a toddler with no cooking to worry about and lots of family activities, a pool etc. Camping was also a big hit, she loved being outside all day with lots of space to run around in and other kids to watch/play with.

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allfurcoatnoknickers · 29/09/2022 15:48

I think it depends on your toddler though because you're currently on DS's dream holiday!

The thing I've found is that you have to split your day into 3 chunks - morning you do some kind of activity, The after lunch you go back to the hotel, chill by the pool and have nap/quiet time in the room, then evening go out to dinner and explore a bit before bed.

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TheMoops · 29/09/2022 17:45

Thanks everyone. Unfortunately all the Kids Clubs we found were 4+ so wasn't even an option.

Try TUI they have kids clubs for younger kids

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TheBirdintheCave · 29/09/2022 20:53

We enjoyed city breaks before our son was born and we've just carried on going on them now he's here. We figured a two year old is still basically an accessory. He's still too little to enjoy any child centred activities. As long as he gets to walk and visit a park occasionally he's pretty happy!

We took him on a train tour of Emilia Romagna at 18 months and have just come back from Granada at 21 months :)

I'd recommend Italian and Spanish cities. Our boy was treated like a little prince everywhere we went :)

Next year we're doing Crete and a couple other yet to be decided Greek islands.

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Flopisfatteningbingforchristmas · 29/09/2022 20:57

AL can be amazing for kids but you need to find one which specifically focuses on young children.

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Cormoran · 29/09/2022 23:37

How is she usually entertained at home and what does she not like about the food?

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RomainingCalm · 29/09/2022 23:51

Villa holidays worked for us when DC were little. We'd have a car and go out in the morning, have lunch somewhere, DC napped and then we'd come back for a swim and an easy dinner at the villa.

Sounds boring on paper but we stuck to a normal-ish bedtime so DH and I had chance to sit out with a glass of wine.

Yes, a bit less of a holiday for us than AI but in some ways easier than us all sharing a hotel room, late nights and always having to eat in the restaurant.

When they got older AI was great but keeping some sort of routine seemed to suit the toddlers better.

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