How to have a relaxing holiday abroad with young children

How to have a relaxing holiday with young children

Anyone with kids will know that going on holiday with young children is often not the most relaxing of experiences. When we went to Cape VerdeΒ earlier this year when Taylor was 12 months old, relaxing moments were admittedly few and far between. There was the odd snatched moment by the pool or on the beach when we’d finally got her to nap in her buggy, but for the most part the hubby and I could be found taking it in turns doing laps of the resort willing a grumpy and tired toddler to ‘please just go to sleep!’

how to have a relaxing holiday with young children

Perhaps it wasn’t the best of ages for Taylor to venture on our first package holiday abroad – too curious to fall asleep when she needed it, yet too young to miss sleep without becoming grumpy and irritable. When we took her away at four months old it was much easier, and now that she’s almost 18 months we can get away with missing a nap time or keeping her up past her usual bedtime every now and then.

However, there are a few lessons I’ve learned from our holidays so far and things I’d do differently the next time we go abroad…

How to have a relaxing holiday with young children

1. Holiday with friends and family

The holiday to Cape Verde was probably our least relaxing because it was just the three of us. As lovely as it was to get away, we did spend a lot of time ‘taking it in turns’ – turns to get up and get a plate of dinner, turns to go in the pool with Taylor, turns to go and get the drinks…which is not much fun really.

We went to visit my sister who lives in Dubai when Taylor was 4 months old, and when it was my 31st birthday we had a week in Spain with my parents. Both of these holidays worked so much better because there were more adults to help with looking after Taylor and it was definitely a case of the more the merrier. It was also great for Taylor to have her cousin to play with in Dubai so the adults weren’t having to constantly entertain her – having other kids to play with is a no-brainer really – more fun for them, more relaxing for you!

2. Stay in a villa

Staying in a villa is ideal with young children as it provides a home from home. The best thing about it is that you can stick to the same routines and have the convenience of having everything at your fingertips – so the kids won’t be too out of sync. Sitting in the hotel room for an hour whilst Taylor slept just wasn’t something we wanted to do on our holiday…But the idea of putting her to bed in a villa whilst stealing an hour alone poolside? Pure bliss!

How to have a relaxing holiday with young children

I also love the idea of being able to cook your own food at any time of day. As much as Taylor loved chicken nuggets and chips for the first couple of days at our all-inclusive hotel, the mum guilt did start to kick in by day five! Leisurely meals outside without the hassle of finding a table and ‘taking it in turns’ to grab a plate of food is so much more appealing.

I’ve recently discovered Tots to Travel which has a fantastic selection of family-friendly villas. Each villa has blackout blinds, hand blenders, baby monitors, toys and everything you need so that you can leave all of your baby and toddler essentials at home. I love the look of this child-friendly farmhouse in Italy which sleeps 10 with two infant cots and has an indoor play area, a toddler pool and a sand pit. Really, what more could you want?

Tots to Travel villaholiday with young childrenprop-id-909-posabile04-201601261549173. travel light

Okay, so I know this is easier said than done with young children and you sometimes feel as though you’ve left home with everything but the kitchen sink…but think about how much you’re realistically going to need and don’t take excessive amounts of luggage if you can help it. I find that if I pack too much I can forget where I’ve put everything and I’m a lot more organised when I’ve been more selective. You can stock up on items like nappies and toiletries once you get to your destination. As for clothes, the kids will mostly be in their swimwear every day, so you really don’t need to take every outfit in the wardrobe.Β Having said that, it really is important that you don’t forget any of your essentials (I once forgot to take a sunhat #badmother), so carefully planning your items in advance is key.

4. Keep new toys and games for later

It can be so tempting to get out all of the new toys and activities you’ve brought during the first hour of the flight as soon as you hear the first moan. But keeping a secret stash of new toys and treats can really help to avert any tantrums further down the line – whether it’s when you’re trying to enjoy a nice meal out, or keep them occupied during a car journey to the local town, you’ll be thankful that you held out and didn’t exhaust all of your options early on! Taylor’s always been more about food than toys, so keeping a handy stash of raisins and bread sticks has really been a life saver for us at times!


5. Allow yourself to relax!

As parents it can be difficult to relax when we’ve always got a little one(s) to look out for – you can never completely switch off. But I’ve found that on holiday, you really do have to allow yourself to just go with the flow and not get too caught up with routines and parenting the same way you do at home.

When we went to Dubai with Taylor, we threw her usual routine out the window and just let her nap throughout the day whenever she wanted to and eat at the same times as us. We’ve always taken her out with us in her buggy in the evenings during holidays and on most evenings she’d fall asleep after her usual 7pm bedtime – giving us at least a few hours to let our hair down a little. Other nights weren’t so successful and she refused to drop off – but we soon learnt that it was easier to just let her be awake rather than waste time trying to rock her back to sleep. Just enjoy the novelty of being on holiday and let the kids enjoy it too.

What are your tips for having a holiday with young children? Have you been abroad with your kids? Did you get chance to relax?

Post written inΒ collaboration

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17 Comment

  1. Reply
    June 15, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Oh I know that overtired tot well. I like the sound of that travel company so have bookmarked it for later. #bestandworst
    Helena recently posted…Sunshine and Showers, Bring on the FlowersMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Mum in Brum
      June 17, 2016 at 10:46 am

      It does sound great doesn’t it? Ideal for parents x

  2. Reply
    Crummy Mummy
    June 15, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I didn’t think ‘relax’ ‘children’ and holiday belong in the same sentence! I definitely agree with more hands making lighter work… #bestandworst
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…5 breastfeeding-friendly summer outfitsMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Mum in Brum
      June 17, 2016 at 10:44 am

      It’s always nice to rope in friends and family isn’t it! Plus they love it too as it’s more novel than just mum and dad x

  3. Reply
    My Petit Canard
    June 15, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Great tips! We went away last summer with the little one for the first time just the three of us and did find that it was about taking turns when we were by the pool etc because it was just the three of us. This summer we are going away for a big family wedding so there will be lots of people around and im hoping that like you say it will be that little bit easier and more relaxing πŸ™‚ Emily #bestandworst

    1. Reply
      Mum in Brum
      June 17, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Ooh a big family wedding sounds ideal! Enjoy! X

  4. Reply
    Fiona - Coombe Mill
    June 19, 2016 at 12:44 am

    I have to admit we didn’t take our aboard before they were 6 and swimming confidently. I think that was just numbers with so many though, I’d be tempted to try with just one. #KCACOLS

  5. Reply
    Squirmy Popple
    June 19, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I agree that travelling with family and/or staying in a self-catering cottage is ideal. Whenever we travel, we always stay somewhere where we can cook our own meals – plus if we were all in one hotel room, my husband and I would have to go to bed at 7 with my daughter! We recently went to New York to visit family, and it was great having other adults around to share the baby-watching duties. #KCACOLS
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…How to get your baby to sleep in one easy stepMy Profile

  6. Reply
    the frenchie mummy
    June 19, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Great tips and the places you showed us look amazing! Having friends or family is a big bonus so you can escape and have free baby-sitting πŸ˜ƒ#KCACOLS
    the frenchie mummy recently posted…5 Reasons to be excited for the Euro Cup 2016My Profile

  7. Reply
    June 19, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Ahhh it is tough to properly relax when you go on holiday with children! Although I have to say it is starting to get a little easier for us now the boys are older! Our most recent trip we spent a weekend in Devon with friends in a cottage and we loved every minute. The kids played nicely together and we could all take turns to cook in the evenings and it was nice to all be able to have a drink in the evening when the kids were in bed!

    Thank you so much for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again next week. xx
    Maria recently posted…Kazoops – a new animated series coming to CBeebiesMy Profile

  8. Reply
    Rebecca | AAUBlog
    June 19, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    great advice. Saying in a villa works well of us, so it is a home away from home. If you’re all stuck in a hotel room it is much less enjoyable x #KCACOLS
    Rebecca | AAUBlog recently posted…Ways to Cut the Cost of Learning to DriveMy Profile

  9. Reply
    Laura @ Mama, Eden and Me
    June 21, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Great tips. We just went to Paris with Eden for the first time and I really wish there would have been more than just me and Amy. #KCACOLS

  10. Reply
    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons
    June 22, 2016 at 10:41 am

    We’ve just got back from a villa holiday in Italy where we took my parents, so I totally agree with you here! It’s great to have more hands available, and we got a couple of child free evenings out – bonus! How amazing does that farmhouse look – it has it’s own soft play?! I’ve not heard of TotstoTravel before but I’m off to check them out now! #KCACOLS

  11. Reply
    June 22, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    we went away to lanzarote when b was 11 months and I cant say it was relaxing either :/ and he got ill the whole week. fun. that villa sounds amazing- indoor play area too! ideal! #KCACOLS

  12. Reply
    helen gandy
    June 22, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Ahhh yes, it is sooo hard to relax with young kiddies isn’t it! We are currently away, we get our own little gite and it is much better I feel than a complex. Right now kids are in bed, I’m tapping away and enjoying a vino. Have to say how amazing does that Italian villa look!! Thanks for linking up #bestandworst
    helen gandy recently posted…Dinosaur D.N.A – ReviewMy Profile

  13. Reply
    June 26, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    We took our first family holiday with our 12 month old recently. We went to a villa in Corsica with my mum and dad and it was great as you said to have people on hand to help and we could put Stripe down for his nap and sit in the sunshine with a cup of tea and a book. #KCACOLS
    Emilie recently posted…Flavourly Craft Beer Club ReviewMy Profile

  14. Reply
    Madeline (This Glorious Life)
    June 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    That farmhouse in Italy looks amazing! And I love the idea of going away with other family members, so that everyone can have a break and relax at some point. x #KCACOLS

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