It may only be February but after what seems like the longest cold spell I am craving the warmth of the sun and just this week we have been discussing where our holiday destination will be this year.
If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that last year’s holiday was a very special one. Having previously only taken Jake to Cornwall on our trips, we were thrown into experiencing our first holiday abroad with him because my sister chose Zante, Greece as the venue for her wedding. Taking a two-year-old on a plane was something that had always filled me with dread and, to be honest, taking a toddler abroad left me worried that I wouldn’t have the time to relax or the chance to enjoy the sites… I really needn’t have worried quite so much. Taking a 2-year-old to another country was the most amazing thing we could have done! Not only did he love his first experience of flying (except for his ears on the descent, bless him) but he was also opened up to a whole other world, one where the scenery varied from home, one where turtles laid their eggs on the beaches, one where people spoke a different language and one where every day was a new adventure. We visited different beaches, met new people, visited the best parts of Zante and even hired out a boat for the day… as well as witnessing my sister getting married in the most stunning setting. When you holiday abroad with a child you really do see it all through their eyes.
Having learnt a lot from taking Jake abroad I now feel as though I can offer up my ten top travel must haves for going away with a child:
As this was Jake’s first time flying I posted on my Facebook page for everyone’s top tips on how to keep him happy for the duration of the flight. I had some great responses and you can read the entire post here. The best idea, however, was to wrap up different gifts and give them out every half an hour to prevent your child from becoming bored. We chose items such as books, connect four, a puzzle, sticker book etc. All affordably purchased from The Pound Shop and The Works. It was such a success!
Hats, Sunglasses and Suncream
Sun protection is so important, even more so when you are taking a child/children. Make sure you have factor 50 for them and even use this yourself for the first few days as your skin acclimatises. Hats can be a nightmare to keep on kids but are so important in the prevention of sunstroke. You can get some really funky kids sunglasses too!
You can get some really funky kids sunglasses too!
Capture Every Moment
In this statement, I mean always have your camera, phone or camcorder to hand. I am a photo-taking addict and love to have images as keepsakes. On our Zante trip, I probably took more photos than I ever have done on any holiday but it had so many special moments that I knew they needed to be captured. Check out my holiday mood board below:
Water Safety Wear
This is dependant on the age of your children and their swimming ability but as Jake was only 2 and had never swum in the sea before, this was an extremely important factor during our holiday. We took armbands and a flotation vest and plenty of swim nappies.
No holiday is complete without an inflatable for the water! These are always easily bought whilst you are away and Jake picked a very fetching pink, Disney Princess car.
We arranged a hire car with a car seat prior to leaving for our holiday because we wanted to be able to get around the island with a young child, safely. If you are prepared like this you can research the areas you want to visit, plan your trips and arrange to take a sat-nav already equipped with the relevant maps. Taxi’s do not supply car seats in Zante and some of the driving is quite hair-raising! Having your own car gives you the freedom to see and do so much more during your holiday.
The accommodation, for us, needs to tick several boxes: plenty of room, somewhere to make food, a pool, friendly staff, on-site entertainment and, if possible, amazing views. We chose a villa for last year’s holiday but we were very lucky to be able to visit nearby hotels and also use their facilities during our stay. Most hotels welcome daytime visitors as long as you are purchasing food and drink from them and not just cheekily using their pool. Prior to booking your accommodation, it is also worth researching what there is to do locally, whether there are shops and restaurants nearby and what entertainment there is for children.
First Aid Kit
I get a little safety OCD when I pack for a holiday. I am aware that the emergency services may not be as efficient as at home and that a Doctor may be some drive away depending on where you are staying. I always pack a first aid kit and now we have Jake this will include infant paracetamol, ibuprofen, antihistamines, plasters, bandages, antiseptic wipes and mosquito spray.
Now, I don’t know about you but holidays for me mean the chance to get dressed up every night. I will happily spend my money on a gorgeous variety of dresses, different sandal styles and dangly earrings. As a Mum, I rarely get the opportunity to go out but when a holiday comes this all changes. Hit those shops and fill your suitcase with an outfit for every night!
Travel Plug Adaptors
You will be most probably be taking a hair dryer, mobile phones, a tablet, possibly a laptop, yet these will be no good to you if you cannot charge or plug them in! I found travel adaptors in The Pound Shop last year and could not believe my luck. These may well be much pricier abroad so purchase them beforehand.
We would love to be able to give Jake an equally amazing holiday experience this year too. Do you have any top destinations for us to consider? Or perhaps some top tips that I may have missed?
*This post is my application to be considered as a #Markwarnermum (and I am so excited!)
Wish us luck! xx