Five things you need to know if are going on holiday with a baby or toddler
Hello friends! Last week we took Mary to a holiday cottage for a week away and no joke, we nearly came back home after a few hours. *face palm*
We ended up staying and we had a good time, but there’s a few bits a wisdom I’d like to pass on… things I wish we had known, packed or thought about before we got there… let’s chat!
Take spare bed sheets
This might sound weird, but it’s always worth packing a spare duvet cover or two when you are going on holiday with dogs and children. Why? Because you can throw them over the sofas and breathe a small sigh of relief. This way if the dog jumps on the sofa or the child climbs on with a fist full of greasy chips, you can rest easy that you won’t leave muddy paw prints or grease marks on their £3,000 sofa. It’s generally the first thing I do when I arrive at a holiday cottage and I forgot this time. Honestly, it might not look as cute, but it’s a huge relief knowing that their sofa is protected and it might help you relax knowing that it’s a little bit baby proofed!
Pack Teething gel, Calpol and all the medication
It doesn’t matter how long or short the trip is, or how close the local Boots is. Just pack the medication. All. Of. It. Teething gel, teething toys, Calpol, gripe water… just get it all! Even if they aren’t teething or have even a sniffle of a cold, just take it anyway!
New and old toys
I made a huge error, I didn’t take enough toys and I instantly regretted it! The first day we were on holiday, I spent the morning toy shopping for the most obnoxious toys I could find. Crisis averted but also, a big ol’ waste of time! I’d recommend taking their tried and true favourite toys, as well as bringing some new and shiny toys too. That way you have a mix of familiar and new exciting toys.
Speaking of familiar things, pack plenty of snacks and food. Yes you might have shops locally or you are staying at an all inclusive holiday, but children like familiarity and if they don’t eat the food, you can always bring it home with you again.
Lower your expectations
This is a tip my friend sent me when we were considering leaving early… lower your expectations! Pre-baby holidays are a whole different ball game to post-baby holidays. See it as more of a ‘trip’ than a ‘holiday’ or more of a ‘change of scenery’ than a ‘relaxing break’. There’s a bar, lower it.
When we arrived, we were both ready to sit on the sofa and zone out. Meanwhile Mary had been napping in the car and she was ready to explore her surroundings. Honestly it was exhausting and I wasn’t really prepared for it. So pack those toys and don’t expect to zone out. Much like fetch, it’s not going to happen.
Find local soft plays and activities
Finally, before you go, scope out some local parks, soft plays and family friendly activities like a children’s farm or adventure park. It might be worth incorporating these into your plans and if not, it’s worth knowing where they are in case you need to fire them out so you can have a lazy afternoon. It’s just worth knowing… y’know?
It’s also worth noting that the morning we spent at a childrens farm was one of my favourite memories of the holiday. It was so cute and so much fun, we all really enjoyed it, so try not to see activities like this as a negative.
A few final tips…
If you are booking a holiday cottage, ask ahead if they can provide a travel cot and high chair as sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Also, pack your own plastic baby plates and spoons as it’s very rare these are provided and you don’t want to risk using their crockery and it’s gets broken.
It’s also worth running around before the child gets inside and moving any ornaments to high shelves or cupboards. You can always take photos to remind yourself where everything went if you need too.
Overpack. No really. Overpack! Toys, clothes, snacks, medication, prams, carriers, you name it. If in doubt, take it!
Finally, one last thing, if you are booking a holiday cottage and you are choosing between a few, I would say avoid the ones which are open plan as I think it’s easier to control them in a living room than a living room which is also an open plan kitchen and dining room… maybe that’s just me!