Travelling With A Toddler In Tow: What To Consider

Like most new parents, we swore that having a child wouldn’t stop us from travelling the world. We’ve both travelled extensively, either backpacking or through work, and wanted to pass that love of new cultures (and foods!) on to our next generation. Things started well, we took our son on a staycation at six weeks of age and to Crete at five months. Then at 15 months, we went long haul and visited Antigua… it was bliss; until we realised that taking a toddler on holiday is significantly harder work than a baby.

To start with, a toddler needs entertaining. They need constant watching to ensure they don’t dive head first into the pool. They need naps and a proper sleep pattern that they’ll fight with every inch of their body. They need to live off of more than milk and are far less cute when they’re screaming their lungs out. Put simply, travelling with a toddler is a whole new ball game.

Travelling With A Toddler

This year, my Google search is less ‘five star resort in Antigua’ and more ‘homes for rent in France‘. And whilst there’s a part of me that mourns the holidays of the past, I’m excited for a new stage of travel in our lives… travelling with a toddler and a baby. 

Our previous adventures have allowed me to feel pretty confident with what we need to consider when travelling with kids; but here’s an updated list of what we’re considering when travelling with a toddler in tow;

Location

When it comes to location, I want the feeling of being on holiday without the stress of long distance travel. Having done a nine hour overnight flight whilst constantly bouncing and shushing, I can safely say it’s not something I want to re-enact any time soon. Yet I want warmer climes and a different culture to the UK; I love a staycation as much as the next person but sometimes, you just need a change. That’s why we’re looking at keeping it fairly local (HA!) and sticking to France. Being on the South coast, ferries are a definite option and allow us to take the huge piles of paraphernalia that children come with. Failing that flights are short, regular and affordable; all things to consider now that we’ll be paying for three seats.

Travelling With A Toddler

Food

Our son isn’t a fussy eater, but he knows what he likes and he likes what he knows. For him, like me, carbs are king. We want somewhere where we know that we’re going to be able to cater for his tastes, as well as ours. Breads, pastries, frites and yoghurt; I think it’s safe to say that Europe is going to be the best fit for him at this point. Plus it gives me an excuse for a daily trip to the bakery… We tend to keep restaurant trips to during the day and eat in in the evening due to bedtimes, so it’s important that there are food supplies (and eateries) in the relatively near vicinity.

Language

With little ones in tow, I want to be sure that we can speak the lingo, whether that’s calling on my GCSE French or cracking out some incredibly poor Spanish. Whilst I can mime as well as the rest of them, I want to know that we can understand menus, visit tourist attractions and get help if we need it.

Transport

We’re not huge adventurers but being able to get around is certainly high on our list of priorities. Whether it’s to the beach, the supermarket or into a local town for some lunch, it’s important that there’s good access that’s easy to use. In the past, I’ve gotten to grips with public transport and subways but our reality is we’re more likely to want to drive with two children; whether that’s in our own car or having hired one. Good roads, understandable signage and ease of parking are all (rather boring) things we bear in mind!

Travelling With A Toddler

Accomodation

Whilst I’m tempted beyond belief with a hotel stay (with a spa. and childcare.), when it comes to taking a toddler away, we’ve concluded that a villa or home rental is probably the best bet for us. It allows us to have more space to spread out. Why’s that important? Whilst routine goes out of the window a bit on holiday, it’s safe to say that we’ll all have more fun if bedtime for the toddler stays relatively early. It means we can put him to bed in one room and enjoy our dinner and evening in peace, giving us a little bit of well-earned rest as well. We also found from previous trips that it allowed him to keep his naps without one of us being stuck in the room with him. A week or more of us all sleeping in the same room would turn into a (sleep deprived disaster). Put simply, we all need a bit of space.

Safety

Whilst we’re on accommodation, it would be silly not to mention security. Whilst I’m a firm believer in not stopping going somewhere, having children with me has made me far more aware of potential holiday no-go areas or potential risk areas. We’ve always preferred smaller towns and villages, believing we get a chance to take in a little more culture. I think it comes from spending my childhood being dragged from French town to French town on road trips with my parents! It also reduces the stress element… I don’t fancy taking two little ones into Paris or another built up area, it’s hard enough to control one at home!

Additionally, we want a living space that we feel safe in. Whilst a pool is high on our list of preferences, we’d want to know that there was safety fencing or access alarms to stop the toddler wandering into it without our knowledge. With small ones around, lockable doors and controllable access is also important.

How To Afford Your Next Family Holiday

Activities

Ahhh the big one! Whether it’s a week away or longer, we like to have some things to do to break up the days and get us out and about. From day trips to the beach to days out at local attractions, it’s my aim to at least try and get one or two little trips in… otherwise we may as well stay at home! It’s another reason France is looking appealing to us; I’m hoping to sneak in a vineyard tour at some point. Well it’s my holiday as well…

 

If you’re travelling with a toddler, a good pushchair can make or break your trip… check out our review of the Joie Pact pushchair, the ideal holiday companion! 

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18 Comments

  1. 15th January 2018 / 10:06 am

    Our first holiday with a toddler and a baby was in 2008 – we went to Majorca and my eldest was 2 and youngest 6 months – we were actually surprised how well it went but the constant keeping them both entertained was pretty tiring. Sarah Stockley

    • DevonMamaOnline
      15th January 2018 / 9:30 pm

      Ooooh now this fills me with confidence because we’re hoping to do similar at the end of this year with two!

  2. 15th January 2018 / 12:52 pm

    I am yet to travel with a toddler in tow although we are planning on going away soon and I’m ever so slightly terrified of the thought of keeping a small child entertained on a flight! x

    • DevonMamaOnline
      15th January 2018 / 9:29 pm

      We took some small Duplo car sets which worked well, the iPad and the world’s largest supply of snacks! It’s worth the effort, just think, it’s only a TINY part of your holiday!

  3. 15th January 2018 / 7:35 pm

    It takes a lot of planning when travelling with children, but it is so worth it! We are off backpacking around South East Asia with our children this year, but it has taken a lot of planning to make it work with young children in tow.

    • DevonMamaOnline
      15th January 2018 / 9:27 pm

      Eeeeek I can’t wait to read all about your trip – now THAT would definitely take some planning!

  4. 15th January 2018 / 8:13 pm

    Fab tips here and I will definitely note them down. We’re hoping to book a villa in France as it’s where both my husband and I used to go as children. I’d love to create similar childhood memories with my children x

    • DevonMamaOnline
      15th January 2018 / 9:27 pm

      Ahhh how lovely! There’s something magical about revisiting your own childhood isn’t there?

  5. 16th January 2018 / 9:12 am

    This is so helpful! We went on our first family holiday when Willow was 15 months old and that was quite the mission!xo

    • DevonMamaOnline
      19th January 2018 / 12:22 pm

      It’s ‘interesting’ isn’t it?! In a way it was easier with lots of people there (we went with my whole family) as there were plenty of others to help out, but it also meant we couldn’t just go with his flow and take early nights etc etc. Just the amount of stuff you need is epic!

  6. 16th January 2018 / 9:20 am

    We’re waiting until Elise is a bit older to travel abroad as we’re not quite ready to tackle the plane! We are loving uk breaks at the moment though and they are really working for us. We’ll definitely look for somewhere with lots of activities and that is family friendly though.

    • DevonMamaOnline
      19th January 2018 / 12:20 pm

      I thought the plane would be the worst bit but actually, he’s been pretty good on them so far. The worst was on the way back from Antigua… he was SO overtired and just couldn’t settle himself enough to drop off. It put me off of overnight flights really, more from the fear of disturbing EVERYONE else! I love a UK break though, anywhere that’s a break from the norm counts as a holiday for me!

  7. 16th January 2018 / 9:56 am

    We are travelling to Halkidiki (Greek Island) in July! It’ll be our first time abroad with a toddler. He’ll be 15 months! I’m so excited but I’m also very aware that this holiday is going to be a whole new experience!

    • DevonMamaOnline
      19th January 2018 / 12:19 pm

      Eeeek how exciting!! I think if you go into it on the understanding that it’ll be a different type of holiday then you can’t go too wrong. Just think how lovely it will be to share that experience with him… and the food… I’m so jealous right now!!

  8. 16th January 2018 / 4:05 pm

    Ah this was so helpful! We want to take Amelia away this year so will certainly be making notes of these tips! I think it’s such a good idea to rend a place than look for childcare or spa like you suggested.

    I can’t wait.. though, need to get Amelia’s passport sorted first haha..

    • DevonMamaOnline
      19th January 2018 / 12:17 pm

      Ha! Always the little things like legal documents that we forget as well! We did my sons in record time after we’d booked the holiday… it was SO stressful!!

  9. Lauren
    16th January 2018 / 4:38 pm

    I can imagine the entertaining them is the hardest part! I went to Spain with my nephew when he was one and he didn’t walk or anything at that point so was easy enough to keep in the pushchair most walks! We even took a floaty out to the sea, so he could come in a little bit. He enjoyed every minute x

    • DevonMamaOnline
      19th January 2018 / 12:16 pm

      Ahhh that sounds lovely! I know, I don’t think we appreciated how easy it was when he was small and immobile. Now he just wants to play and do constantly, which is lovely but oh my goodness, so exhausting!

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