So, you have a 1 old and you’re thinking of going on a holiday? There are plenty of people who’ll tell you not to bother: wait until they’re a bit older and easier to reason with; a holiday with a toddler isn’t really a holiday at all.
But travelling with your 1 year old can actually be fun! While you may not get to spend hours dozing by the pool with the latest holiday blockbuster, you can still enjoy a break from the daily grind and spend quality time with your family.
As with many things in life, the key to successful travelling with toddlers is to be prepared. We’ve put together these six top tips to help you get the most from your time away.
Unless you have managed to raise the world’s only toddler who enjoys being quiet for 12 hours at a time, you’ll probably want to avoid the long-haul flights until they are older. Keeping your journey time low and as stress-free as possible is one of the best ways to get your holiday off to a positive start. There are several UK based destinations that are great for toddlers. Devon has not one but two coastlines, two national parks, wild ponies, cream teas, ice cream: yes, Devon is the place on earth for toddlers.
If you’re travelling in the UK and going self-catering, there’s really no need to use suitcases at all. Take laundry baskets instead. You can fill them gradually during the run up to your break, and it’s easy to access things on your journey. Fill one with your dirty clothes while you’re away and bring it back all ready for the washing machine.
Travel buggies: to buy or not to buy? Some families opt to leave the main buggy at home and take a lighter, second stroller if they’re travelling abroad. It gives you more space in a hire-car boot and can be useful back at home. But before you invest, think about where you’re going and whether a lightweight buggy will stand up to the terrain. Does your toddler sleep in the daytime? A lightweight buggy will mean a bumpier ride and they may not sleep so easily on the go.
Food for thought Leave your parental guilt at home when you’re on holiday and don’t stress too much about what they eat. It’s a few days in the grand scheme of things, and having a relaxing time is more important than fighting over the broccoli.
Toddlers aren’t known for their love of health and beauty regimes, especially when there are sandcastles to be built, so putting on sunscreen can be a challenge. Applying in the car seat can be a good way to keep squirmy toddlers in one place. If they really hate it, try to make it fun. Get them to pull a funny face while you’re applying it, or make a family sunscreen train so everyone is putting it on everyone else at the same time
There are no easy answers when it comes to your toddler’s sleep on holiday. Many parents stick rigidly to their routines while others prefer to let go of schedules while they’re away. If you’re going to be away a lot, you might have no choice. If you have to choose between a missed morning nap or missed afternoon nap, opt for the latter and an early bedtime. The morning nap usually sets the mood for the rest of the day. An overtired toddler in the morning doesn’t usually improve during the rest of the day or night.
Tips provided by nursery essentials specialist, www.hippychick.com. Their free travel guide for parents with 0-3s is available for download at https://www.hippychick.com/downloads/1-hippychick-ebook