How to Successfully Holiday With a Toddler
This summer we took our first ever family holiday abroad with our two-year-old toddler. It was unforeseen, unplanned and incredibly last minute but we (mostly I) were deliriously happy and grateful that we were able to take one.
A fortuitous series of events meant that we could actually take a holiday for the first time in three years, and it was, hands down the most exciting thing that had happened to us since we moved house. With only a week between booking and actually going on holiday (very uncharacteristic of us), we very quickly got ourselves organised and packed, and before we knew it we were jetting off.
We decided to only go for a short four-day jaunt, but anyone with a toddler will know what a military operation going on a holiday is regardless of how long you go for. So for anyone about to embark on a similar adventure, here’s what I learnt about how to successfully holiday with a toddler:
Flying with Toddlers is Unpredictable
Flying with a toddler is unpredictable. We had a morning flight out of the UK and a night flight on the way back in. The logical expectation therefore would be that your toddler would probably be awake during the morning flight and sleep on the night flight back in.
The reality was the opposite. Our little lady was catching z’s on the morning flight before we even took off from Heathrow and on our return refused to go to sleep until well into our flight, some two to three hours later. Completely and totally unpredictable.
Jet Lag and Little People Don’t Mix
Your toddler will not acclimatise to the new time zone as quickly as you. Despite our best efforts to keep our toddler awake till dinner, she inevitably fell asleep each evening just before we got to a restaurant, and woke up just as we were finishing our meal.
It was uncanny and slightly annoying, although we made the most of the opportunity and had a few faux “date nights” with our snoozing toddler in tow. Since then we’ve taken holidays in places like Tenerife and Gran Canaria where there is no time difference to the UK so you can start your holiday as soon as you land on the tarmac.
They Have Their Own Holiday Diet
There is a toddler version of the holiday diet. Whilst most of us adults liberally throw caution to the wind and our diets out the window the moment those plane tyres hit the tarmac, toddlers seem to do the opposite and go on a very strange, very restrictive holiday diet.
For example, regardless of the wonderful wide range and dare I mention, fully inclusive buffet breakfast on offer each morning, Ella decided that each breakfast would consist of grapes, and grapes only. For four days. Some may call it dedication. I call it craziness.
You’ll Need the Extra Baggage Allowance
You probably won’t pack enough clothes for your toddler. We packed two outfits per day and a few “back up” outfits for good measure, and still managed to run out of clothes by day two.
The next time we go away I’ll probably pack half of her wardrobe to be on the safe side. Taking some washing detergent with us would probably be even smarter.
They Probably Won’t Like the Beach
If it’s the first time you are taking your toddler on a beach holiday, they probably won’t like the beach. Chris and I were both so excited to take Ella to a beach for the first time, only to discover to our disappointment that she hated it.
She refused to touch the sand and was not impressed by being dipped into the sea. Suffice to say that our fleeting 15-minute stay on the beach made it officially our shortest “beach” holiday ever.
Despite all of that, we had the loveliest holiday, a much-needed break and made lots of new memories. Since then we’ve taken lots more holidays because once you know how to successfully holiday with a toddler it’s just wonderful.