So the carefree days of travelling with just hand luggage and a passport may now be over however, there are lots of unmissable holidays when you have children. This article will highlight the holidays you can look forward to as a new parent.
First family holiday with baby
Make the most of your sleepy little bundle of joy and book your first family holiday. Travelling with a newborn is great because the extra cost involved is minimal. Depending on the airline you could be charged a small flat fee for your infant sitting on your lap or up to 10% of an adult fare. Accommodation should be free accommodation (unless you wish infant to have his/her room) and of course there is no need for food other than milk. Baby should (in theory!) sleep anywhere as they are not yet in a routine. Newborns are also great travelling companions because they are not yet mobile and so enjoying the inflight movie and relaxing around the pool is still a possibility (if you do not believe me, you just wait until you have a toddler!) Our first family holiday was to Mexico when Charlie was four months old. Read more about it here.
Images – First family holiday, Mexico
Travel as much as possible before your child turns two
As explained above, the extra costs of a holiday with children under the age of two are minimal as they are considered as a lap child and therefore the most you should have to pay is 10% of an adult fare for their flight. Once your child turns two you will be required to purchase a child ticket. (Child fares are for youngsters 2-11, 12 years plus are considered to be adults). Most toddlers are also still napping for a couple of hours during the day which will give you some much-needed adult-only time to relax in the sun!
We enjoyed a fabulous family holiday to Antigua when Charlie was just approaching two years old. Each morning after breakfast we chose between the beach and the pool and completely wore him out so that after lunch he was ready for a long three-hour nap! We were fortunate to have beach side accommodation and so when we put him down to nap we simply turned on his baby monitor, locked the front door of our hotel suite, stepped out of our patio doors and enjoyed the afternoon on our beach terrace child-free… safe in the knowledge that our baby monitor would let us know the minute he woke up.
Every night after dinner we attempted to get him to go to sleep in his pushchair so that we could return to the hotel bar and make the most of the all-inclusive drinks. Charlie however clearly thought the stroll around in the dark was for his entertainment! He would tease us by looking like he was going to sleep but just as we started to head towards the bar he would point towards our room… A clear sign he just wanted to sleep in his own bed! We gave up after several nights and just resigned to the fact that an early night just meant we could survive the crack of dawn wake up calls and make the most of the resort during the day.
Last holiday as a family of three
This is the last opportunity to treat future big sister/brother to a holiday where they can enjoy your undivided attention before the arrival of baby.
We went on a touring campervan holiday around Cornwall and Devon, six weeks before baby Harry arrived. It was magical for Charlie because his Daddy and I were able to give him our complete attention. His life was about to change forever, he was going to have to learn to share our time and as his baby brother got older also share all of his most treasured belongings (toys etc). The time away from the worries of work gave us the chance to prepare for the fast approaching arrival date of baby number two. We spent time talking to Charlie about how he would be a fabulous big brother and also a useful help to mummy in assisting in caring for baby. Our holiday also gave us the chance to talk through all of Charlie’s questions such as where baby would sleep and how baby would arrive (I left that one for his Daddy to answer!)
Images – Campervan holiday around Cornwall and Devon
Holiday with Grandparents
Before the sleepless nights began we took a mid-week break to Center Parcs with my parents and Richard’s parents. It was the first time we had all been on holiday as a group but it was a great chance to get together before baby Harry arrived and just another opportunity to give Charlie/future big brother lots of attention. We were all excited about the imminent arrival of baby who was due three weeks from our stay at Center Parcs. (I had checked out local hospital maternity wards in case I went into early labour!)
Charlie thrived due to the attention of all four Grandparents, Richard and I. He was in his element always having someone who was available and willing to take part in a little adventure with him. My mum took part in a cheerleading class with him, his Daddy accompanied him to a fencing class and roller skating class, both Nanna’s took him on a bear hunt and we all got lost on a nature trail!
A major benefit of having both sets of Grandparents around was that we had four willing babysitters:) and so we left Charlie in very capable, loving hands and enjoyed an evening at the twilight spa!
We have always been huge fans of Center Parcs, the concept of the range of activities inside and outside all within an enclosed forest is fabulous. We have visited many times before, including for my hen weekend, but I have to say Center Parcs works particularly well for multi generational holidays. There truly was something on offer which suited us all, from Charlie who was three, through to my father-in-law who was the eldest in our party at 65. Even I, at 38 weeks pregnant, was not short of activities to enjoy!
Images – Multi generational holiday at Center Parcs
Travel as much as possible with your preschool child during term time
We all know that it costs significantly more to travel during school holidays. According to the Guardian, February ’14, it can cost as much as 99% more to travel in the peak times. It is therefore advisable to travel as frequently as financially possible before your child starts reception class and you are forced to pay ridiculous prices (or risk facing a fine).
Richard bought an extra weeks holiday from his employer this year to make the most of Charlie being a preschooler. We did however decide after a lengthy conversation that our boys would enjoy holidays in the UK as much as a holiday abroad and so chose to book numerous day trips, weekend breaks and camping trips spread over the year instead of a fortnight holiday abroad. (I have to admit that the day the schools broke up in July I went into extreme panic mode, regretting not making the most of the opportunity to travel abroad fairly cheaply before Charlie started school!) I cannot regret our decision though as we had a fabulous time exploring the UK and fortunately we were incredibly lucky with the weather! We enjoyed some very memorable family trips including another week at Center Parcs with friends; camping in the Lake District and Gloucestershire; overnight stay in Windsor with visit to Legoland and lots of day trips to attractions including Warwick Castle, Eureka and At-Bristol
Images – Family holidays in the UK
Travel with your children whilst they still love spending time with you!
As my boys are only four and one, the day they no longer want to join us on family holidays seems like a lifetime away (but still feels me with absolute dread!) I suppose every parent must go through the stage when their child no longer thinks its fun or cool to travel with mum or dad:( I intend on making the most of every family holiday (toddler tantrums and all) before that dreaded day arrives!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. I would love to know what holidays you have enjoyed for each milestone with your children. Can you add any more holidays that parents would enjoy when they have a child/children?
If you do not yet have children you may find my article highlighting unmissable holidays before kids useful!