Check out our guest blog article by Stacey Jillings, Business Associate at Designer Travel for some useful travel advice when travelling with young children.
Travelling with a toddler?
Toddlers hate long journeys travelling by car, but they love camping and beaches, and like aquariums. Their ideal holiday would be spent burying daddy in the sand (not mummy, “as she may get hurt”), and travelling by train – Thomas the Tank Engine, or at least a very close relation.
When I started to travel with my own toddler, I scoured websites and brochures for information on suitable holidays. I read avidly “for children” information sections in guidebooks, and gathered a rainforest’s worth of family holiday brochures. The first lesson I learned is that family-friendly does not mean toddler-friendly.
I discovered the meaning of the phrase “family-friendly” in brochures, articles and books is as wide as it is vague. The needs of a 3-year-old toddler are very different from the needs of school-age children.
So why do attractions, tour operators, hotels, resorts group ‘children’ altogether?
I have asked parents and toddlers what they liked and disliked about their holidays; what they wanted and needed are not necessarily the same things.
The journey time, a beach, health considerations (accessibility to and provision of medical care), as well as overall cultural attitudes towards young children were the most important issues for the grown-ups.
Toddlers were most concerned about petting zoos, playing with children their own age, going on a train and tram or visiting an aquarium and, of course, the beach.
Top travel tips for parents
1. In sunny climes, buy a small inflatable boat (with safety rope) for the beach. It is the most versatile holiday accessory. Use to bed down tired toddlers under the shade of an umbrella, fill with sand for a safe sandpit, fill with water for a paddling pool or have a gentle bob on the waves at the water’s edge.
2. When your kids are happily playing on the beach, don’t drag them miles to see ancient monuments and ruins. They’ll start whining and you’ll get cross.
3. If you really can’t keep away from cultural trips, make sure there is something in it for the children. Have a “postcard competition”. The person who finds the funniest postcard gets an ice-cream. Pretend you can’t decide and Splash out on Mr Whippy’s all round.
4. Make it a priority on arrival to have the phone numbers and addresses of the nearest dentist, doctor, hospital and chemist.
Guest blog post by: Stacey Jillings, Business Associate, Designer Travel
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