I’m craving sunshine. Lots of it. The British summer has been teasing us for a couple of weeks with a day or two of decent sunshine here and there.
It’s got me thinking about holidays. Oh I love a holiday. It’s the chance once a year to go somewhere different and just slow everything down.
We were lucky enough last year to take Bear on her first holiday abroad, she had just turned 1.
I know a lot of you will be planning your first holiday abroad with a monster (I mean baby), so here’s a few tips I hope you find helpful.
Babysitters (aka Grandparents): We went away with my parents. Not only did this mean we had an extra pair of hand with Bear (I needed to attempt some kind of tan), it also meant we could treat ourselves to a baby-free night – filled with adult conversations, bloody good steaks and enough gin, wine and cocktails to get Mr Hangover slightly excited. (On that note, remember to pack paracetamol too).
Babies and planes: I started a little tradition last year. To help keep Bear busy and as a little treat, every time she goes on a plane, we’ll give her a ‘holiday present’. Last year I wrapped up a couple of sticker books and a pack of crayons. She spent a good 10 minutes unwrapping it (yes, I purposely done a few layers) and then ta-dah, she was presented with a book full of shiny stickers! SHE BLOODY LOVES STICKERS.
CHILL OUT: Remember this is your holiday as well. I found it quite hard to switch off for the first day and night. I was so concerned about Bear falling out of her routine, I panicked when she was still awake at 7pm on the first night, so took her back to the hotel. #Fail.
Luckily, I decided to chill out more the next night, and let Bear stay up and eat dinner with us. She was in heaven. As soon as she started to get tired (sometimes it wasn’t until 9pm), she’d go in her buggy and go to sleep. We’d then transfer her to her cot once we were back at the hotel. Win/win.
We went back to ‘normal’ routine once we were home straight away, and she settled back into it amazingly well. WIN/WIN/WIN.
Booking your holiday
Research the best hotels/apartments: You want to see the words ‘baby friendly’. Not just ‘child friendly’. Trip Advisor is your friend. Because of the fantastic Trip Advisor reviews we booked Sa Marina in Cala D’or, Majorca. It had won Trip Advisor awards for being really family friendly. And it really met our expectations. Family friendly, and SO SHINY CLEAN.
Flights: We had a selection of flight times we could choose over different days. Choose carefully. As we all know, routine for a 1 year old is very important. We don’t want them cranky on that plane. Length of flight is important as well. I really wanted to go to Greece, but the flight times can be up to 5 hours (shudder). Majorca was just over two hours. This meant that once we’d had a couple of walks up the aisle to the loo, chatted to the old dears cooing over Bear we were almost half way through the flight.
Know the area: Have a google of the local area, read up on reviews on family friendly restaurants and beaches. Also note down addresses of chemists and local doctors. You know, just in case.
Holiday friendly baby gear
Blackout blind for buggy: Our SnoozeShade is the best thing ever. I can’t recommend it enough. It meant we never needed to go to our hotel room for naps. And it meant we could stay out at night time and put Bear to bed in her buggy… hello 2nd jug of Sangria.
Holiday friendly highchair: Our Totseat meant we could eat in more places (not everywhere has highchairs) and Bear loved it. It packs away really small, so excellent for beach bags AND it’s washable.
Airconditioning in a can: I can’t live without a can of my Magicool Hot Weather Cooling Spray. Perfect for Bear, but also for me! Boots and Sainsburys sell it, but it seems cheaper on Amazon at the moment.
Spray suncream: I opted for suncream in a spray can for Bear, and I’m so glad I did. It mad it easier to put on a wriggling baby. Though it ran out pretty quickly, so if going away for a week or more, take at least two.
Well, that’s enough for now… I hope you find this post helpful. Feel free to share your tips with us, as I’d love to write another blog post in the coming weeks with tips from other families.