Keep Them Occupied
September, October and November time can be a blissful time to travel with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. The weather is milder, the crowds have gone home and you have local attractions including beaches virtually to yourselves. Prices are lower too! Yet there are still lots of things going on, from local food festivals to Halloween celebrations for even the youngest visitors.
And while holidaying with kids feels like an impossibility for some who are new to being part of a tribe, it's easier than you think. Check out our top travel tips, for the journey, the stay and home time.
• Don’t be over-ambitious. While you may have spent your pre-child years trekking through remote areas of South-east Asia, with young kids what’s generally needed is ease, relaxation and fun for all members of the family. A holiday park with self-catering accommodation can be ideal for the flexibility, space and facilities it offers, as well as being in a location handy for days-out attractions such as beaches. Choosing to self cater also means that you’ll benefit from the practicalities that make day-to-day life with young children manageable, from highchairs to laundry facilities (meaning you don’t have to return home with a year’s worth of washing!).
• On the other hand, choose somewhere with treats for parents, whether that be a sauna and steam room, a pool-bar or hot tubs – or in the case of The Park, all of those!
• And keep your options open by picking somewhere with the flexibility of self-catering facilities combined with the convenience of a family-friendly restaurant such as The Kitchen by The Beach, complete with its own soft-play area.
• Take a staycation. UK breaks with kids mean less time travelling and no airport hassle or delays. If you travel by car, you can also pack whatever you need, without being hampered by luggage restrictions. Somewhere close to a beach is a fail-safe option –most kids of any age love the sand in any weather.
• If you do drive, ensure the journey is fun and comfortable: think neck pillows, a plentiful supply of snacks and lots of things to do during the journey: books and audiobooks, stickers, plasticine, toys and gadgets. Other ways to entertain children during car journeys are classic singalongs and I-Spy style games.
• If your child still naps, try to time car trips to correspond with daytime sleeps, and schedule at least one proper stop en route so everyone can stretch their legs and get some fresh air and time outdoors (see https://babyroutes.co.uk for inspiration for great things to do with kids handy for major motorway routes).
• Travel smart. Holiday with grandparents, extended family or friends and you can help one another out and lighten the load, including taking turns with childcare and babysitting.
• Plan ahead. Packing in particular can be the bane of many parents’ lives, especially with very young children in tow. We recommend making a detailed list and giving yourself plenty of time – ideally time that you have to yourself and aren’t flustered by the demands of children around you. Never leave packing for holidays with young kids until the last minute or you’re certain to forget something crucial! And if you’re holidaying in the UK with its unpredictable weather, make sure to cover all eventualities – take swimming gear and pop-up beach tents as well as raincoats and wellington boots.
• Do some research. Even if you're planning to spend a lot of time in your holiday park, spend a bit of time looking at the family attractions and events on your doorstep so you don’t miss out. Check out our guide to things to do with kids in Cornwall