Travelling with toddlers is not for the faint hearted. It definitely pays to be prepared, whether you are travelling in England or reaching out abroad. Ultimately, holiday should be a relaxing time for everyone and not just mummy or daddy doing all the things they do at home in a place that is fundamentally less child friendly!
So many hotels are now incredibly well set up for toddlers and babies, with cots and highchairs available as well as sterilisers and potties in some places! It is worth putting in an email or phone call to your hotel to find out what they have to help save some packing space (or perhaps you prefer your own stuff?!).
I am an obsessive list writer, a holiday or even overnight trip cannot happen without a list. Without one, I will forget something! I generally start writing mine a week and a half before we go as this gives me time to purchase any of those last essential items.
So here are some of my essential toddler holiday items....
1. A paddling pool - This might sound odd when you are possibly travelling somewhere with an entire swimming pool, but whether you go to a self catering villa or apartment, a country cottage or a hotel the chances are a toddler will want to play in or with water and in deep pools this is hard to do and requires an adult in the water with them at all times. A small paddling pool can be easily filled and emptied, placed in the shade or sun, between your sun loungers or even on the beach. Chuck a few pouring type toys in a your toddler will be entertained for hours with you watching carefully from a reclined position on your sun lounger!
2. A sun tent - this are amazing. I actually bought mine for £5 on a Facebook selling page, so it's always worth keeping an eye out for bargains on pages like that! These are a fantastic way of entertaining children, partly just because children love tents, going in and out, opening and shutting the doors, playing with the zips... endless fun! But it also provides a shady spot for some 'dry' toys. I say 'dry toys' in quotes because I would recommend using toys that won't be completely ruined by going in the water. Perhaps something like plastic building blocks or, my son is currently really into small figurines from his favourite TV shows.
3. A blackout blind - you never know what sort of curtains or blinds you will find on holiday. If your little one is likely to be woken by the sun in the morning, or might find afternoon naps tricky without darkness it is well worth investing in one. I have the 'Gro Anywhere' (available on amazon) blind which is fantastic for even really large windows and attaches with suction cups.
4. Do a risk assessment on arrival - this might sound ridiculous and I'm not for a second suggesting you get your clipboard out and make notes but you will feel a whole lot more relaxed if you and your partner are prepared for the things that could go wrong. No one wants to spend their holiday in A&E! We have recently come back from a castle which had lots of amazing artefacts that could both do harm to children and be harmed by children! We moved all the dangerous ones to a locked cupboard on arrival and returned them as we left! It may be something as simple as noting that the inside tiles are very slippery so the children should wear sandals/crocs/flip flops indoors at all times, or agreeing with your partner that one person is in charge of the child around the pool at all times and you must 'pass the conch' as it were if you need to step away for some reason.
I hope these 4 tips help you to have a thoroughly relaxing holiday this summer and for many to come!