If a family villa holiday is on the agenda this year and you're travelling with a little one for the first time, the planning process can be quite daunting. So we've put together a handy list of our top tips for parents travelling with young children to ensure you are as prepared as can be.
1. Finding a family friendly villa
The first step is deciding where to go. If you’re at the start of your search you can browse our family villas collection, but if you have specific requirements it might be best to speak to one of our experts who can recommend the perfect property to suit your family.
2. Knowing what to pack
Most of our villas have cots and high chairs available free of charge but need to be requested beforehand. We can also arrange transfers with a car seat if needed. Checking what will be available for your child in resort ahead of your stay will relieve any unnecessary stress on arrival.
3. Get excited together
My 2 year old nephew is a typical little boy, obsessed with trains, cars and all things transport related, adorably pointing out every aeroplane he sees in the sky. Talk about your upcoming holiday, about the excitement of the flight and the journey you’ll do together. Show them a picture of where you’re going and plan holiday activities for children to look forward to like swimming and building sandcastles.
4. In-flight entertainment
Kids are likely to have little patience when it comes to flight times. Make sure to have a hand luggage bag packed full to the brim with their favourite books, toys and snacks to keep them entertained. If you have an iPad, before you fly download some of their favourite shows, so you can enjoy yours in peace.
First time fliers may find the noises and feeling of the flight distressful. Banz Baby Hearing Protection Earmuffs are suitable for children up to three years old and can help to aid a travelling baby by reducing harmful loud noises without shutting out other ambient sounds, like the voice of mummy or daddy.
5. Keep them busy
While there will be plenty for children do when you’re actually on your holiday, it’s nice to bring something from home like an activity book, to have on hand. Holiday themed sticker books are fun for children aged 18 months and up, while holiday activity books for slightly older children are great for journeys and waiting for meals.
Holiday themed children’s stories are nice for little ones, such as the newest Julia Donaldson book ‘What the Ladybird heard on holiday’.
6. Baby pool inflatables
Learning to swim on holiday is great fun for children and parents, while older children who can already swim will be entertained for hours at a villa with a private pool. For children between 6 months and 3 years old Joylink Inflatable Baby Pool Float is an adorable float (that we took to Villa Nicole last year for my nephew), with an adjustable and removable canopy, which can protect baby from the sun, a little steering wheel and horn that beeps.
7. Sun protection
If you’re brave enough to travel with a baby under 6 months, you should know that this is when their skin is most vulnerable and really should be kept in the shade, not exposed to the sun at all. After that it is important to go for sun cream with a high SPF, without any ingredients that will irritate your children’s skin. Fans of baby shark will love this sun protection suit from JoJo Maman Bébé.
8. Holiday eating
Toddlers eating habits can be tricky and they are often unwilling to try new things. One way to encourage this is to talk about the foods you’ll be able to try on holiday before you go, perhaps looking at pictures and even trying recipes at home. Another way they may become interested is if they know they’ll be able to eat the same food as the grown-ups. Don’t worry if neither of these techniques work as these days there will always be something familiar on the menu, but it's great to try new foods from a young age.
9. Resort facilitiest
Families staying in resorts such as Martinhal Beach Resort in Portugal can take advantage of a huge range of facilities suitable for children; the kids club and baby crèche cater for children from six months to 16 years old if parents are looking for an hour or two to themselves. There are five shared pools for guests to enjoy including a kids’ pool and a shallow entry beach style pool, as well as an outside playground and an indoor games room.
10. Enjoy it
Although planning a holiday with a little one may feel like rather a lot more effort than previous holidays, it’s worth the time and effort to ensure that everyone enjoys themselves. Once the plans are in place, make sure you also get time to relax; it is your holiday too after all.
If you’re planning a holiday with a little one and would like some help either in deciding which country to visit or where to stay, call 020 7261 5400 to speak to a travel expert, or start by browsing our selection of family villas here.