It may not seem like a relaxing holiday with a baby in tow – but with a little pre-planning it can be rewarding for all.
Having a trip with a limited itinerary, such as a beach holiday worked well for us. My baby or toddler loved sitting in the sand playing with a plastic shovel and when older, making sand castles.
The sea creatures and birds added extra entertainment to lazing around at the shore. One parent suggests going to an area that also has a bay, cove or sound near the ocean which is calmer water for the little ones.
The South Pacific surrounding the Cook Islands, is like stepping into a warm, multi-coloured bathtub water – just perfect for tiny children. Taking my young sons to Na Trang, Vietnam required holding on to them in the large waves. Even beaches on the same island can be vastly different – a surfer’s dream or like a pond.
Many parents have stated that staying in a condo, cottage or villa was worth the extra expense. They liked having extra room, a kitchen and more seclusion for toddler tantrums.
The location, beach or mountains was more secondary as long as they had this bigger space than a hotel room.
Another choice is staying with friends or family who may have baby necessities and other kids. We visited my mother in my old home which still had some of my toys and book. My mother purchased a stroller, travel crib, high chair, and car seat which remained at her place. I just threw a few clothes and essentials in our suitcase for an easy trip. The little ones had lots of playtime with Gran and I vegged out with uninterrupted reading.
Selecting a destination with animals is a hit with youngsters, such as a farm stay or being near a zoo.
In northern Thailand, our hotel was across the street from a fabulous butterfly and orchid farm. Twice a day water buffalo were paraded around the hotel property and my sons petted or rode these gentle beasts. We also went to a nearby elephant sanctuary. Staying near a petting zoo or animal park are other options.
Schedule running around time into the itinerary to blow off toddler energy, such as going to nearby parks. My boys enjoyed meeting and playing with other children in these areas.
One holiday that did not work out well with a baby was going to Disneyworld.
It took too much time going to the different areas and he became fussy. Parking his stroller at different rides and venues became tedious. A small, more local amusement park would okay. My babies also enjoyed children’s museums.
Consider going to hotels that have kids clubs.
My sons’ favourite one was at the Four Seasons in Nevis. It was from ages 3-9, but my 19 month old was welcome with my supervision. They learned Caribbean culture, songs and had field trips around the beach and hotel property.
Most of the Four Seasons resorts have a complimentary kids club for either 3-9 or 4-12, with babies allowed under guardian supervision. All of their hotels have complementary cribs and other baby essentials.
Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas has kids clubs from ages one to seventeen.
Club Med is renowned for their kids clubs which include sports and circus training at no cost for those four and over. There is a fee for the Baby Club starting at six months and the petit club up to age four.
In the evenings, a Pyjama Club is available so parents can enjoy adult company with dinner and drinks. Club med provides free cribs and high chairs. My friend took her baby and pre-schooler to the Club Med in Thailand and all had such a fun holiday. The kids clubs at Club Med have specially trained youth counsellors and have a vast variety of activities for children.
There are various travel agencies that book holiday cottages, villas, hotels and trips for families with babies, whether in the UK or farther afield.
Thomas Cook has a list of Family World hotels and resorts globally which are geared towards kids as young as six months.
These hotels provide the necessary equipment such as cribs and potties. They have a baby service centre where parents can make bottles and special meals. There is a toddler program which includes time in the water in places such as Crete and Menorca.
Another one is Neilson Clubs which provide nannies in their different locations starting with the Starfish Club at four months (has a fee). The Sea Urchin Club for kids 2-4, plus clubs for older siblings are complimentary and includes supervised beach fun along with indoor activities. A mobile listening devise for parents is available. Some of these great clubs are in Turkey and Greece.
Sunsail’s Minnow Club is for those four months to two years and has a charge. Their other kids clubs are complimentary. The kids clubs and activities for parents can be as active as one likes and includes sailing lessons, wind surfing and water sports.
Besides swimming and canoeing, these youngsters can enjoy quieter pursuits, such as story time or games. Some of these destinations include Greece.
Holiday with Baby is a travel company that has baby friendly stays in the UK and abroad. Their UK Cottages are baby proofed with necessary baby equipment. They have listings for villas and hotels globally which are geared to the little ones.
Simpson Travel offers specials providing complimentary childcare particularly in their locations in Greece. Their Hatchlings Creche is for babies six months to three years. The Turtles Club is for 4-10. Twice a week parents can have an adult evening while the kids have fun in the kids club evening sessions.
When divorced, it is nice to have a balance of being with the kids and having some alone or mingling with other adults time too.
Wendi Schuller is a published author who has conducted classes on various subjects. She draws upon her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, providing a blueprint to guide women through this difficult transition. Schuller hired an attorney for a court divorce, but decided to go the collaborative route instead and has worked with a mediator post-divorce.
Author of The Woman’s Holistic Guide to Divorce