As I write this, I’m immediately transported back to planning holidays before children.
Look how happy we are!!
I’m not the most adventurous traveller. I mean, I love going to exotic, far flung places. But only if they involve a beach. I’ll happily have cultural weekend city breaks, but for a holiday I need a bar, a humongous bed and a huge pool. As well as a fully charged kindle. A holiday is my down time. Mr and I have been to some amazing places and we can’t wait until BB is old enough to really appreciate travelling.
Let’s just say holidays are now a little bit different. Some people describe holidays with a baby as “same stuff, different place” and this is partially true. For us, we still try to keep a semblance of a routine.
BB has been flying since he was 3 weeks old, but every time we travel as a family, so much time has passed and he’s at such a different stage in his development that it’s always a very different experience.
Our first proper family holiday was to Cyprus and BB was five months old. This was actually a whole family experience –
- Mr’s Parents
- Mr’s 3 brothers and their significant others
- My parents
- My brother
It was crazy, and it wasn’t particularly relaxing. Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely. But it wasn’t relaxing.
So, when we chose our next family holiday we had a bit of a checklist –
- If it was a long haul trip, there had to be overnight flights available
- Either all inclusive or half board
- Easy transport links
- Babysitting services potentially
We settled on the Dar Al Masyaf in Dubai. Not everyone’s first choice with young babies, but we were familiar with the hotel and children eat free on their half board package until they’re four (we’ve just booked to go back in November).
It was a great choice, we definitely relaxed. The staff were fantastic with BB. The rooms were well equipped and there was a kitchen in the villa meaning we could sterilise everything and have whatever we needed as well as keep our puree cold – which is what he was eating at the time.
But. And this is a big but. BB was only 9 months old at the time. He was still fairly portable. He wasn’t walking, he was barely crawling. He wasn’t at the tantrumming stage, he went where we went and slept during dinner. He loved the heat, and splashing in the pool and generally had a great time and it only took him 2 days to get in to the time zone.
This year around it’s a little bit different. We knew that travelling with BB at 15 months would be a little bit more of a challenge. He’s now running around and very much in to everything. He’s prone to tantrums, particularly when tired and he likes to keep to a fairly strict routine (thanks nursery!!). He’s still having two naps a day, but is so nosey he rarely sleeps in his buggy.
Our checklist has changed….
- Minimal time difference
- Low journey time
- Fairly child friendly
- Somewhere with lots of open space
- A large room where we could laze around once BB has gone to bed
- Potentially all inclusive or half board
We spent a while reminiscing about our family holidays to France when we were younger. Mine were slightly different to Mr’s. My family holidays involved tents and toilet blocks. Mr’s involved Monaco and St Tropez. Very different.
But we both have very good memories of France.
I like to research. I love to have a project and meticulously spent time researching where to go. My Google history was just chock full of different variations on “family friendly Europe” and stumbled upon a website called Baby Friendly Boltholes.
Baby Friendly Boltholes promises stylish and child friendly holidays. The accommodation that we chose has an extensive list of baby gear ready for our arrival. Plates, spoons, highchairs, cribs, books, playroom…down to buggies.
The complex is small, with only four self catered suites and they offer a baby listening service on top of babysitting. Along with meals cooked and sent to the suite if enough notice is provided.
It seems a really sensible option. We loved the idea of having everything ready and waiting for us – so minimal stress for packing and still not sacrificing any of the luxury that we are used to.
Our only worry is that it’s self catering – will it be the last self catering holiday we go on, given that we want to relax? Hopefully this holiday doesn’t end as a “same stuff different day” scenario.