Have toddler, will travel

Hints and tips on travels with your toddler

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  • Have toddler, will travel

    Planning a trip with your toddler? Here's how to make sure everyone enjoys their holiday. 

    Before you go:

    • Children under 2 can sometimes travel for free on flights, as long as they sit on your lap. Consider whether this is wise for longer journeys
    • Stay near a (preferably sandy) beach. Most toddlers will happily play on one all day without you having to provide any other amusements
    • Reserve your plane seats before you go to ensure that you're all sitting together - and check in online if you can
    • When considering childcare, think about what your little one likes - and what he doesn't. A kids' club is no good if he's clingy and won't go! A qualified childminder may be a better option for one-on-one play with you still in his eyeline. 
  • Have toddler, will travel

    On the journey:

    • Allow plenty of time. As you know, things take longer with a toddler in tow!
    • Let him pack a little backpack with toys, books and snacks
    • Arriving at an airport can be the worst bit - you're exhausted, and you're juggling tired kids and luggage. So, consider an airport 'meet and greet' service, so you can just drive up to departures and leave your car keys with them. They then meet you at arrivals on your return. It doesn't cost much more than the usual car parking fee. It's a godsend if you're doing night flights
    • Once through security, find a large space where she can run off energy before boarding the plane.
  • Have toddler, will travel

    At your destination:

    • Cover her up. UV suits are safe, lightweight and mean you don't have to spend hours putting on sunscreen. Don't forget hats, sunglasses and beach shoes
    • If you prefer not to use resort babysitters, get your child to nap late during the day so she can eat out with you in the evening
    • She may refuse to eat anything but chips, so be mentally prepared. Try not to stress - a few days won't do any harm. 
  • Have toddler, will travel

    Travel Q&As

    Q What's the best time of year to travel?

    A The cheapest time is outside school holidays - so do this while you can. Mid-summer (July/August) can be very hot in Europe, but May/June and Sept/early Oct are perfect. In the UK, you may have to stick to high summer if you want the best chance of sunshine 

    Q What is a good alternative to a beach holiday for our very lively toddler?

    A How about an adventure holiday created especially for families? The pace is relaxed and you'll be with families who have kids of similar ages. Families Worldwide (www.familiesworldwide.co.uk) and The Adventure Company (www.adventurecompany.co.uk) allow children as young as 2. 

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  • Have toddler, will travel

    Great toddler breaks:

    • Keycamp (www.keycamp.co.uk) offers fun and flexible holidays at sites across a range of countries. Prices start from £549 for seven nights in southern Brittany, France
    • Eurocamp (www.eurocamp.co.uk) has quality campsites in Europe and the US - and toddlers just love the excitement of camping! Prices start from around £170 for one week in a tent sleeping up to six people in France, including the ferry crossing
    • Center Parcs (www.centerparcs.co.uk) dishes up activities galore at forest sites around the UK, plus treats for parents, including top restaurants and spas. Prices from around £329 for a two-bedroom lodge for four nights midweek

Last updated on 24 August 2008