Last week we went on holiday. It was great. A much needed family holiday, just the three of us. We had SO much fun!
Unusually, unlike our normal holidays this one wasn’t planned down to the last minute in military fashion with printed itineraries etc. I just didn’t have time. But there were a few things I looked for when booking the accommodation and location so I thought I’d share for those of you looking to holiday with a toddler.
Holiday accommodation, for us – with Littlebit now toddling – must have:
* One floor, one level, preferably ground. No stairs for us to have to block off somehow as no doubt she would be climbing them and then falling back down them every time our backs were turned.
* Wooden floors. Wipe cleanable is so much easier than carpet.
* If there’s a fire it must have a fire guard. Our accommodation had a lovely wood burner but a brilliant large guard that secured to the wall around it. Warm and cosy AND safe. Brilliant!
* A bath. So much easier than showering a toddler and great for lots of relaxing Mama baths once bubs is in bed.
* Two bedrooms. Littlebit has her own room at home and although it takes her half an hour or so to adjust to being put down in a strange room when away from home it’s so much better for her. We all have a much better nights sleep.
* A washing machine. I hate that day after you get back from holiday if you’ve not had a washing machine on holiday. There’s just so much of it. I tend to do a couple of half load washes in the week. Toddlers, especially, go through a lot of clothes. So it means I only have a wash or two to catch up with when we get home.
* An enclosed grassy area. Now I’d misjudged this one and thought that our accommodation had its own garden, which it turned out it didn’t. However, when the main farm gate was shut, which we could do if it was open, the whole farm was enclosed and there was a nice grassy area for Littlebit to kick a football about with Daddy.
* A cot. At the moment we use 2 cots at home, her own wooden cot in her room and a travel cot downstairs that we use as a playpen. The last two holidays we’ve been on we’ve taken our travel cot even though one is provided, this might seem a bit overkill but it’s great as it means we have a way of containing her if needs be. She’s perfectly happy in there for half an hour or so as long as she has her toys and books.
* A highchair. I know I’ve waxed lyrical about highchairs before but I really do find that some are brilliant and some are just plain naff. We had a naff one on holiday. I HATE those stupid fold out padded ones that seem to recline so much that Littlebit may as well just lie on the table and eat. I very nearly packed our IKEA one but we just couldn’t fit it all in the car. However, it did the job, if with a little rearranging and padding down the back to sit her up a bit.
* Wifi. I blog, nuff said!
* A dishwasher. While not a must have it is a “like to have”. We don’t have one at home so it’s a welcome break when we do have one in self catering accommodation.
I would definitely recommend where we stayed. You can find it here. The owners were really friendly and very helpful. The accommodation had everything we needed and the location was great for accessing loads of family friendly attractions. We’d definitely stay there again.
Talking of location, it must have:
* Lots of family friendly pubs and restaurants not too far away.
* A city within an hours drive. Mama needs her shopping fix.
* Easy access to an A&E, just in case. This may seem a bit over the top, especially seeing that we’ve never had to use their services, but one of my worst nightmares would be that we were too far away from a hospital if something did happen to Littlebit.
* Not be too remote to mean that Ocado won’t deliver first thing the morning after we arrive.
* Lots of toddler friendly attractions within an hours drive. Martin, Hampshire, where we stayed was within easy reach of the rest of Hampshire and Dorset and Wiltshire. There were too many childrens’ farms to count and endless aquariums, water parks and soft play areas. Perfect location really, and as Littlebit gets older there’s plenty of museums and other attractions too. We’ll definitely be going back to the area.
* A shop within 3 miles. I could walk that and back if push came to shove
And the stuff that I take every time we go away:
* Travel cot as above.
* Littlebit’s food mat, this is the mat (aka tablecloth) I bung under her highchair at every meal. It just stops me from having to scrabble around on the floor at the end of each meal time. I just gather it up and shake it outside and the birds get a veritable feast.
* Sleepytot. While the cot and bedroom are different, at least Littlebit has the routine of Sleepytot in bed with her. It was originally bought to attach her dummies to, but she’s not had one of those since she was about 9 months old. Sleepytot stayed though, even though the dummies went.
* Her summer and winter sleeping bags. Work of genius those things.
* A big supply of bibs.
* My knife roll and 5 main knives. I don’t go to a self catering unit without them. They always have useless knives at those places.
* Food bags, for leftover Littlebit meals to be reused the next day. I always over portion for her.
* Grapes. If that girl doesn’t get her grapes she is not a happy bunny. She has them at practically every meal.
* Bath bubbles. I very rarely get a chance for a bath at home. Even though Littlebit goes to bed at 730pm/8pm every night there’s usually a host of other stuff for me to do, or I’m just too tired. Whereas on holiday, there’s always time.
* Corkscrew. Just in case they don’t have one / it doesn’t work!