Travelling with children (of whatever ages) need not be the hell parents fear it to be. Of course, a day trip to the seaside is clearly going to take less planning than a three-week jaunt to the other side of the globe, but the latter is not out of the question with a healthy sprinkling of the three Ps: planning, patience and Prozac (okay, only joking about the last one).
There have been lots of words written both in print (generally pretty good) and on the various forums kicking about that seem designed to fill you with fear and guilt in approximately equal measure should you have the temerity to even consider taking a child, let alone a toddler or – gasp! – a baby to some far flung destination.
“Stick to Centre Parcs!” they bark, “it’s just not fair for a baby to have to be on an aeroplane for hours at a time.” Right, fair enough, but at least on a plane you can press a button and someone will bring you a tissue, warm your bottle for you or, if needs must, deliver a cheeky whisky or two… none of which is generally forthcoming when stationery on the M6 wishing you’d listened to your other half about the benefits of taking the toll road.
I’ve nothing against Centre Parcs, by the way. We’ve been with the kids twice and it was great on each occasion (especially beating the in-laws at fencing!). But sometimes you feel like you just want to spread your metaphorical wings and say, “sod it, we’ve got kids but by God we can still travel.”
So this section of our site will bring you a host of objective tips, advice and information about travelling with kids from parents who have been there, done it and changed dirty nappies in the most unlikely of places! It won’t just focus on overseas travel; anything from day trips to round the world escapades will be included – as long as the kids are there to enjoy it all with you.
Of course, depending on the age of your kids, many people are a little wary of flying half way around the world with the children in tow, and to be honest – at least when they are young – the trusted “staycation” can be a very good option. You can take whatever you need in the car (nappies, specific baby food, favourite toys… whatever really), and if you opt for a good quality holiday cottage, you can enjoy all the creature comforts without having to spend a fortune.
I have stayed in a number of great holiday cottages with our family of four (and sometimes with cousins, in-laws and others!) in various locations around the UK including the Peak District, Dorset and Cornwall, and I have to say these have been some of the best – and, crucially, least stressful! – holidays we’ve ever had with our kids.
There are loads of options when it comes to booking holiday cottages in the UK (and indeed further afield), but we’ve tended to book accommodation through HomeAway over the years, and we’ve always been very impressed with the booking process and indeed the standard of holiday cottages we’ve booked.
If you have any tales of travelling with your own offspring, whether fantastic or fear-inducing, we’d love to hear from you. If you are a parent and are considering taking your little ones to the other side of the world, we hope you will find some useful titbits here. If you don’t have kids, well, congratulations, you can do whatever the hell you like! (In which case, why not get yourself over to the Adventure Travel area of the site?
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