When you have children, your annual holiday changes forever… well until they are old enough go away on their own! The days of getting massaged by the pool sipping a cocktail in a couples-only luxury resort, are but a beautiful faded memory. One of the main questions you might ask yourself is hotel or villa?
With a four year old and a one year old, I found myself with something of a dilemma when booking my summer holiday this year. What do I do with the kids? They are toddlers, how will we manage in a hotel room for an entire week… or maybe more? This is when I came to the realisation that my summer holiday was going to be just like being at home. Only it will be warm and cramped with a swimming pool but no home luxuries and none of the children’s toys to distract them. Hurray… I can’t wait!
I felt the panic wash over me immediately, so I began to Google ‘family friendly holidays’ as I thought about all the things I would need for my kids. My four year old wasn’t really the issue, she is potty trained (so no nappies) she sleeps in a bed (so no cot) she eats ‘normal’ food (so no puree) and she can walk (so no pram). But then there’s the baby… can I stay in a hotel comfortably with a baby?
Probably not… it would be nice to have a separate room with a cot for the baby to sleep in, a kitchen to prepare food and bottles, a fridge for snacks and milk, a bath to wash the baby, a high chair for meal times, toys for the baby, and maybe some outside space.
Given that I now had a long list of demands, I decided to search online for family-friendly villas.
I was amazed at what I found. There were villas in resorts and complexes, which meant that we wouldn’t be completely secluded (that’s not what we were looking for from this holiday). I wanted to be close to a beach for the girls to spend days on the sandy shores, I wanted a selection of good family restaurants to spend our evenings in. It would be nice to have a swimming pool and a play area for the children whilst also being close to day trip activities like boat rides, animal parks etc.
I also wanted the villa to be close to a supermarket for essentials like nappies and wipes so I wouldn’t have to pack them, but also so that we would have the choice of cooking for ourselves. These are all the things I had to consider when choosing our accommodation.
I located an area in Portugal which fitted our needs perfectly, and now I just needed to find the villa itself, and soon my anxiety would levels would drop dramatically.
I found a site that could help me! I was elated! Tots to Travel is super and it really made me relax as there were villas and accommodation catering specifically for families with children under 5. These villas came fully equipped with toys, a baby and toddler kit – stair gates, baby monitors, pool barriers, toys and even black out blinds… my prayers have been answered!
James Villas also have a super section on their site for families with babies and toddlers so I was delighted to have found this. Their villas come with a free baby and toddler pack, which is amazing for mums like me and all the safety features and equipment you could need for a comfortable stay with your tiny humans.
Holiday Tots also offer this service, and I found lots of super villas and accommodations to choose from, catering for all families.
Travelling with little people is difficult, most of the time families travel without essential items because they can’t bring them all with them. Having family-friendly accommodation with essential equipment at your location really does take the pressure off… but more importantly, it will help ensure your children’s safety in an unfamiliar environment.
Being part of the BubbleBum family, I know how important it is for parents like me to be able to travel easily and safety with children. I will pack the BubbleBum Car Booster Seat for my 4 year old, to avoid bringing her bulky car seat with us, or spending a small fortune on a rental booster seat, which might not even be there when we arrive!
If you know any family-friendly locations for a holiday, do let me know in the comments, and get tagging! I will be taking my girls to Disney in Paris in November and staying in a Hotel, so any advice on hotel stays with a baby would be really helpful!