Holidays are good for the soul and restores our energy levels for the busy lives we live. However, holidaying with children is not always as relaxing as we would like and a fair amount of planning is required. Whether you are staying in Australia or heading overseas, and whether you are having a relaxing holiday or an adventure you will need to adapt things a bit. Gone are hours by the pool with uninterupted reading time, nor will intrepid travel be quite as free flowing as it used to be. But you will make long lasting memories and strengthen the family bonds and as long as you make it as easy as possible for yourself and the child(ren), then fun will be had by all.
Destination and accommodation.
Australia is full of family friendly destinations. A pool or the beach is always a hit with children and staying coastal keeps the temperature down. Overseas travel is easy these days, however some exotic destinations where access to good health care and clean water are limited may be best left till a bit later. Children are not as robust as we are and fevers come and go as do tummy upsets.
In terms of where to stay, apartments are generally a better option than hotel rooms with more space plus a kitchen and laundry. Most places can arrange a port-a-cot for you and a high chair if required. Resort style accommodation has the benefit of large, secure grounds and a kids club can give you some child-free time, so have a look at both options, Perhaps your budget will decide for you.
If you are going on a long flight, avoid evening departures. It sounds like a good idea but there are too many distractions to go to sleep and you may end up with an exhausted and challenging child. Not ideal.
If you are travelling by car, you will be well aware of the need for frequent stops underway, either for toilet or food stops or simply to get baby out of the car seat for a stretch. If you are flying to a destination and want a car there, you can hire the car with a car seat installed which saves you carrying one on the plane. Trust me, you will have enough to take.
What to take?
Flying limits what you can take with you and you will have to hire the bigger stuff on location (cot, car seat, high chair). The one thing I would take despite its size, is the pram. It means you have it as soon as you arrive, you know it and love it and hopefully it is robust enough to manage beach tracks and whatever else you decide to explore. Consider a travel bag for protection.
If you are driving and not going too far, you have more option to bring some handy extras all depending on the size of the car boot. As well as the pram consider a change mat to put on the laundry bench to create a makeshift change station. For sleeping a young baby may settle in quicker if sleeping in something familiar so if your bassinet is portable (collapsible) or your cot insert it may be worthwhile to bring. An older child will have to use a cot (rented or in-house) or a port-a-cot. A port-a-cot can be very useful at other times as well where you need to put your little one to sleep away from home so worth investing in. If your play gym is easily flat packed, baby may entertain him-/herself for a while so you can put your feet up.
There are so many options and children are generally excited by even the smallest of outings. I would, however keep visits to museums/galleries and other places where noise is not welcome, to a minimum as you never know what “situations” you may encounter. Forest walks, rock pools and play grounds are guaranteed successes but don’t think for a minute that you need to fill every moment of every day. Kids love just being around you and this is your chance to relax together with books and storytelling.
If you plan to visit amusement parks, keep in mind that many rides/activities have either a minimum height or weight requirements so you may want to check that out before going to avoid disappointment.
You may encounter a day or two with indoor weather, so be sure to bring something fun to do for those. There are many inexpensive activity kits and games that don’t take up much room and which might just save the day.