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Where To Stay With A Baby

Author: Lauren Coleman

Thanks for all the fabulous suggestions on my Norfolk post yesterday, and for all the Instagram comments too. As mentioned on the post, today’s family feature is all about travelling with littles.
We had a reader request from Catherine which I thought would make a great discussion and that you ladies would be super helpful with the advice too.

Over to new mum Catherine.

“When is a good time to go on holiday with a baby? We’ve just done Copenhagen with a 10 week old and it could not have been simpler! Lots of walking with the pram, breastfeeding when he was hungry and otherwise he slept while we saw the sights! We’ve come back confident and want to book another trip before the fear creeps in!

Now thinking about a beach holiday October / November time and by then he’ll be six months old so weaning and more mobile. Would the team (and readers) recommend a hotel, and if so, all inclusive so we don’t have to worry about getting out and about to eat? A self-catered apartment? Or a mix of hotel room with kitchenette? Or perhaps we’re overthinking how difficult his eating habits will be then? By then I hope (pray!) we’ll have a sleep routine so am conscious we’ll need to stay close to the accommodation during the day to keep to nap times.” 

I am in awe of you Catherine. I have to say I would never have thought of being able to take a 10 week old abroad. I’m wondering if I’ll have even been able to leave the house by then! My first foreign holiday was to Germany when I was nine (on a 16 hour coach journey) and I didn’t sit on a plane until I was fifteen. Family holidays as a child were spent in Devon, Cornwall or Wales which are all gorgeous places but I hope we’ll be inspired to travel a little further afield with our baby.

Our very own Fern is a big fan of travelling before babies get on their feet; “I think another trip before he can walk is a good time, once they can walk they literally run away from you constantly and don’t want to be in the buggy/carrier”

And Charlotte’s advice would be to get yourself booking a trip! ‘Definitely make the most of them not crawling/walking as then you have to have eyes in the back of your head. Bedruthen is a good family hotel with all the facilities you would need (Cornwall) Sani (Greece) is the ultimate (all inclusive) family holiday but uber expensive.”

Lisa did a post earlier this year on Travelling with Kids with lots of handy advice on hand and hold luggage but let’s get back to Catherine about her request. What type of accommodation would you suggest for holidaying when you’re weaning? Any locations you think would work well for a new family?

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23 thoughts on “Where To Stay With A Baby

  1. We also did Copenhagen with a 10 week old (but to stay with family) – plus a 2.5 yr old. He’s now almost 6 months.
    We always self cater (because otherwise you’re sat in a dark hotel room all evening with a sleeping baby) and I’d go just pre-solids as it’s a bit of a faff to start with, or leave it until they’re established enough with food to eat a snack in the buggy. Maybe 10 months, so probably pre-walking?

      1. Hi, do you mind me asking where you stayed in Copenhagen? I’m looking to go next spring with 1year old daughter

  2. I love travelling with our little one. He’s only 2.5yo and has been to Madeira, Algarve, Venice, Rome, Cyprus twice, Gran Canaria, Tuscany and Glamping in Scotland.

    When he was teeny and in the sling, life was really easy. He slept most of the time and breast fed when we stopped. Italy and Portugal are so happy to see mothers breastfeeding and couldn’t be more accommodating.

    Now he’s toddling we’ve gone for more of a packaged holiday. It has made life with a toddler very easy. Especially the All Inclusive holiday villages. We’ve gone out of season so it’s more baby friendly and less chaotic.

    We stayed in the Savoy Saccharum hotel in Madeira when he was 5mo and it was perfect. It has suites and self catering accommodation. The baby pool is a lovely spot (we met our now best friends there!) and they have a massive indoor pool for when it’s too warm during midday.

    There’s no cheesy animator trying to make you dance about or join in games. Everyone is very respectful towards families and the Spa is luxurious. They have an adults only area so everyone is happy. The hotel sits on a cliff so you have uninterrupted sea views as well as it’s own private beach. It’s the only place that we’ve thought about going back to.

    I’d miss out Cyprus as it’s far too hot in the Summer. We went at Easter and last month. Easter is warm enough but too cold for swimming in the non heated pools. July is far too hot. You’re unable to go for a walk as you melt after 5 minutes!

    Italy is our favourite as they’re so family oriented. The weather at Easter is perfect but if you stay north and visit the coast or the lakes, Summer is doable. Do not visit the main cities in Summer, you will melt!

    I think the biggest issue is how hot the place is. In my opinion, anything over 23-25 is too hot for walking with a sling or a pram.

    We’re away to Manchester and Birmingham for In the Night Garden Live and Alton Towers CBeebies land. We’ll be heading somewhere in October and are even planning to do Disney in Florida next year.

    We might be crazy, but we’re having the times of our lives (even when our son does a poo in the baby pool!) 🙈 I hope you find a lovely place to visit. A lot of my friends swear by Centre Parcs but I’ve not been so can’t comment.

      1. Everywhere has been great except one location. We stayed in a castle in the Mountains of Tuscany and it was a nightmare with a toddler! Every step was dangerous and you couldn’t leave the place on foot!

        I’d recommend the lakes (Garda/Como). There’s so much to see on an afternoon walk but thy feel small and intimate at the same time.

        The food is amazing, the scenery is amazing and there’s lots of different gardens to picnic in.

        Flights to Milan are super cheap with EasyJet too.

        If you wanted to do a car holiday. You could fly to Nice then drive across to the Lakes. You’d drive through the gorgeous Alps and could visit Turin and Milan on the way.

        I’d recommend a car anyway as there’s so much to see up in the North.

        Italians love babies (from our experience)!

        1. You’ve got a very well travelled little
          man! A luxurious spa on site sounds like a brilliant idea:) Thanks for the Italy tips!

  3. Honestly…go where you want, when you want. There is never a time which is easier than any other as there is always a fresh challenge to work into your “routine”!

    I really wouldn’t worry about factoring in weaning into the equation. You can fill your case with Ella’s pouches and I’ve always found that every restaurant will do some plain pasta or a side of vegetables, fruit and the ubiquitous breadsticks. Plus its easy enough to pick up some yoghurt in a local shop. Also the quantities consumed when they are first eating are pretty minimal.

    Travelling when they are not mobile is easier as they can be contained for longer stretches, but you can’t predict when it is going to happen. My first started crawling when she was 6 months, the second at 10 months – on holiday, on a sandy beachy!

    A snooze shade and a buggy means you’ll be able to factor in naps wherever you are.

    My biggest thing was not expecting to pack so much into a day, take it all a bit more slowly – but most of all just enjoy time as a family. Have a great holiday!

    1. Thanks Liz! I was wondering if I was overthinking his food at 6 months and the quantities. As people have said in other comments, it sounds like self catered will give us lots of flexibility.

  4. So far we’ve played it pretty safe with family holidays abroad at 11 months, 23 months and 35 months and stayed in all inclusive but where the rooms were apartment style with separate living area and kitchen facilities. With the wonder of rose tinted specs, I think at 5/6 months you are thinking of then I’d go for something that gave you a kitchenette but whether that’s all inc. or self catering I dont’ think really matters. Whatever weaning method you start with, I think it’s ideal to be able to heat up food whenever you want and keep things cold whenever you want.

    Oh and biggest tip my boss gave me…..just go with their flow.

  5. As long as you expect the holidays to be different to pre-baby holidays and follow Steph’s boss’ advice then you should be fine! We have just come back from Crete with our 7 month old and everything was pretty easy, Europe seems to be very baby friendly and he just ate a lot more bread then he would do at home! Also I found the heat much easier to deal with there – because they have buildings designed to be cool, plus air conditioning and swimming pools it’s much better than sitting in our own sweat which is what we do here!

      1. We stayed in a villa that has hotel facilities (including room service!) so our son could go to bed and we could sit around our pool in the evening and not have to worry about cooking! It was called Paradise Island Villas. It wasn’t cheap but I would definitely recommend it.
        The flight was OK, but a heavy wriggling baby (or a heavy sleeping baby!) is quite hard work. I had a few flat-ish toys with me (easy to keep in the seat pocket) and an iPad which seemed to keep him quiet enough.
        My friend told me to take a sling on the plane which was brilliant advice, I felt he was safer strapped to me in the sling for take off and landing rather than the lap belt that they provide and as you only get your buggy back on the luggage carousel it would have been a long walk through the airport otherwise!

  6. I agree with all of the above but just wanted to add my two pennies!

    We live in Sydney and travelled home to the UK when our daughter was 6 months (crawling), returned at almost 8 months (coasting) and then again at 11 months (fully walking). Planes are not the most fun places to have a child at any of those ages, but it’s 100% manageable and totally worth it for the holiday. Be prepared – everything needs to be easily accessible (eg all changing stuff in one pouch/bag you can just grab rather than rummaging through your whole carry on for wipes), food needs to be simple, and you need to accept that you won’t be watching any movies! But it’s always been better than we’ve expected. My number one must-have at that age is a Cozigo (google them) – it’s an amazing sleep shade that fits over the airline bassinet to help baby sleep. And it’s UPV 50 sun proof – super handy for naps by the pool, and for just keeping the sun off baby’s skin. We use ours everywhere.

    Re food, everyone above is right. If you’re going to be doing baby led weaning, it’s a piece of cake – just share your meal with bub. If not, it can be harder but take enough ella’s pouches and just don’t worry about the lack of variety. You can buy plenty of fresh fruit, avocados, bananas etc abroad!

    Personally I think a self catered apartment is great for 2 reasons: 1) you can sterilise bottles / prep food / keep food cool. But most importantly, 2) when baby goes to bed in the evening, you aren’t confined to a tiny room! We always try to get one with 2 bedrooms so she can have her own room, like at home. We can eat in the living area / balcony without disturbing her, and then head to bed when we are ready (a lesson learnt after our first night away when we booked one family room and ended up eating take away on the bed in the dark, whispering so as not to wake her!)

    There is no ideal time – as someone has said, it’s always a disruption to routine. But it’s always worth it. Leave routine at the door and go with the flow, babies adapt much quicker than we give them credit for!

    1. I hadn’t thought about getting two rooms! That’s a really good tip. As you said, our Copenhagen trip was so much easier than we expected so now ready to try a longer break! Thanks for the great advice!

  7. We have yet to venture abroad! And with a (spirited!) 2.5 year old and a newborn I’m not sure I can face it! But I don’t want them missing out on the experience either. We have so far holidayed locally as we live in Cornwall. We enjoyed Fowey Hall hotel and Bedruthan but also make sure you check out Bosinver, it’s wonderful! Self catering and the kids feed the farm animals every morning. There’s a playbarn, pool, pony rides and acres to roam, it’s a lot of fun!

  8. I honestly believe my 10.5 hour flights to Houston and back with a 3.5 year old and 8 month old were easier than a weekly shop in Asda! Airbnb is your friend, we’ve also done all inclusive in a suite where my 3 year old had the double bedroom, 5 month old had the travel cot in the corridor, and we slept on the sofa bed in the lounge to avoid the 7pm bedtimes for everyone. I can’t wait for our next adventure. My only issue with road tripping in USA with kids is the lack of vegetables at roadside restaurants! Ended up feeding Ella’s kitchen pouches to my 8 month old who’d never had a purée in her life, just to get some vitamins in her!

  9. We just got back from the Bedruthan and it was awesome – would highly recommend! We were lucky with the weather but the hotel (and staff) were amazing and it’s such a fab balance of kid friendly but also really nice for adults and I love the eco vibe.

    My main advice is to travel abroad before they become too mobile. We took my now two year old to the other side of the world when he was 7 months and it was super easy even though we did ten flights in three weeks. We then took him to Fuertenventura when he was 11 months old (and just walking) and it was the longest four hour flight of my life. It’s so much easier when they’re still napping a lot and happy to just sit on you. I’m now limiting my holidays to Europe until my son can sit on a plane seat for a long haul flight! 😂

    1. Can I ask where you went? We love Asia and would be keen to take our little one there but am worried about him getting bitten by mosquitoes and being very unhappy. They cause me a lot of pain and distress when I get attacked!

      1. Our main goal was Kiribati (where my mum is from) but we also went through Singapore/Australia/Fiji. Kiribati has loads of mosquitoes and I’d offer the following tips:
        (1) make sure your hotel has aircon (99% likely it will) as this makes any mosquitoes sluggish so easy to get rid of;
        (2) citronella – we took these little bracelets you can buy online – I got some on Amazon that were small enough for my little one when he was seven mo this;
        (3) okay these aren’t for everyone but my foolproof is anti mosquito coils (that you light and they burn leaving a small smell/smoke that doesn’t affect us but mosquitoes hate it). Put them under your table at dinner or around where you’re sitting and they are really effective and
        (4) Vie anti mosquito spray – you can use this on babies and it was effective.
        Kiribati isn’t a touristy country so we had to use all four but I imagine most places you would go in Asia on the beaten track would be fairly clued up on keeping mosquitoes away! Best of luck whatever you decide to do. 🙂

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