So how do you guarantee good times for a baby on the road? Or, the better question might be, what are the best type of holidays with babies?
6 different types of holidays with babies.
City holidays with a baby can be good if your baby under six months and not mobile. This is especially the case if they are good at sleeping in their pram. You’ll be able to do museums, cafes, in fact, have something resembling an ‘adult’ holiday. Once your baby is mobile, city holidays get tricker. They are totally possible – see some of our inspiration posts about the great baby-friendly activities cities have on offer for babies – but it will certainly be a different holiday to the one you’ll have if your child is under six months old.
Kids of all ages tend to love the beach, and a beach holiday is a good choice with a baby. As long as you can sort out the shade issue (take a shelter if you think it’ll be needed), this is a great option for a baby between 9 and 12 months, who are already likely to be quite active. They’ll play in the sand for ages, and really thrive on being outdoors in general. If you’re planning on swimming (properly) yourself, you’ll obviously need more than one adult on hand, or you’ll either spend you time sitting on the sand playing with bub, or paddling around the edges with them.
Small towns and villages are a good option if you have a baby in the middle age bracket (say 5 to 8 months) – they’re moving enough that you need to give them plenty of play breaks in parks or at the beach, but not so active that you need to really tailor the whole day around their entertainment needs.
In a small town or village, you’ll be able to sneak in a few adult activities – restaurant meals or walks (either in town or in the surrounding area, if you choose wisely), and avoid the hassles that come with getting around in a larger city (far easier to do this with an under six month old, who is pretty relaxed about what they are doing all day at this stage).
We love cruises for an easy holiday with older children. But they aren’t always the best option for holidays with babies. If you’re wondering why, our post on cruising with a baby has more.
All inclusive family resorts:
The best part about these holidays is that once you arrive, there’s very little to organise. You’ll probably be eating in the resort’s restaurants, there’ll be plenty of options for swimming, and often activities and entertainment for all ages. Depending on the resort and what’s on offer (your baby is still likely to be too young for a formal kids club), you may choose to use the resort’s babysitting services, to have some alone time or a nice baby-free meal out.
If the noise isn’t a factor, give it a go with a baby under about nine months; after this it could still work out if it’s an outdoors festival with lots of areas for them to crawl around while you relax in front of a band. Noise is a factor though – you probably don’t want to pummel your baby’s eardrums, and so are crowds – while some babies will find it all endlessly interesting, many young bubs find it overstimulating (often at the same time), and may eventually protest. Our view? If you can get a day pass for a festival you’re really keen on, give it a go, but take two carers and be willing to split up to be able to see/do what you’re keen on. Also, like every ‘paid’ activity you do with a baby, it’s better if you’re mentally prepared in advance to abandon if it all goes pear shaped.
Of course, some festivals are uber kid friendly – but typically the usefulness of this will kick in when they are toddlers and there are specific toddler activities, versus the under one stage.
Tips for structuring holidays with babies.
Our overarching philosophy to spread across each travelling day (usually do-able for the most part) is: Do something for you (a coffee? A quick look around a cultural activity?), then something for them (a play in a playground, or a swim with the baby). After that, do something you’ll both enjoy (say a beach or a park).
If the baby is under six months old, you can sneak in a few more of the ‘something for you’; around six months, the split becomes a bit more even, and by the time they are 9-12 months old you’ll find you’ll need to have a heavier focus on the ‘something for them’. Still, if you’re really on it, you’ll be able to sneak in a few ‘something for you’ items into most days – failing that, aim for lots of the ‘something for both of you’ activities to keep you sane. More on this in our planning an itinerary post.