Trying to go on holiday while on maternity leave is a struggle financially, yes there are deals to be had but there are many other factors to consider when trying to go on holiday with a baby and toddler. It is hard enough when you are planning a holiday just the two of you, with a baby and toddler in tow I found it quite the challenge.
I’m a stickler for bed time routine so I was not going to have the bedtime routine ruined to go on holiday – that certainly would not have been relaxing for me. So that meant that we have to go somewhere in our timezone, or at least only an hour ahead or behind. This does limit us considerably and taking into account that neither of my children have passports yet we are restricted to staying in this country this year.
With that decided I then thought about where would we like to go in the British Isles. Of course wherever we go we will have to drive as public transport is so expansive and does limit how much we could take with us. Driving with a baby and toddler has its own problems.
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I am lucky that my baby will sleep in the car – unfortunately even at the age of 6 months she will fall asleep very quickly in the car. This is usually not a problem but if we want to travel for hours I don’t really want her sleeping for hours and hours during the day. Entertaining a toddler in the car can also be a challenge. Using my phone is a guaranteed way to amuse her but I don’t really want her spending that long on my phone.
Apart from anything else it has my satnav on it! This limits us to a journey of about 2 hours. I am quite happy with this as I’m not a huge fan of long car journeys and my toddler has just started the dreaded ‘are we there yet’ game. Pre-children I always assumed that this was a Simpsons exaggeration but unfortunately not. At least in my house (or should that be car) it is a very accurate reality.
Having decided that we were going to stay relatively close by, I started to think about what we would do when we go there. Would caravan or cottage be best? Pre-children I loved looking round old castles, lounging by the sea and wandering around towns none of these would be particularly relaxing with a pushchair and an overactive toddler. How best to entertain a baby and a toddler without spending the earth? Then it dawned on me – a holiday park! In the end we chose Butlins; a 45 minute drive, entertainment on tap and during tots week not too expensive.
What to pack – the next big question! For us it is easy, a couple of pairs of jeans, a few t-shirts and a bit of underwear. Easy! I then started packing for my toddler, who has just started potty training. She is fairly good but has a tendency of at least one accident a week on a good week and one a day on a bad week.
With the amount of distractions somewhere like Butlins would have I fear it may be a bad week. That involves at least 10 pairs of leggings (she doesn’t have that many), 10 pairs of knickers, 10 pairs of socks, 6 t-shirts and a few jumpers. Not to mention two pairs of pjs and a spare bed linen set in case she has an accident during the night. Packing for the baby is proving just as bad, why bring one outfit a day when two or three can be used! The only blessing is that their clothes are still quite small!
After looking at the mountain of clothes needed it then occurs to me feeding. My youngest is bottle fed so that means packing bottles, sterilizer and if I can convince my husband there is room in the car, the perfect prep machine. Not to mention bears, bedtime books, gro-clocks and sleeping bags. Another good reason for staying local – there is no weight limit for the car!
This will be our first proper holiday as a family despite the ‘are we there yets’ and the ludicrous amount of stuff we are bringing, I am really looking forward to it. I strongly believe that spending time as a family is essential for a happy family.
Away from the pressures of everyday life, work, cooking, cleaning, gardening, washing, we will be able to play as a family. With a bit of luck my baby will decide that it will be a good time to start sleeping through so my husband and I will be able to spend time together as well.