What kind of holiday works for families with babies?
July 2, 2016 8:22 AM   Subscribe

We've finally saved up enough money to go on a little holiday, hopefully abroad, meaning outside the UK. The thing is, we have a five year old and a one year old, so the things we might like to do to have a relaxing holiday don't really apply as sitting relaxing beside a pool or on the beach with a book or newpaper simply wouldn't work. We also can't go somewhere really hot as our one year old would disapprove. We would never go to a "resort" and stay in a huge holiday complex whether we had young children or not!

Any tips for what you've found works/worked for you and your young families?

We like:-
- Culture
- History
- Museums
- Sandy beaches
- Less usual forms or types of holiday (such as AirBnB, I guess, or a house swap)
- Scandinavia
- Non-Scandinavian prices

I really hope this isn't chat filter but feel free to delete if it is. The essential question I suppose is how do you have a holiday with a one year old that manages to be relaxing for the parents and tolerable for the barely-not-a-baby.

Prior to the one year old's arrival the last really fun holiday we had was a week in a "villa" on Gran Canaria in January and that was wonderful. We spent our days on the beach with our four year old and our villa had a swimming pool. Bliss. If that gives you some idea.

posted by dance to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would've suggested a self-catered rental for this situations as well (either AirBnB or the more "traditional" holiday rentals). I know they're massively marketed towards young families (tho it DOES mean more work than being looked after at a hotel...)

How about the Baltic? Somewhere just outside Riga or Tallinn, enjoy the (not too hot) beach, take day trips into the city... I guess Germany's Baltic coast would apply too, tho slightly pricier.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 8:40 AM on July 2, 2016

Couchsurfing! If you can find other families to stay with that would be perfect.
I am not sure what prices are like now, but I found Switzerland not as expensive as I expected a few years ago (I was couchsurfing and had train passes, so that was some of the big costs down) and it was a great place to travel with a little kid - safe, interesting, organised. Another great place (though not so affordable if you are paying in pounds now ... ask me how I know :( ) is Japan. Easy to get around, safe, organised, a lot for little kids and a culture that will respect and admire your kids without feeling to get in your space (and theirs) every five minutes to coo or touch them.
posted by Megami at 8:47 AM on July 2, 2016

We've pretty much always tried to rent a cottage or apartment since the kids were very small. It gives you some space away from the kids in the evenings and you can eat out or cook depending how you feel. When they are small it doesn't matter that much where you go from their point of view as long as there are places to play and things to do so you can please yourselves as long as you don't try to overschedule sightseeing everything while you're there. We've done airBnB in both Paris and Rome and both were great (although kids were a little bit older). In the UK, Cornwall and Lake District were both good.
posted by crocomancer at 9:22 AM on July 2, 2016

We took 12 adults, two almost-3 year olds, one infant, and a four year old child to Hawaii. We rented a house and cooked our own meals and mostly went to different beaches and hikes. It was great! I doubt the toddlers really remember anything, but we enjoyed having them there. Camping in someone else's house was wonderful. It was the perfect combination of great natural beauty and still having running hot water and laundry facilities.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:51 AM on July 2, 2016

Can you find a way to bring a nanny or grandparent along with you to help with the kids? If that's at all possible, it means someone can help give baby naps and stay with the kids in the evening so you and your husband can go out. If that doesn't work, I vote for renting a home or villa with some kind of patio or scenic view that you can both enjoy after kids are in bed.
posted by areaperson at 5:11 PM on July 2, 2016

You say that the things you like to do are sitting beside a pool or beach with a newspaper yet in the same breath show your disdain for resort complexes. That's...pretty much what they cater for. Complete with a kids club, so you CAN sit there with a book while someone entertains your child. There's a reason they're so popular. It's not because people love homogenous group activities, it's because they cater for families.

I mean, I get that you want to see museums etc but unless you're prepared to pay for a nanny to come with you, a complex that has inbuilt child care or a kids club is designed for this situation, so you can grab a few hours to do adult things. You don't have to stay at the resort the whole time, go duck out to sightsee while they're being looked after.
posted by Jubey at 9:18 PM on July 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you really can't get yourself to try a resort. You enjoyed Gran Canaria - go back. There is a reason why families with young children often start to go to the same destination for years. It makes it possible for the adults to relax some because there are enough knowns to significantly reduce stress associated with being in a new place whilst looking after very young children.
posted by koahiatamadl at 2:42 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

We have older kids and we still opt for the occasional resort. It's not like you're trapped there: rent a car or take local transport and visit the museums or other sights in the region. (Younger kids -- definitely rent a car versus public transport.) It gives you the balance of "I'm tired and lazy today, let's hang out at the beach/pool" and "I want to get out and do stuff together". We did this last summer on a resort island half an hour from Venice and would recommend it over and over again. Now we're looking at something similar in Croatia, because we also get discounts through a local holiday association which makes it cheap and accessible and leaves enough in the budget for exploring by car and boat.
posted by tracicle at 11:15 AM on July 3, 2016

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