Climate and temperature are pretty important. Sunshine and beaches in August aren’t for everyone. If you don’t have to travel when temperatures and prices are at their highest, stick to June and September for summer temperatures without the crowds. May and October if you want to wear sunglasses but not necessarily be poolside all week.
Somewhere easy to get to with good infrastructure
Long haul is more challenging, the food less predictable, and the weather too sometimes. Its more expensive to fly to far flung places although for deep winter sun it may be necessary. If Spring and Autumn suits you well then Southern Europe has much to offer. There is some comfort with a little one that the diet, the healthcare, the attitude and the welcome being somewhat predictable.
Where you can relax together
One thing to get your head around is ‘what is there to do?’ This is where a change in mindset may be necessary. Gone are the holidays of jungle walks, adventure experiences, white water and white powder. Taking time off work to be with your family is exactly that. Being together in an environment where you can relax and enjoy each other, without the distractions, personal challenges or adventures. This is family time. When guests ask me what is there to do, I say ‘there is a sofa by the pool, and a bar fridge with a beer, and a brick trolly to push. We have a sand pit and several playgrounds.’ Bit by bit, parents find their groove. They read the paper on the iPad for a bit, but then they play Lego, feed the goats, engage with their little ones and let the magic happen.
Smaller scale for little feet
Resort hotels, all inclusive, spa and day care, may sound convenient but there are hitches. Corridors for one, you can’t just step outside your room and be by the pool. You can’t head to the dining room and leave baby sleeping, and room service doesn’t really work when baby is sleeping in the room. Formal hotel dining rooms are nightmare with a stroppy toddler. European feeding times may not suit your family. And milk, the 24 hour requirement for milk that may not be understood by a jobsworth barman.
A private holiday rental may suit you but spending a week in a villa alone as a family might feel a bit isolated and self-catering, that’s not really a holiday at all. Organising a group of friends to be more fun could create complications with cooking and the dynamics of a baby. And actually, it’s just not special enough for your first holiday together.
Family Friendly makes it easier
Many first-time parents opt for baby friendly or toddler friendly holiday venue where they have the experience and facilities to cater for all the various needs of young families. This takes much of the uncertainty and anxiety out of booking a holiday. No need to worry if you forget something, or if there’s milk in the fridge when you arrive. It will all be taken care of, and you should be able to step away from day-to-day pressures without disrupting you baby’s routine.
We have 20 years’ experience running Caserio del Mirador, moving to Spain with our young family to find blues skies and a Mediterranean lifestyle. We know the ropes, we have tried and tested everything. Our children are living Spanish speaking proof of the happy, sunny fun filled days that make for special holiday time together. You may be able to take just a week away but the memories really do last a lifetime. Taking time to be together is everything.