Life with a toddler can be delightful and draining in equal measures. The same can also be said for vacations with toddlers, which often tread a very fine line between heaven and hell.
When it’s all going to plan, a dream vacation with kids in-tow can be a truly unforgettable experience. When things go wrong, it turns into the kind of experience you’ll wish you could forget. Precisely why it’s important to approach the whole thing proactively, accepting what you’re getting yourself into long before hitting the road.
So, let’s assume you’re planning a trip to your favourite beach resorts in Mahabalipuram with one or more toddlers along for the ride. What can you do to ensure you don’t just survive, but bring back positive and meaningful memories for a lifetime?
Truth is, there are at least 10 things you can do to smooth things along for the whole family:
1. Adjust Your Expectations
First and foremost, you need to ensure that you have realistic expectations. Your first trip with toddlers in-tow isn’t going to be like any vacation you’ve experienced before. The reason being that this time, you’ll need to plan almost everything around your kids’ moods, preferences and general sensibilities. Many of the things you’d like to do will completely out of the question and you’ll have to get used to expecting the unexpected. But just as long as you can adjust your expectations accordingly, you could still be in for a seriously enjoyable ride from start to finish.
2. Choose a Toddler-Friendly Holiday
Some holidays are more suitable for toddlers than others. High-energy adventure holidays into the great unknown should probably be avoided for the time being. As should anything too far afield, which may involve prolonged and complicated travel. By contrast, shorter flight times, resorts with plenty of entertainment and regions where decent weather is guaranteed tick all the right boxes. It really isn’t rocket science – just think about the kinds of things you liked (and hated) when you were a child!
3. Pack More Than You Think You Need
If you think you’re getting carried away with the packing, you probably aren’t. As an adult, you can happily accept the fact that you’ve forgotten to pack one or two bits and pieces you meant to bring with you. Chances are, you could also replace them at a local shop. For toddlers on the other hand, it’s a completely different story. Their favorite toys, blankets and comforters they can’t live without, their favorite type of candy and so on – whatever it takes to keep tantrums out of the equation. Make a list, check it twice and ensure nothing is overlooked.
4. Excitement at the Airport
Airports can be frustrating and uninspiring places at the best of times. Nevertheless, you need to give your toddlers the impression that the airport is the most exciting and entertaining place in the world. Otherwise, it won’t be long before things take a turn for the worse. Try to get them excited about and interested in the kinds of things you’d normally ignore entirely. And just in case their motivation and positivity begin to slip, keep one or two toys or distractions close to hand.
5. Overnight Transportation
Some toddlers will happily fall asleep at the beginning of the ride and not wake up until touch-down on the other side. By contrast, others are prone to relentless bursts of energy at the worst possible times. There’s not a great deal you can do to reduce the unpleasantness of overnight transportation, other than making your toddlers as comfortable as possible. Ideally, the best approach is to avoid overnight transportation entirely and forget about any trips where jet-lag may enter the equation.
6. Local Cuisine
If you know toddlers, you’ll know that they aren’t exactly what you’d call the most adventurous eaters. In fact, they’re usually more inclined to throw a tantrum than try anything new or unusual. If this is the case with your toddler, you’ll need to think carefully about what they’ll be eating at the destination you have in mind. The more unusual and unfamiliar the local cuisine, the more important it is to ensure there’s somewhere serving the everyday staples your kids are used to.
7. Safety and Welfare
It’s no secret that some countries and resorts are significantly safer than others. But it’s also worth considering how a resort or region that’s considered safe for adults may not necessarily be the best place for kids. If in any doubt, carry out a little online research to find out as much as you can about the resort you’re considering. Look for information from other parents with kids around the same age and see how reassuring the consensus is. If in any doubt, it’s not worth taking chances – consider a different location for your vacation.
8. Babysitting Services
At some point during your trip, you’ll be craving (and very much deserve) some quiet time and relaxation. These days, the vast majority of high-quality hotels and resorts can organize reliable and responsible babysitting services. Nevertheless, you’ll need to question and verify the availability of such services, before going ahead with your reservation. Ideally, you should be looking for a hotel or resort with an outstanding entertainment program for kids and plenty of other toddlers around for yours to play with.
9. Accept the Inevitable
It’s unrealistic to expect your entire vacation to run its course without at least a handful of tantrums. They’re going to happen – it’s simply a case of when and where. By accepting this inevitability ahead of time, you’ll be in a far better position to deal with it when it happens. Accept that it isn’t the end of the world and is no different than when he or she throws a wobbler at home. Deal with the situation in the same way, though with at least a little more compassion than you normally would. After all, they’re in strange, unusual and perhaps even unsettling surroundings that could be adding to their upset.
10. Enjoy Every Minute
Last but not least, in won’t be long before all the money in the world isn’t enough to convince your kids to take a vacation with you. Hard to believe as it may be, there will come a time when you’re looking back on these trips and wishing there was some way you could revisit them. So while it may seem difficult at the time, you need to ensure you enjoy every minute and create wonderful memories together. Kids don’t stay kids for long, so you might as well enjoy the ride while it lasts!