Tips for a toddler-friendly holiday the whole family can enjoy

Jane Bustle28 Oct 2020
HomeBlogTravel tips advice and guidesTips for a toddler-friendly holiday the whole family can enjoy

*While travel restrictions are constantly changing, it’s hard to know what the next few months will look like. We recommend that all PLAY customers follow the guidelines from the Australian Government, and also read our guide ‘How to Travel Safely During Coronavirus’.

Knowing how to plan a family holiday is one thing. But when there’s a toddler in the mix, it’s a whole other kettle of fish. That’s why we’ve put together this handy list of things to keep in mind if you’re planning a trip with a tiny dictator – sorry, we meant ‘toddler’ – in tow. 

As much as we all like to think we’re the bosses of our own lives – and holidays – we also know when a toddler gets involved, their needs reign supreme.

Organise, organise, organise

Holidays are supposed to be fun. And sure, back in pre-kid times, flying by the seat of your pants was the stuff dreams were made of. 

But the moment children start joining the club, getting organised is the ONLY way to travel. 

The simple truth is that travelling just won’t be fun if you don’t predict and meet toddlers’ needs before they happen. As much as you might want to teach your kids the world doesn’t revolve around them, a family holiday is just not the time to preach resilience. 

But it is the perfect time to spoil everyone involved. So do yourself a favour, and plan for your toddler’s needs like you’re hosting the Queen. 

You’ll thank yourself later. 

Clear parental expectations

One of the biggest sources of stress while travelling with small children is actually the relationship between the adults involved. 

It may sound over-the-top, but communicating openly with your partner can be the difference between a relaxing family holiday and the two of you bickering for a week. 

In particular, decide ahead of time who’ll be responsible for which specific parenting tasks when.

Keep as much consistency as possible

Toddlers can be notoriously change-averse. Although most of your child’s day will differ from their everyday routine, you can keep some of it the same. 

If possible, aim to pack their favourite bedding and toys. You can also think about the things they use daily, like their sippy cup, and pop those into the suitcase too. 

Additionally, it can’t hurt to pre-load their favourite movie onto a phone or tablet to watch. That way, you’ll ensure the file is available even if there’s no internet connection.

Don’t try out new products on holiday

Anyone who’s organised a family holiday in Australia knows sun safety plays a massive part. 

So if you want to live your best family holiday life, this is not the time to try out a brand new sunscreen, hat or swimsuit. You don’t want your toddler to refuse to wear their new swimsuit, throw a tantrum at their floaties – or worse – develop an allergy to the sunscreen you packed. 

In other words: give anything new a test run before you leave. 

Minimise transitions

It’s not exactly intrepid travel, but heading to one spot and staying there for the entire holiday is always the easiest option. 

When you choose a destination, look for somewhere with minimal travel time, then try to avoid transfers as much as possible. Think ‘home-away-from-home’ rather than ‘off-the-beaten-track’. 

Take it slow and plan for downtime

When you’re travelling with toddlers,  think of everything you want to fit into your day and then halve it.

You’ll want to schedule in lots of downtime for naps, feeding fish and eating sand. And don’t forget to pack some great reading material to keep yourself occupied during naptime. 

You want those few hours a day to feel like a relaxing indulgence, not house arrest. 

Snacks (ALL of the snacks)

Whether you’re taking your family on an overseas holiday or exploring Australia, you’ll want to think about snacks. There’s nothing quite as terrifying as a hungry toddler, and if they’re well fed, your holiday experience will be SO much better. 

So have your child’s favourite snacks on hand, and don’t plan to feed them at the same time as the rest of the family. 

Get that little belly full before you even think about dinner reservations. 

The best family holiday destinations with kids in Australia

Many people have put their international travel goals on hold for the time being, so local travel is experiencing a bit of a heyday. Here are our top picks for Australian family holidays:

Book through us and pay for your holiday in weekly instalments with Planpay or pay in 4 x fortnightly instalments with Afterpay.

Family Holiday Hack: pack a few power boards. Some accommodation will have limited power points, and it’s a good idea to keep all of the family’s devices charging in one spot. That way you’re less likely to leave chargers behind. 

Need more hacks? Read our Family Holiday Hacks guide.