We have just returned from a week abroad in Cala Bona, Majorca. This was our fourth time visiting this beautiful place, but the first in the accommodation we stayed in. Last year, when the boys were one, we had a bit of a disaster holiday really. In hindsight, they were perhaps too young and it was very difficult to occupy them safely, all day long.
Last year we stayed in a hotel, half board. The evening meal was served at 7pm and breakfast was served before 9:30am. Once we got back to our room after a tiring day in the sun, we had a 2 hour wait, before we could go down for our meal. It wasn't practical to go out for another walk to pass the time, because we had spent all day doing this already. There was no T.V in the room for entertainment and our patience was tried. The telephone in the room and pictures on the wall, were the only things to occupy 2 newly inquisitive babies.
We decided, on our return, that we wouldn't holiday abroad with them until they were 3 - meaning we would miss a year. Well we have very short memories in our house and by October of last year, we had booked again to go this year and I'm so glad we did.
What a difference a bit of thought made to our experience, this time. We stayed in a self catering apartment, with a T.V, and we could come and go just as we pleased. Don't get me wrong, the time spent lying on a sunbed was still very limited, but I can say that we all enjoyed it.
Before we went, we had a chat about whether we'd done the right thing. I suggested that we needed to have a routine and be prepared to change activity every couple of hours for it to work.
Our days went something like this.
-Wake up around 8:30 - 9:00ish - boys included. We were an hour ahead, so this is why.
- Make breakfast at our leisure - no pressure to be downstairs before 9:30. We had breakfast out on the first morning, but had a lengthy wait and decided to make our own from then on while the boys played in the apartment.
- Get ready to go out. We only left the room at about 10:30am as we didn't want to be in the sun for too long.
- Once out, we went to the beach or to a pool with a pirate ship - we gate crashed - or had a little walk to the shops. This generally took us about an hour and a half.
- On our return, we went into the pool at our apartments and put the boys into the 'baby float' type rings. They were happy to float and paddle around quite happily for about an hour. We topped up the tans on our chest and face, during this time, while supervising the paddling!
- After this, we had our dinner. The snack bar round the pool made the food and we ate it in the apartment.
- Once dinner was sorted, it was time for a walk. Hubby and I took it in turns taking them for a walk in the pram. After about 20 minutes, they fell asleep which allowed the walker some free time to do what they wanted and the person left behind could sunbathe with no interruptions for a whole hour. I read half of a book during the week - who would have thought?
- Once they awoke, we either went back into the pool with them, to cool them off or back to the apartment, so they could play.
- We had our evening meal in the apartment, much easier than eating out with 2 little ones, who didn't want to wait.
- We then walked them down to the front, without their pram, (one of us pushed it for later) and let them play on the park or the trampolines at the little fun park.
- They then got into their pram, had crisp and a drink, before falling to sleep watching the boats at the harbour.
- Drinking time for mummy and daddy for a little while, before taking them back and lifting them into bed.
We did tend to do a very similar thing each day, because it worked for us. I appreciate that cooking in the apartment isn't for everyone, but it was easier than waiting at restaurants for food to be cooked. The boys are not good at this. It won't be like this forever. Meals out will be there next year! Everybody really enjoyed it!
Have you got any tips for holidaying with toddlers?