Kids & Parenting, Travel

The joys of a first family holiday…

In October last year, we had our first proper family holiday. Figured we had better book in while Little K was under 2 to make use of the her travelling for free! We spent months trying to work out where we wanted to go. There were so many things to consider for travelling with a toddler that we just hadn’t worried about before..

  1. Flight times. Early morning not ideal. She’s struggling with nap and bedtimes at the best of times at the minute, so the last thing we wanted was to disturb that any more than we had to.
  2. How long is the flight? She’ll have to sit on our laps, and she’s not one for sitting still at the best of times! Rules out anything too far. Are seats guaranteed to be together or do we have to pay extra for this?
  3. What’s the time difference? Will it affect her to a point it won’t be an enjoyable holiday.
  4. How long is the transfer from the airport to hotel? Is it safe for her to go on the coach with no car seat? Should we hire a car? Can you hire car seats? Would they be safe?!
  5. What’s the children’s facilities at the hotel? Do we want an obviously child centric hotel, or something a little more subdued?
  6. Do they have a kids club/crèche for under two year olds? Does this cost extra?
  7. Do you have to pay for cot hire (I was surprised at the amount of places that charged for a cot!)
  8. Not too hot, don’t want her burning. Not too cold, still want to enjoy being outside!
  9. All Inclusive? What if there’s is nothing for my little fussy eater? Is there more than one restaurant option on site?
  10. Is there a pool suitable for young children? Splash pool, slides, etc.
  11. What room type should we get? Standard: will it be a squash with a cot? Suite: bit expensive? Swim up: Would stress about her going outside on her own…

… and the list continues…

It was a nightmare!

In the end, we realised that we just had to be sensible. If you get carried away worrying about every last thing, you will never find something…  Not within an average budget anyway!

We decided after much deliberation to visit First Choice’s Holiday Village Majorca. Flying from Gatwick at 1pm. 2 hour flight. 1 hour transfer. All inclusive. Good reviews. UK qualified childcare and entertainment.  On paper, it ticked all the boxes…

And it did not disappoint! We had an amazing week.

I downloaded the Disney Life app on my phone along with a couple of films (7 day free trial, which I actually have continued the subscription for… £4.99 a month for all Disney films, music, tv shows etc. on up to 10 devices. It has been a life saver!), which was the best thing I could have done on the flight. My little wriggler, sat still the entire time, just watching Frozen and Beauty and the Beast. She was so content, she barely made a noise. I couldn’t believe it. I had had nightmares about screaming and ear popping, and all the rest of it, but in all honest, she was fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for it to be any better.

Transfer was easy, we got the standard coach travel, and we were lucky that it was quiet enough for Little K to have her own seat. She lay down on my lap and napped for the whole hour.. Travelling had clearly taken it out of her!

The weather for October was as expected, plenty warm enough to spend the days outside by the pool, highs in the early to mid twenties. In my opinion, perfect for a toddler. However, with outdoor unheated pools, it did mean that they were freezing, which in turn meant that Little K barely stepped foot in the pool much of the week!

The hotel on arrival was lovely. Clean, tidy, efficient. We had booked a suite as it had a living area so we could put Little K to bed and stay up if we wanted to. It was third floor, with a balcony that was child safe, no large gaps to squeeze through.

Trying to find her escape route...
Not that she didn’t try!

The complex itself, although boasting 5 pools, 5 restaurants, bars, a shop, entertainment stage etc. was rather compact so everything was within easy walking distance. We didn’t once take the pushchair out of the room.

Little K immersed herself in the holiday vibes from the moment we arrived. We arrived in time for dinner, and the evening entertainment. As most all-inclusive hotels of this style the main restaurant was buffet style, and they had themed evenings; Mexican, Spanish, Italian etc, along with four othe themed restaurants on site. The food in the main restaurant was fine. Nothing super special, but there was always something available for each of us that we were happy with.

The entertainment team must have a special mention here. They were fantastic. Having numerous friends who have worked as entertainment reps in similar hotels I know how much hard work they put into it, and yet over the course of the week, their energy never dropped and their smiles never wavered (not in front of the public anyway!) Little K absolutely loved the evening entertainment. It started with showings of Peppa Pig, then a show by the First Choice ‘Widgets’ (sesame street style puppets) then  team games consisting of challenges and dances… She was in her element. From the first night she happily stayed up until 11pm (I know, bad parenting for even dreaming that I can allow her to not follow a schedule for a week on holiday. Tough. She loved it!) She would wake every morning and her first words would be ‘More Dancing!’

I really noticed a difference in her development over the course of the week. It’s the first time in a while where neither me nor my husband had any other worries or responsibilities to think about. Our time and energy was 100% focused on her and she really blossomed. Of everything to take away from this holiday, it was this. I absolutely treasured having so much uninterrupted time with her.

She visited the crèche three times for 2 hour slots. This was a perfect opportunity to allow my husband and I to just lie by the pool without having to have eyes in the back of our heads. The staff there were also lovely. All were UK qualified so no worries in that context, and the facilities were great.

It just goes to show how the positives can outweigh the negatives; I’ve managed to write this entire post without even mentioning that I was terribly unwell for 4 of the 7 days! Yes it’s not ideal, but with the amount of young children there, germs are rife and something that I totally understand. I still had the best week, and truly adored being able to take the time out with Little K to just enjoy being together.

I’m off to do some research on our 2018 holiday now….

*Google Search: First Choice Holiday Village Booking 2018*

First Family Holiday - Trials and Tribulations of travelling with a toddler #travelwithkids #firstfamilyholiday #travellingwithtoddlers

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