5 Best Holiday Destinations for Babies
5 Best Holiday Destinations for Babies
Taking your baby on their first holiday is both exciting and daunting. My partner and I shied away from an abroad holiday until our daughter’s first birthday when we decided to visit Disneyland Paris for the weekend.
We had the best time and regretted not biting the bullet sooner. The following year we travelled more than we have ever done before and learned a lot along the way.
So here’s my round up of the best holiday destinations for babies:
- Disney Cruise
We definitely caught the Disney bug when we visited Disneyland Paris! We loved the shows, the magical touches, the excellent customer service and the fact Disney loves kids. BUT the park was pretty hard work with a toddler so we decided to try a European Disney Cruise and it was the most amazing holiday we have ever had and we have subsequently done 2 more cruises with them and are planning a fourth!
My highlights during the first cruise were seeing my daughter dressed in cute princess outfits and meeting the different characters on board. We also loved the food, the nightly shows, daily entertainment, the splash pad/pool and the crew were exceptional. One day, my daughter was dressed as Elsa and every crew member we passed did a little curtsey and said ‘Your Majesty’ - it was the cutest thing in the world.
We also got to visit the leaning tower of Pisa, Pompeii and many sights in Barcelona.
I couldn’t recommend a Disney Cruise any higher.
2. A Villa in Europe
We took the grandparents with us to Fuerteventura but you could pick pretty much anywhere in Europe and be guaranteed to have a lovely time.
We loved having a villa because it gave us so much freedom. No worrying about getting a sun-lounger in a good spot or having to keep an eye on your belongings while you splashed in the pool with the kids.
And going self catering means you can pick exactly what you want to cook and eat and it’s all prepared by you so you an be sure it will be safe for your little one to eat too.
Definitely hire a car and explore your surroundings. We had a day trip to a zoo where we got to feed giraffes which was just incredible and that memory will stay with me forever.
3. All Inclusive Caribbean Hotel
Just before our daughter’s second birthday we decided to make the most of the fact under 2’s fly for free and booked a week in Jamaica.
Our hotel was lovely and had lots of places to eat including on site restaurants with waiter service so we weren’t restricted to just a buffet at every meal time. It also had a sister hotel which we were free to explore and a lovely beach.
We purposefully chose a resort that had plenty to do on site. Before having our daughter we would have jumped in a taxi and gone on an adventure but the logistics of doing something like that with a baby/toddler gave me anxiety so to have 2 hotels, pools, restaurants, shops, beaches and even a lazy river all in one place meant we never got bored.
4. Center Parcs
If you’re not feeling brave enough to jump on a plane with your baby just yet, give Center Parcs a go.
The Parcs are designed with families in mind so there’s plenty of changing facilities, every restaurant has a kids menu, their lots of activities for little ones and they even open the pool a little earlier some days for babies to use exclusively.
Hire a bike, feed the ducks, build sandcastles and create some memories.
5. Orlando, Florida - Recommended by travel expert Stephanie McMillan of Not Just Travel
Stephanie says: ‘I would recommend Orlando, Florida as a baby friendly holiday destination. I went to Orlando with my family in 2012 and at the time my son was only 8 months old. We had a fabulous time and didn’t feel like we missed out on anything because we had a baby with us.
Everywhere you go there are great facilities for families with babies.
If you are visiting any of the theme parks (Disney/Universal etc) nobody misses out. If you want to go on a ride that your little ones are too small for, there is a facility called Child Swap. This is great if the grown ups want to go on the rides. You queue up for the ride as a family, then when you are at the front of the queue, you go into a separate room with your little ones. One of you will go on the ride while the other stays in the room with the children, then you swap places so that both mum and dad get to go on the ride.
Sometimes there can be long queue times which is no fun for anyone, least of all small children and babies. However, there is the option of paying a little extra for your ticket so that you can go in the express lane. This is ideal so that you are not wasting a long time in the normal queue and the kids aren’t bored.
If you have a buggy, you won’t be able to take these in the queues for the rides so there are stroller parks, where you can leave your buggies while you are on the rides.
There are also lots of rides and activities for the little ones to do in the parks. There definitely is something for everyone of any age!
There are plenty of baby change facilities too. These are often separate from the toilets which is great as usually the baby changing facilities are only in ladies’ toilets. If the facilities aren’t separate, they do also have them in the gents, which is great as then it doesn’t always fall to mum to do the nappy changes.
If you are going out to eat at a restaurant, the waiting staff are on hand to assist with food warming or there may be facilities to be able to do it yourself. Highchairs are also readily available.
When we went, we stayed in a villa, we didn’t have to request any special baby equipment as everything was already there for us to use. We felt that this was the best option for us as it was like a home from home. Once the baby was in bed, we still had our own space where we could sit and watch TV if we wanted or out in the garden in the evening. We weren’t confined to one room as you often are if you stay in a hotel.
If you are considering taking your baby to Orlando and you hire a car, my advice would be to take your own car seat with you. Car seat hire can be very expensive. You can take your own car seat for free on the plane.
The flight to Orlando is around 8 hours from Manchester. We flew with Virgin and they provided us with a cot which attached to the bulk head. They are suitable for babies up to 1 year old. This was great for us as we didn’t have the baby on our laps all the time. The flight home was a night flight and the baby slept the whole way home.
I know people who say they only want a short flight when they go on holiday with babies but there is nothing to fear when flying long haul with babies. The airline provided the baby food so you don’t have to take your own. Obviously, if baby is formula fed then you must take that with you.
I would definitely recommend Orlando as a destination to take your baby!!
When you go once, you will want to go again and again!!’