Have you ever felt like a holiday with small children is… not exactly a holiday? Sure the kids might have fun but you are parenting without the support network, equipment and toys you usually rely on. Negotiating jet lag and long distance travel only increase to the not-exactly-relaxing vibe. Add sleep deprivation, homesickness and the inevitability of someone getting ill and sometimes it feels like you should have just stayed home.
I was an off-the-beaten-track adventurer in my other life. I spent my younger years backpacking through Asia, volunteering in other cultures and hiking in the Australian wilderness... oh how things have changed!
When I first had kids I did try to keep travelling. We've been to Brasil, Portugal, England and more with babies... and eventually we decided to take a short break from those kinds of adventures.
Instead of looking for adventure in my holidays now I look for relaxation. My day to day life is pretty hectic with three small children, and we often have plenty of adventures just trying to get out of the door to school each morning.
So now our holidays look very different. I prioritise relaxation!
Here are my top suggestions for the most relaxing holidays to have with a baby in tow.
Holiday At Home
Yep, just stay home!! It’s so much easier for baby to sleep in their own bed, and you don’t have to worry about jet lag or running out of nappies on the aeroplane. Plus you’re less likely to get sick, and you can try and catch up with some friends too.
But make sure you still have a holiday. Take time off work and use all the money you saved on travel and accommodation to get meals delivered, a cleaner, get your laundry done, and be a tourist in your own town.
We’ve had some AMAZING holidays at home and visited theme parks, beaches, restaurants, gone to rock climbing centres and for bush walks - all of which we wouldn’t usually have time to do in our day-to-day life.
We’ve recently joined a house-swapping directory online, which has led to some great holidays and saved us a tonne of money. We've done swaps in Melbourne, Swan Valley, Elwood and Albany and once you pay your annual fee it’s totally free to do as many swaps as you like anywhere in the world.
It’s extra great when you swap with another family because the house comes already kitted out with toys and high chairs and bikes. Often we even do car swaps too, which saves us the expense of car rental too (which is huge for a family of five!) plus if you swap with a family the car often comes with child restraints, making packing so much easier.
I love camping but you need a lot of energy so it doesn't always feel like a holiday when you have a baby waking you (and the entire campground) up every forty-five minutes.
A nice middle ground is to stay in a cabin on a campsite. That way you don't have to pack the tent (and the kitchen sink) and you still get access to great facilities including playgrounds and pools and bouncing pillows. Plus your kids can make lots of friends!
Some campsites even have food trucks, ice-cream vans and bakeries visiting so you don’t have to cook and wash up every night. It can feel like a resort, but more family friendly and a fraction of the price!
We often joke that Bali is a suburb of Perth - we go there a lot. It’s the same time zone as Perth and the same distance as travelling to Sydney or Melbourne for a fraction of the price! We go the same hotel every time and relax by the pool drinking coconuts. We order room service breakfast in bed and have massages every day (even the kids!) Depending on where you live in the world you might find something similar like Fiji or Tenerife.
I’m *really* looking forward to more exciting travel plans as the kids get older. We plan to go to Canada next year and India the year after that (saving up already!)
We are also getting into more hiking and bush walks with the kids already as they grow up. This is really only a very short stage of your life together as a family, so go with the flow and find what works for you - even if it isn’t the kind of holiday you would usually identify with!
What are your favourite holidays with kids?