It is fair to say that when I was pregnant with my first child I knew the way I travelled would change but I did not quite expect it to quite like it has. Before I had children I loved to explore new places, experience the culture, and sample the local cuisine. This didn’t mean that I didn’t stay at all-inclusive hotels, I certainly did, but I wanted the opportunity to explore the local area as well. I didn’t always have a plan; I once travelled down Highway 1 in California with only an inbound flight to San Francisco airport and an outbound flight from Los Angeles airport, everything else between the two flights was booked ad hoc, choosing locations as I went.
As an Independent Travel Agent you would expect me to have had the itinerary planned out with hotel reviews and ratings all detailed. Whilst I do all this for my clients to provide a bespoke service, I prefer to make decisions as we go for our own travel to keep things both interesting and flexible.
My eldest daughter is now four and I welcomed a second daughter eighteen months ago. We have travelled as a family several times and had to adapt quickly to travelling with toddlers.
All the usual things people tell you are true, long gone are the lie ins with a casual breakfast to set you up for the day exploring a new location. We waved bye-bye to reading a book or watching a movie on the plane – unless you count the Paw Patrol movie or playing with suction fidget spinners as essential in air experiences. Instead of mimosas in the airport, it is soft play whilst waiting for the gate to open. However, I recognise that these things are all temporary, our eldest is beginning to enjoy a casual breakfast and will sit and colour in a picture without wanting to move onto the next thing as soon as possible. I also quickly learnt that travelling with toddlers requires some preparation and a little bit of an itinerary / plan in place.
In May 2023 we had the most amazing experience staying in the Golden Bay Beach Hotel, Larnaca. I specifically booked a mini suite with access to the jacuzzi and a large sunbathing area on our balcony. I had also researched hotel kid's clubs knowing that my eldest could stay without parental supervision. When the little toddler napped, I could lay in the sun and feel like I was back on holiday pre-children knowing both of the girls were completely safe.
The large balcony area ensured we didn’t feel on top of each other in the hotel room, it gave us extra space to breathe knowing the girls were completely safe. I opted for the all-inclusive option at this hotel even though there were several options for food in Larnaca. Knowing we had all inclusive food meant the girls could eat as much or as little as they wanted and I would always be able to find them something even if the heat affected their appetite. This is not something I plan to do forever, but for the foreseeable future it certainly works for us. We still went out into Larnaca on our trip but I wasted so much money on food that they just didn’t want as they were too hot and bothered.
A walk around the town of Larnaca was a must for me, the hotel was located just outside the main town so it was a potentially arduous stroll with two little scamps in tow! Once upon a time I would have just gone to look! This time I went armed with a buggy for the little one and a colouring book for the biggest as well as snacks, water, and a variety of toys and books to keep them distracted. Thank goodness for inclusive data roaming in Cyprus as the previously mentioned Paw Patrol movie made a reappearance when we were enjoying a coffee and cake break! This is something else I have changed my mind on since my children arrived. I did not want to be a parent using technology to entertain their child. However, I now realise that there is most definitely a time and a place for it. One of those situations is when I’m on holiday and want to enjoy a coffee in a local café! We all deserve to enjoy our trip; if they're happy, everyone is happy, once again perfecting the art of travelling with toddlers.
I mentioned before about the oldest beginning to enjoy a casual breakfast, well she also takes after me when it comes to visiting historical sites. During our trip into the town I took her to visit the Holy Church of Saint Lazarus. I enjoy taking in the sites over reading the information about places, she is right there with me when it comes to taking in the beautiful décor, vibrant colours, and learning a little about the history. We also lit a candle to remember our family members who had passed away and reflected on how much we both missed them.
I had a conversation before going into the church with her about the tomb located inside. We discussed how she had to be quiet and respectful and the whole time we were in there she looked, experienced, and took it all in whilst respecting others and remaining quiet. This is the main thing I have found when travelling with toddlers, explaining everything is a must. They like to know things and don’t understand; I cannot expect them to just know how to behave when they have never experienced it before.
The enjoyment I got from visiting the Church with her was something I don’t think I will ever forget. This was the first time I truly realised that travelling with toddlers is an art form; it is a small price to pay to show them the world. I saw wonder and amazement and a true desire to experience all the new things in her that day. I hope she remains my travel buddy for a very long time and doesn’t become too cool to travel with her mummy. She is definitely going to be my co-pilot for a long time! Showing someone the world is truly life changing for me and I am so proud that I have the opportunity, through a business I started, to make the travel dreams of my girls come true for several years to come.
I run my business via Instagram @waughsworldtravels or I can be contacted via email at email@example.com for holiday quotes. Bookings can also be made directly via my website. I also share recommendations, travel tips, family adventures, and holiday inspiration on my Instagram page.
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