So, here’s the 2nd part of the promised 3-part series that I’m slowly getting through, following on from Organising a Wedding with a Toddler in Tow… 2 weeks later we then headed on a honeymoon, or ‘familymoon’ as we termed it, thanks to heading off on our ‘romantic break’ with our entire family.
It wasn’t quite the ‘romantic getaway’ most people plan when it comes to their honeymoon, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The previous year we had considered leaving Lily with my parents to jet off on what started as a 10-day trip, but then the more we realised how much we’d miss her (plus the cost of it!), we knew 10 days was too much to be away from her.
This then turned into the idea of a 4-day Vegas trip, but then the finances told us otherwise, particularly with a new house on the way too (see Part 3, when I get round to it!)… and the whole ‘leaving Lily’ issue. I struggle with leaving her for a day at work!
But with an April wedding, and the fact it was snowboarding that brought us together in the first place, it would’ve been rude not to combine our honeymoon with a bit of a shred trip. It was thanks to a few lovely little surprises from the ridiculously amazing Treeline Chalets, that actually turned our standard family shred trip into more of that familymoon, and for that I can’t thank them enough.
However, whether you are planning on heading somewhere cold and mountainous, or prefer somewhere sunnier and sandier, there are a few tips we have for you from what we picked up on our first holiday abroad with Lily as a toddler.
Tip: Get there early – not only does it stop you rushing in case of delay, but it gives your toddler time to stretch their legs before the flight! Some airports even have play areas!
The airport itself was a pretty exciting place for a toddler, particularly as it was Easter Sunday so there were some creepy bunny rabbits giving out stupid amounts of free chocolate eggs and cakes, leaving us with a very hyper toddler at 7am.
We had a brief issue at security, despite being in the family lane, because they chose me to go through the body scanner and asked me to quickly throw Lily to someone else. Because she was confused by the very sudden change and me taking a different route in a strange place, she did panic and get a bit upset, but then it wasn’t long before the Easter bunny came her way, and she enjoyed an obligatory breakfast at the airport ‘Spoons.
Tip: Cheap airlines arent always cheap. BA turned out to be cheapest as we could take car seat (if we wanted), pram, 23kg luggage for Lily, plus her hand luggage
Make sure it’s not too long. We flew with Lily the previous year, but at 8 months old, her behaviour was a lot different to how she was at 21 months old! We were pretty unsure on how she would be, so making sure the flight was under 90mins was probably the right thing. We packed plenty of snacks, distractions, a cheap ipad we bought for her off ebay loaded with crap tv, sticker books, and more snacks, particularly as it was her usual nap time (not sensible I know!) but ended up using none of it as she was so excited by everything going on that she was distracted by it and we needn’t have worried.
It was only the last 5 mins she had a meltdown because she didn’t want to be strapped down into the seat again!
Tip: keep it short and make sure it’s planned before you get to your destination to avoid panic at a strange airport. Treeline did it all for us, including sorting the car seat 🙂
This was around an hour, so not too long in the minibus for her, and after a bag of Organix Puffcorn (always our life saver!!) and a brief episode of Postman Pat on the ipad, she slept the whole way anyway. On the way back, she looked out the window at the farm animals then again fell asleep!
TIP: Try to go somewhere familiar to you with access to plenty of outdoor space – free, safe toddler fun! Also watch for the time of year as you don’t want the weather to be too extreme that you can’t go outside!
We chose somewhere we knew would be amazing and Morzine is a pretty special place. I’d ensure you go somewhere not super remote in case you have any toddler problems, and know where the health centre is in case of emergency. We also had access to food we knew Lily would like and plenty of activities for her.
She just loves being outdoors, and we knew it was a safe place for her to run around and get involved with activities both on and off the mountain. There were parks, swimming pools, the lake… and even making it up to Avoriaz for a play in the snow. (With toddlers over 3, check out the very lovely Mint Snowboarding to get them on board from an early age!)
Being Spring time it was lovely and warm, so perfect for her to play outside in such an incredible place, without being concerned about sunstroke – though we did still ensure she was smothered in suncream! You just need somewhere your kid isn’t going to get bored, and plenty of different options with a lovely town nearby for a coffee/walk/to explore.
TIP: Find somewhere with your own living space for some quiet time
So we stayed with the amazing Treeline Chalets, because we knew they will always look after us, every time, without fail. Their chalets are just stunning, and the staff are always beyond amazing. Plus they are family friendly as have toddlers of their own, so fully catered with high chair, toys, crib, tv shows, and all the other bits you don’t need to bring. Other friends have stayed with them too with their families, and are equally as blown away.
We also chose Treeline, not just because they’re awesome, but because the chalet is a far better option for us than a hotel. With a chalet you don’t need to worry about people in neighbouring rooms, and you have your own space. So when Lily decided to have an early morning, I could take her up to the living room to play, rather than worry about other hotel guests.
We also struggled with Lily in a hotel before as she just wanted to explore, whereas in the chalet she had that room to explore, plus our own little garden area for her to run around in too! What’s more, Treeline had an unlimited supply of kids shows (and Peppa Pig!!) on tap, so she could run around or sit in the kids chairs watching it, rather than sit with us if the meal was too late for her, or we were having a lazy afternoon in!
We also found it helped having a living area that we could all sit together in as once Lily had gone to sleep, we could all sit together upstairs and enjoy our evening while Lily slept safely downstairs (remember your monitor), rather than feeling like we had to sit in the hotel room with Lily while everyone else was in their rooms/out.
Tip: try and find somewhere family friendly such as a chalet or resort as if you’re eating in retaurants they may not open for dinner til late, when you’ve a grumpy toddler on your hands!
Linked to the accommodation, but I was rambling a bit, Treeline also served beautiful food for all of us, and ensured Lily was looked after too. We could also eat at times that suited us, and relax in our own living area, without feeling pressured to be out the room through the day, as in a hotel.
The food was not only amazing as always but having the choice over when we ate, and being able to help ourselves to breakfast etc at our leisure, meant we could all do things around how Lily was feeling, rather than having to go out to restaurants 3 times a day, and arrange it all together.
She could eat when she needed and we could eat at a separate time, and we knew it would be suitable for her. Being in France, she also discovered a liking of French bread and croissants… as well as mountain honey!! Being abroad can help your toddler try new things if they see you doing so too!
Tip: pack enough for a few days in your hand luggage in case your bags go missing. Also don’t rely on shops being open when you arrive as they may be closed on Sundays or local bank holidays, so be prepared just in case!
Thanks to Treeline, we didn’t need to bring much with us. We brought plenty of snacks and her sticker books/colouring books for some quiet time, but food-wise we knew Treeline would serve healthy meals, and there was a supermarket nearby for any extras through the week (it’s worth checking out where the nearest store is for you before you go, and what it stocks!).
We also took around 3 days of nappies and wetwipes, and bought the rest out there to save on packing space/luggage weight. It was nice not having to take so much formula and all her bottles like we had to on the flight the previous year, but we still took her water bottle with us and a small plastic bowl/spoon that she was familiar with.
I’ve rambled enough now but my main tip is to try and go somewhere you are familiar with as it helps to know where things are/what you need to bring, as somewhere you have your own indoor space to relax or have some quiet time with the toddler.
If you can find somewhere with plenty of free activities (the mountains and outdoors are free!!), then you don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on expensive days out, when all toddlers are happy doing is running around and exploring.
We can’t thank Treeline enough for looking after us so incredibly well, and we were just overwhelmed with their love once again. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking to go away with their family, young or old. You are guaranteed to be looked after (and there are plenty of amazing deals too – particularly at the end of the season when we went!) and you can enjoy such an amazing location, that isn’t too far from home, all year round.
We often panic when travelling with young kids, but in the end it is somewhere new, and you have to relax and enjoy yourself, not worry too much. They will have the odd meltdown, but they would when they are at home, so wherever you decide to go, just enjoy that honeymoon/ familymoon/ holiday together, and make those super precious memories. It may not be the standard romantic getaway, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be special.