thread: Taking babies, toddlers and kids on holidays

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2004

    Taking babies, toddlers and kids on holidays

    Hi ladies & gents,

    I had started a discussion in the "ask mods thread" about whether we could have somewhere to post Q&As regarding going on holidays with bub & kids. This was from a purely selfish point of view......I am trying to arrange a holiday in March (ish) for me, DH and Pup who will be 20 months by then, and experience over the past month where we went away for a couple of nights and had to share a room tells me that some research into a week long holiday is warranted!

    There are websites specifically dealing with holidaying with kids (Aussie ones), but I thought that it might be good to get some feedback from members on here that have had some good, bad and otherwise experiences on travelling with kids.

    I thought that maybe we could post on here with requests for suggestions and also possibly some recommendations for those that have just been on a holiday and found the facilities well suited to a particular age group.

    I, for one, find that my prerequisites on what I need for a holiday have now changed substantially. At the least I am looking for acomodation with either 2 rooms or a partioned off area, possibly a kiddie club (but not essential), but somewhere with facilities that will keep a toddler interested and SAFE.

    Also, I want to try and get something that allows ME top have a holiday....not just different scenery to do the same things as I do at home (ie washing, cooking, looking after kids..etc) IYKWIM?? This can be the trap of using self contained accomodation.

    So who's interested? Let's get the discussion rolling. I'm sure that ove rthe Christmas/New Year period, there are a few of us that have been on hols that can give some feedback - good AND bad.

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2004

    Ok, I'll start off with a request.

    I am looking for any feedback on accomodation in the Coffs Harbour area. Also things to do and places to eat. Pup will be 20 months in March, when we intend to go.

  3. #3
    Debbie Lee Guest

    Hayseed - sounds like some great ideas there with the 2 rooms and kiddies club. I too haven't been to Coff's so I'm not much help there.
    We've been on limited holidays with Gabby. We went to Echuca for 4 nights in late 2005 and had a great time. We stayed in a caravan park but in a self-contained cabin (yes.. I know.. not really a holiday because I still had to do dishes.. but we had financial restrictions so we had to be able to cook our own food etc.). We stayed with another family and they had the cabin next door. Gabby's portacot fit in the second room fine and it was handy for her to have her arvo naps in there without being woken by general noise.
    There was a babysitting service there. I didn't use it but I thought it was a great idea if Neil and I wanted to go out for dinner or something on our own (making it a holiday for me too... as you said).
    Good luck with planning your holiday and what a good idea for a thread!

  4. #4
    Life Member. Every Australian needs a Farmer.

    Dec 2005
    In Bankworld with Barbara

    Hayseed, we went to Coffs in late March last year. We stayed at self catered accomodation across the road from the beach, but there are heaps of other resort type accomodation there if you want a break too For touristy things we went to the big banana, but there isn't a great deal to do there, except spend a fortune in the lolly shop (handmade boiled lollies etc), but when we were there they were in the process of doing it up and adding things. There is also a model dutch village and train set, that Lindsay really loved at 5, so Pup should really love it. Also there is the butterfly house where you can walk amongst all the butterflies. Shopping is fantastic too. I will PM you a great link to a Coffs harbour tourism site that I found great when researching restaurants etc.

  5. #5
    ok take 2 of going back to work.....

    Nov 2004
    Giving the gift of life to a friend..

    I havent been to Coff's, well not as an Adult or a parent!

    But when we went to the Gold Coast in July, we stayed at a place called Ashmore plams & I have to say it was great, we stayed in a cabin, with 2 bedrooms & had Indah in a portacot (she was about 10mths) set up in the loungearea, but there was heaps of stuff for kids to do, a great pool, playground, birds & stuff plenty of activities also, heaps of families around. It was close to a small shopping strip so we bought a few groceries but mostly met up with friends in Surfers for dinner, as we hired a car but ittook about 5 mins to drive from Ashmore to Surfers...
    I highly recommend the place!

    We are heading home to Bali in late aug early Sept for 3 wks so Digger will be a few wks old, but we want to go before Indah is 2 & we have to pay for her, yep tight arses!!!
    We are looking at 2 bedroom places so we have some privacy, we could have stayed in the village with the inlaws butit would just be too hectic with a newborn & keeping the others entertained, plus it can be noisy with all the animals & stuff!
    So we are probably staying in the Dewi Sri family rooms & I will let ya know what it's like when we get back...

    Hope you find the perfect place Hayseed!
    Last edited by sushee; January 16th, 2007 at 10:28 AM.

  6. #6
    mum2olivia Guest

    Hi there

    DH and i have paid for and planned a very big trip!
    we are driving from our home (Brisbane) to sydney. staying there a few nights. flying sydney to adelaide, staying there 5nights, driving the great ocean road to melbourne over a period of 6days. then flying back to sydney from melbourne. staying another few days and driving home to brisbane. its going to be done over a period of 25days.

    any sugestions as to activities in the car, on the plane, in stop overs for my lil girl who will be 11months at the time. keep in mind we are hoping to be pregnant with #2 by then as well. so i'm likely to be about 12 + weeks preggo!

    muych appreciated.

    oh and we are staying in coffs area, at Opal COve Resort. $50 per person per night, kids free!


  7. #7
    Registered User

    Jan 2004

    We went on a car trip when DD was 12 months old. we drove 11 hours in 1 day, and were travelling with BIL and their 11 month old.

    We tried to pull up for a rest and something to eat every few hours (probably why it took 11 hours) and mainly to let the girls run around for a bit. We had a 20 litre esky in the car with drinks for the girls, so we could give them a bottle when they wanted something to drink.

    Last year we went to Byron Bay, so we split the drive into 2 days. DD was 6 then.
    We splurged and got a portable DVD player for the car and we didn't hear a single thing from DD either day, except when we said maybe it was time to have a rest from watching the screen.

    We took plenty of little snack foods and I made some little snacks up in zip lock bags for DD to have in the car with her.

    If you are having milk cartons or juice etc that you want to store in a fridge, ask the place you are staying what size their fridges are. I know it sounds silly, but we got caught out a couple of times with little fridges that we couldn't even fit a 1 litre bottle in! (DD had just discovered Sippah straws last year just before we went away)

    For us (Mum & Dad) we got a Navman just for the trip away, and what a life saver it was (once we learnt how to use it) No arguments trying to follow maps etc... But we're country folk, so city driving/freeway/entry's exits etc, is something new (and scary) for us LOL!

    When we left Byron, we went to the Gold Coast for a few nights and stayed at a place called Treasure Island. We stayed in the self contained cabins. They had putt putt, a pool with a mini slide for the kids, spa for the big kids, tennis, and a games room that DH, DD, BIL and I went and spent a couple of hours playing games! At the end of the block was a Subway and across the road was Harbour town, full of discount shops and a woolies as well.
    There was also a bottle shop near the subway from memory, so very nice to go and get a bottle of red and just relax the night away with.


  8. #8
    Registered User

    Jul 2005
    Rural NSW

    I haven't read this whole thread but I'd just like to recommend 2 places. Sea World Nara Resort is the most kid friendly place that I have ever stayed at yet had fun myself...eg a nice meal with my DH while the kids were at a Kid's Club. Secondly, we have just returned from The Heritage Sebel in Victoria's Yarra Valley. This surprised me... at first it didn't look child friendly at all.... but they were very accomodating and my children were more than welcome to use the facilities such as the indoor pool (floaties/pool toys included). The reason I mention the Sebel is because their Retreat has a full on Day Spa with every pampering treatment you could imagine. Admittedly my DH and I tended to "take turns" looking after the kids in the room and venturing out... but our room, a suite was huge, more like an apartment.... and had two TVs and 2 toilets which is always a good thing with a family! Also, nearby you have Healesville Sanctuary which is wonderful to do as a family.... and the Yarra Valley Dairy which is a foodies paradise and interesting for the kids as the calves are very friendly and you can get a nice close up experience... we plan to return to the Yarra Valley within 6 months to do it all again... such an easy short revitalising holiday if you live in Melbourne.

  9. #9
    Billy Ocean Guest

    Hi ladies!

    Has anyone travelled o/seas with a child under 2?

    I'm thinking of going to the US and Canada (and possibly Ireland) next year with my son. He'll be one and a bit... I'm just wondering about things like catching a cab from the airport to my hotel with no car seat and how to safeguard hotel room powerpoints etc. I also hadn't thought about how I'm going to "baby proof" other places we are staying, like friends houses etc.

    Any ideas?


  10. #10
    BellyBelly Member

    May 2007

    Hi Billy Ocean,
    I took my DS to London when he was 18 months old. We decided to split the trip, and stopped in KL on the way, and Tokyo on the way back. That was one of the best things that we could have done, as it broke up the trip. As far as car seat goes, we planned (and did) hire a car while in the UK, so I took an old carseat with me from home, and then donated it in Scotland before coming home. We knew that we didn't need it for Japan as we caught the subway to our accom. Also we bought a portable DVD player. It was great on the long haul flights. If you are not buying your child a seat, then when you get on the plane, have a chat with the air hostess and ask them if they can move you so that you can have a spare seat. We managed to have a spare seat on all 4 of the long haul flights, and that made a great difference. This was even on full flights!
    All in all, we did 9 flights, and I must say, J was an angel. The only flight he was upset on was the Syd/Melb flight of the way home.
    I never even thought about pawer points in the hotels. It was a non issue though, as most of them are fairly well covered. You could always shove a chair in front if you needed. It is good to try and get a place that either has a seperate bedroom, or a partitioned area, as it might mean that you have to hang in the dark at baby bed time. In Japan and KL we didn't have a sep area. Dh and I ended up going out seperately for dinner while the other sat in the room listening to the ipod until J fell asleep. Anyway i was tired from the flight, so didn't mind the early night anyway.

    The best advice that I have to give is relax about it. So many people said that I was mad to take an 18 month old on such a big trip, but he LOVED it. He liked the planes, he loved sight seeing, and was generally a pleasure.
    Good luck.

  11. #11
    BellyBelly Member

    Jan 2008


    Coffs Harbour is great. We have been going there about every second year for about 15 years.
    Sandcastles is a great place to stay. They have two bedroom apartments. You can cook some meals if u like or just a few doors away you can eat out. It is across the Rd from the beach. Sandcastles has heated pool (toddler pool) spa and BBQ area. We will going there last week feb early march. DD will be two 8/3. Can't wait. Big banana is good fun and there is lots to do that is fun for kids.

  12. #12
    Billy Ocean Guest


    thanks so much!

    You're right, so many people say I'm crazy to even think about it but I don't see the problem, really. Just relax, exactly! I may hire a car in LA but will see. Will have to do some research.

    Thanks again and so pleased your trip worked out.


  13. #13
    Registered User

    Sep 2008

    Travelling overseas with a 5 month old

    We are considering a trip via singapore to europe for 3 weeks then on to visit family in the US for 2 more weeks. I haven't found a lot in forums discussing os travel with babes this age. Is this because we're insane to do it? We're wondering about the logistics of travel in taxis (ie carseat), although we hope to rent a car in europe. Also, do most hotels offer portacots/cribs? And what about feeding? I'm breast feeding, but we do still give bubs a bottle of expressed milk/formula after his last feed before putting him to sleep for the night. We use cloth nappies exclusively at home but realise we'll have to use disposables for the trip. Any ideas about availability and cost of nappies and formula in Europe? Any brands you can recommend? And any ideas how to sterilise bottles quickly and easily? I have a microwave steriliser for the bottles and pump at home but this seems a bit bulky to take with us. Thanks very much for any advice!

  14. #14
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW

    uqslug, maybe take some of the sachet packets with you of formula one that you use here if needed? That way you will only need to take a few with you. Most hotels have port-a-cots available. We just co-slept if they didn't when we've been away from home. Sterilising bottles... if the hotel is self-catering, they should have a dishwasher & I would just use that! Otherwise you could boil water on the stove and boil the bottle for 5 minutes to sterilise it. If they don't, I would ask the hotel if there was anyway to boil bottles once day or something. I'm sure they would have alternatives for you. Maybe room service could chuck the bottles in their industrial dishwasher... those things go to extremely high temperatures and would do a good job there.

    Taxis, in most countries you can ask for taxi's with car seats. In the US you can hire car seats with the car rental company. Also its legal in most places to have the baby in your lap in taxi's.

    I think more people don't think about doing big trips with babies because its full on.... but in hind sight. I think doing this at that age is easier than once they are moving more!! Toddlers are very hard to take on planes and overseas. Good luck!

  15. #15
    BellyBelly Member

    May 2008
    Fraser Coast, Qld

    This thread is awesome, very helpful!!

  16. #16
    BellyBelly Member

    May 2007

    as far as travelling with my son in Europe, we did what Christy said, and took sachets of formula. As my son was 18 months, I wasn't too fussed about sterilising. most of the time we were in the UK where the water quality was good. i also bought UHT millk and definitely in Spain I used that as the water was terrible. We also bought bottled water. Avent does sell bottles that you can put a sterilised bag in, so you dont have to worry about sterilisation. Maybe worth looking at that?
    Customs on the other hand, is another issue. They make to taste everything that you take for babies. So we had to open jars of food etc and taste them. i recommend taking some jars of food as that way you have something as backup if you need it.
    We took an old car seat from home with us, but most places we caught trains. So we only used it when we hired a car for ourselves. Not ideal, but for the hotel transfer in Kuala Lumpar, DS sat between us with a seatbelt on, as my SIL travelled ahead of us with the car seat.
    Almost every hotel has a cot, so you shouldn't have to worry there. We took a portacot with us, as we stayed mainly in self contained units or with friends so we needed one.
    As far as baby products go, if you are going to be in the UK first, stock up at a shop called sainsbury or at tesco's. They sell everything that you will need. As far as Europe goes, there were still quality products, just a bit harder to read sizes etc. Most of the time I worked it out though. Every country we went to had fairly good baby products so you should be fine.
    Most of all enjoy! we had such a great time with our DS

  17. #17
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2005
    Where the heart is

    Travelled to Ireland in Jan with a then-19 month old. It was awesome. We did Melb-Dubai (via one hour stop in Singapore but DS was asleep for that!), Dubai-London, then short flight to Dublin. We borrowed a car seat from family for the car we hired, but the hire cost for a seat wasn't very high anyway. In London we used PT the whole time (well, when we weren't walking- weather was absolutely dreamy and we were only in Earl's Court, so walked home a few times, there for 5 days) and it was great. In Dubai we had a courtesy shuttle bus, and strapped DS into the back bench seat - there was no provision for children, tsk tsk, but then again, the traffic was horrendous there and speed not an issue!
    I have to say that breastfeeding is the bees knees for travelling with a child. DS was no problem on the flights because we were almost permanently attached and I didn't really give a toss what anyone thought of me feeding an 'older child', either on the planes, in Dubai, in London or Ireland. And I never got grief for it
    We co-sleep, too, so we didn't need to bring any other paraphanalia than our Ergo and original Phil&Ted's Kiwi Explorer (tubular steel, if anything's going to survive baggage handlers, these will!!).
    I admit that I was dreading the flights, but the real problem was keeping DS happy in the car, travelling across Ireland. He hated getting in the car (from being a real car-kid at home) after the first week, but we had to drive from Dublin to Wexford (for a wedding) to Waterford, Waterford to Kerry (after car swap at Cork airport after the hire company changed our car to a far-too-small number last minute), then Kerry to Cork, Cork to Kildare all in a week and a half. And that's considering that I cancelled out planned trip to Clare and Galway from Kerry! So, maybe train travel and staying in centres with coach tours handy is a more child-friendly option in Ireland if it's a short stay, or else plan a longer stay (I'd suggest 6 weeks to see everything and be fair on the child for travel times).
    Our Bob the Builder love affair is Ireland's fault. There is so much roadwork going on there that he came away saying his first word that wasn't 'mummy' and 'daddy' - 'digger'. Got home and he was excited by all things construction!
    Heaps to do in London with children. If it's nice weather, you have all those parks with squirrels, museums for older children, the historical sites, the Eye...no need to be scared to travel there with kids
    Pack a bag of activities for the plane cos the airline toys are always great. If you have a laptop, bring that for portable DVD purposes and basic photo management, emailing and web surfing where there's wireless available.
    that's all I can think of as a brainstorm.

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Member

    Dec 2007
    Taking a ride on my grdonkey :D

    Hi all,
    Glad I searched this first because I almost started a thread in a different forum...

    DH and I were planning to go to Brisbane (we live about six hours by car north) to see Kings of Leon mid-March, we were going to just go for two nights and leave DD (17 months, will be around 20 months by then) with her grandparents, but we missed out on tickets. I was so disappointed that DH promised me a 'real' holiday to Brisbane around the same time (March, that is), for a longer period of time (around a week, 4 - 7 days) and since we weren't going to the concert we could take DD with us for her first holiday.

    I'm planning an intinerary so that we don't spend our days sitting in a motel room staring at the TV (hey, we can do that at home!), and although I've already got an amazing list of things to consider, I'd like to get some suggestions from mums with kids around the same age. We're planning to spend the first night of our trip in Toowoomba staying with my grandmother, but after that, we're looking for accommodation in Brisbane.
    Our requirements for accommodation are just that it has private facilities (bathroom etc) including a reasonable kitchen, as we're planning on preparing the majority of our meals in the room - we are saving furiously but meals tend to take away from things like touristy stuff and SHOPPING!!, and most restaurants aren't really child-friendly - we can't live on McDonald's for a week. We are on a budget and would prefer to spend under $150 a night, and we don't mind at all booking a motel room that is just a double/queen bed and room for DD's portacot. The only trouble I'm having right now is determining the restrictions on motel rooms - the ones that only have one bed state that the maximum residency is two adults - does that mean we can have DD with us or is that '2 adults, nobody else in the room, too bad'? We are happy to pay extra for a child, we don't require a bed or extra room... I don't know how to explain it.
    So, if anybody can tell me the right questions to ask or things to look for when booking accommodation online (I've used wotif.com to book accommodation before and found it great, now that there is a child thrown into the mix I'm a bit more confused!), I'd appreciate it. Also, any suggestions for motels that other families with toddlers have had good experiences with, I'd definitely love to hear.