How to Travel with a Toddler

Too many tour companies claim to offer family travel experiences only to venture to their Carowindssite and learn that families must not consist of babies. I have a 14 month old and I want to travel the world. Where are all of the true family tour companies? Even Adventures by Disney, yep, that’s right, Disney!, has a minimum age of four. No wonder couples are putting off having children until later in life. Are we really that restricted when we have children? Are toddlers not considered part of “family travel”? Are there no other adventures parents out there that would like to bring their children to experience new countries and cultures? 

We recently went to Hard Rock Vallarta as a family. Athena loved playing in the pool, diningHard Rock Vallarta Staff in different restaurants, playing on the beach, and relaxing on the balcony. (At 14 months old, she likes to travel. She may look like her father, but it’s easy to tell that she’s Mommy’s girl.) I would consider Hard Rock Vallarta an excellent family location, especially since it’s all-inclusive. It takes a lot of the work out of travel. Darren and I even took turns riding the boogie boards, zipping down the water slide, and exploring the unlimited drink options that you’d expect to find at a Hard Rock Hotel. The Hard Rock was the ultimate playground for fun in paradise. The only down side of the resort was that the Kid’s Club was designed for kids ages 4-12. The only way Darren and I would have been able to participate in an activity together was if we brought a nanny with us. Who can afford to travel with a nanny? I don’t know what your family income is but I do know that we don’t fit in that category.

Blogging is my full time job. I don’t go to work; at least not your typical 9-5 job anyway. Hard Rock VallartaAthena still fits into the “lap child” age and I’d like to take her on a trip around the world as my 2014 bucket list, but I don’t even know where to begin. I’d love to hear your suggestions on the best countries, tour companies, or adventures for a parent and a toddler. 

I’ve recently been looking into Curacao as a travel option for Athena and I. With the Curaçao Seaquarium, the Dolphin Academy, the Ostrich Farm, family beaches, beautiful weather, and direct flights from Charlotte it could actually be a toddler-friendly country. I might check it out before the new year begins.

83% of American families plan to take at least one vacation with family members, including young children, this year. Why should that market be isolated? They should be embraced! I want to travel around the world with Athena and continue to show the world that we are only restricted by our own imagination.

Do you know of toddler-friendly countries or tour operators in other parts of the world? Please share them here and help make my 2014 bucket list dreams a reality. 

The more unrealistic we are with our dreams and goals the more we are able to achieve!

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102 thoughts on “How to Travel with a Toddler

  1. For years, parents have been demanding that the catch-all “family-friendly” rating be replaced by more meaningful classifications appropriate to the very different needs of children at different ages. It’s sad to learn that prejudice against young families is still so prevalent in the tourism sector.
    Fortunately, Europe has lots of great countries worth visiting with an established child-friendly culture which doesn’t merely accommodate or tolerate toddlers. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark and Greece are just a few places that come to mind.
    I haven’t got recent experience of this myself, but our own British Airways used to have a decent reputation for its options to assist parents travelling with small children.
    When my son was small we took several holidays abroad using coach, train or ferry, treating the journey as part of the experience – it was fun!

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    • Disney has some really great options, but they mostly start at age 4. Maybe when Athena gets a little older, I’ll look into them 🙂

      Where was your favorite place to visit with kids?

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  2. I was expecting to see a roll of duct tape when I opened this post. Just kidding, but having done some traveling decades ago with a toddler, I can say that’s how most places made me feel. But that was 21 years ago and I would hope that things have changed. I thinks it’s awesome that you’re putting around the world with Athena on next year’s list. I would guess there’s a general assumption, probably validated in most cases, that parents of toddlers are not going to be the customer for these destinations. Too bad, someone could make a good amount of money catering to that demographic.

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  3. Our daughter’s only 5 months, so I know nothing of official toddlers yet, but we did take her to Turkey last month. Everyone there was great about our travelling with a baby. From hotels, to restaurants, to local tour operators, everyone was very accommodating.

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      • Turkey, along with Cambodia, is one of my all-time favourite destinations. No tour operator was required – we turned up and people were friendly and happy to help. The hotels all have their own networks and will be happy to pass you over to a friend in another city who does what you want to do – they’ll call and organise, etc etc. But we also got help from people just out of the goodness of their hearts (and gifts of free tomatoes, etc).

        We flew in to one of the regional airport (near Ephesis – what’s it called?) so that helped. Istanbul will give you more of a big city reception. The south coast and Cappadoccia are dream destinations for any child (sailing anyone?) and in the shoulder season you may find you have a small group day tour all to yourself (or if not, they are often casual enough that you can do your own thing at the stops). The food would not be at all challenging for our kids – they love that kind of thing – and quite a few restaurants had the owner’s kids hanging out so you’d get the playmates built in to the bargain.

        The biggest drawbacks I see are a) changes in time zone. We like to stick within a few hours of our time zone for our kids. Also b) most of the travel was by long-distance bus which can be problematic for a child under, say, three or four (for the reliability of toilet training alone). You would have to research transport options carefully as I’m not sure what the expense/practicalities of a private hire vehicle would be.

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          • Yeah, I don’t know. I think safer outside the cities, but you’d want to check current travel advice (we went before all that started). It’s definitely a strike against with a young child so you’d have to do some careful research and weigh it against your alternatives.

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  4. We haven’t gone international with our little guy yet (22 months), but he’s been all around the country (U.S.), and we really haven’t run into a lot of issues. We’re not big on using tour companies though…explore more on our own. A friend of mine goes much further with her two boys in tow: http://www.walkingontravels.com At this point we do a lot of hiking together with Bergen walking on his own & in the backpack carrier, and like you, we also take turns when things get more adventurous.
    We’ve also found that hiring a babysitter for just a night or two during a trip opens up great opportunities for doing the “adult” things we crave. Much more cost effective than full-time care!
    BTW…your title is a little misleading–thought I was going to get tips! 😉

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  5. Actually I never thought about “family perfect” destinations. The first long-distance trip my son took with us was to Havana/Cuba 21 years ago when he was 2. We/I always took him with us/me, no matter to which destination – USA, Oman, UAE, everywhere in Europe. We Germans are travel champions. Many take a year off from work and go on a trip around the world with their children.

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    • Europeans, in general, seem to travel more frequently with children. Was your son content on the plane? Did you ever have a nightmare flight? Which country of the ones you visited would you say is the best for little children? I’d love to hear more of your first-hand experiences 🙂

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  6. I’m afraid there aren’t that many people willing to leave their 2 year old in the hands of strangers. First they need to speak the toddlers language, then toddlers can be difficult, and parents tend to have an if there’s something wrong with my kid it’s your fault attitude. It makes people weary of taking responsibility for them. The solution might actually be a grandparent! If they’re willing to travel with you, they make the perfect nanny! If not, then I’m afraid it might be child swap with you until 4. Ugh! It sucks! I know! Try traveling with 2 kids and only 1 adult… Complicated x 4, but very possible. Lesley, if you find the solution, let us all know!!!!

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    • Regardless of the difficulty, I’m determined to make it work. We already have a trip planned to Ottawa for Canada Day and then New Brunswick and Nova Scotia after that. Athena has traveled with me in the past and it’s worked out well but an around-the-world trip will require a different kind of planning. Stay tuned for the trail and error 😉

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  7. Pingback: How to Travel with a Toddler | Skipping Stars Productions LLC

  8. You should definitely consider Denmark. I’ve been living here for a year now and I find it very child friendly. You can travel very easily by public transport especially in Copenhagen. You see parents with babies in prams everywhere! They take their kids everywhere:-)

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    • Is public transport fairly reliable and frequent? I used public transit all my life but I worry about it with Athena, especially in unfamiliar places. would you say that I was being overly cautious or some I consider other ways?

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      • Yes Lesley. It’s very reliable and the frequency is good. Plus it’s child friendly in the sense that there are elevators everywhere to get into the metro and s-tog stations and there is special place to keep prams in both buses and trains.

        Denmark is a small country and Copenhagen – it’s capital a small city. So the travel time also tends to be short. Having visited Paris, Prague and Berlin with a 3-year old, I can safely say that Copenhagen’s public transport is way better and it’s more child friendly than these cities.

        And no, you aren’t being overly cautious at all…it just comes naturally with being a parent:-)

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  9. Aw Lesley, how exciting!
    Where to begin?! You can go anywhere – only limit is your imagination and I know that’s not a problem for you! There is a serious lack of tour companies catering for adventure travel. We were a little disappointed with that but looking back, not needed! You won’t find many places where people don’t welcome toddlers a d young children but your main considerations are how much you’re planning to spend for a RTW trip and how much tolerance you and she have for a tropical climate. Seriously too hot toddlers can be really draining, especially with itchy mosquito bites! How long are you thinking of? A good option might be along these lines – South Pacific (amazing friendly people – you know this from your Fiji trip) – New Zealand (we had a fab road trip here when Ben was 18 months old – great adventure – good hiking, beaches etc. But make sure Athena understands you’re attached to a Bungy cord before she sees you jump off a bridge – We didn’t and I think B might still be traumatised from it!) – Australia (some parts more suitable than others for toddlers) – SE Asia (very very child friendly, especially Thailand) and stops in Europe on the way back?
    I recommend making the most of Athena being small enough to be carried while you trek as once she’s bigger she’ll be too heavy and too keen to keep getting out!
    Right now is a fantastic opportunity while she’s little and along with the free flights and free almost anything else, its actually a fab time to travel the world:)
    You’ve got me thinking. I am impressed to see a few other round the world families travelling with toddlers and they all do well. I’m going to think about a blog of my own on this and perhaps include some input from some of them! Maybe theres a top 10 coming on! South America is a possibility but you need to choose destinations carefully – i wohldnt take her ip the Amazkn on a cargo boat, but some of our Chile and Argentina destinations would be good. Galapagos maybe.
    You get used to checking ‘policies’ on sites like booking.com for the section on children to tell you if rooms include a cot etc…. it usually doesn’t pay to choose hostels (though there are exceptions) and several don’t accept kids – one in Queenstown made me laugh ”we welcome all children over 18” was their child-friendly policy!

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    • Living in North Carolina we understand hot and we’re starting to learn ways to deal but that’s a good thing to think about when planning dates.

      New Zealand and Australia are definitely being considered but I don’t think I’ll go to any countries that I’ve already visited like Fiji, although it is very child-friendly.

      Did your child think you were actually jumping off the bridge? How funny and terrible at the same time. I can’t imagine the expression on his face!

      Thailand is a must and it seems to be highly recommended by everyone.

      I’m not sure how much of Europe I will visit because I’ve been to many of the countries but Europeans in general seem to enjoy traveling and children are a part of it rather than a hindrance. I love that part of their way of life.

      I agree that it’s a fabulous time to travel with her and I want to make the most of every day!

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply; I hope you’re having a fantastic weekend.

      Do you have any up-coming travel plans?

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  10. We’ve had the same problem. I want to bring our son (now 2.5) everywhere, but my husband believes he’s too young to bring most places. Our most successful destinations have been ones where we can rent a house or apt as a home base, and then go out for the day… by strange coinicidence, I’ve been looking at Curacao for our March Break in 2014, looks super kid friendly.

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      • I thought the exact same thing about the activities! We’re going for a short mini-break just the two of us this summer, but with a view to returning for our first major family adventure in 2014 (we’ve travelled with our son but only in Canada and the US, and only with other family). The Lonely Planet ( http://www.lonelyplanet.com/aruba-bonaire-and-curacao/curacao/hotels/rated ) lists a bunch of budget hotels and upscale hostels which is probably what we’ll do. We sprung for the ebook which has much better info than the website.

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    • Hi there,

      We have a trip to Curacao booked for September with our (will be) 14 month old son. This will be our first flight with him, so I’m nervous but optimistic. We’re staying at the Renaissance Curacao, which has a man made beach so we don’t have to worry about baby being swept out to sea (he loves the water a bit much). We don’t have any set plans because I want to stay flexible, but they have so many things for kids to do. I know he will be quite happy with being able to touch live animals and sea creatures at the Ostrich Farm and Sea Aquarium. Apparently, Willemstad streets are stroller friendly if you use one, and it’s a very safe place. The only thing I did plan is transportation to from the airport. I wanted to make sure we had a taxi with seat belts for the carseat. Not comfortable without him in the car seat and not all taxis have seat belts. I’m very excited and will have to report back on how it goes.

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  11. Try babyfriendlyboltholes.co.uk for some inspiration. Also, most of Europe is family friendly. We’ve travelled around the US, Istanbul, Switzerland and the UK so far with our now-15 month old. Most recently in Scotland (Isles of Skye and Mull) and haven’t had a bad experience yet. Istanbul definitely seemed most child-friendly, with some restaurants even having soft-play areas for the little ones.
    We love taking our guy with us and he’s been a brilliant traveller and we haven’t felt limited with where we go or explore. Iceland may be next for us…or Italy. But first camping in Norfolk, UK.
    Good luck with your travels!

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  12. I’m not brave enough to even try a trip like that with a toddler. I suppose most companies neither want the liability or responsibility of caring for a very young child. I would suspect they also fear other travellers would not appreciate young children being around quite as much as you do. I would probably have a friend or family member go along to help out if at all possible.

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    • Athena is a pleasant child, never complains, loves to fly, and is completely ok with being in a vehicle for extended periods of time. Actually, we drove across the country with her and she was perfect. I’d think that most 4 years old wouldn’t travel much better, yet they have lots of options for that age range. I’ve already flown with her on my own a number of times. I’ll test things out with more local, meaning Canada, trips before over night flights but I’m going to keep positive about it until I experience otherwise. Our recent trip to Mexico was a several hour flight with stop overs and she did great.

      Although I’d like to travel with my husband or a friend, that’s not always an option. I still want to explore the world and have new, unique experiences; I just want to do it with Athena at my side. 🙂

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      • Overnight flights are the easy part. For a child between 1 and 2 years, they are my first choice (but I don’t have children who would easily sit still at that age). You just have to have a recovery plan (make yourselves an opportunity to rest up beforehand and on the first day afterwards).

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        • Sounds like reasonable advice. That’s the part I struggle with the most. Before, I would go, go, go during vacation/travel, but I realize I need a different pace now. What was your favorite family-friendly location so far?

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          • Cambodia (see comment below 🙂 ). But from your starting point you run into a lengthy flight and some time zone issues.

            I’m writing up what we’ve learnt about pacing our family holidays (I think of it more as balancing the holiday) – it’s going to end up being a short series. Maybe something in there to think about, although you have to tailor it to your group. Some of the tricks we use require there to be more than one adult. But the handy part about having travel experience behind you is you know more about what you’re like on the road.

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    • With only one child that thoroughly enjoys travelling the only issue I see is child care. I don’t know of many places here in the US that would restrict you from bringing toddlers. Maybe you could form a travelling Mommy co-op of some sort and either travel with someone in the same situation or meet ups at your destinations? It seems to be a neglected niche.

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  13. Cambodia is the most toddler-friendly destination we’ve hit so far. But I’ve also written up trips to bits of Australia, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, India, The Philippines, and Myanmar are all on our list of places to take our kids next, but we’re not locked in yet. I think that with the right approach, any destination can be a family destination.

    Toddlers are hard to package up and they don’t go well on group tours so I think that’s where the travel companies neglect them, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be done – it just means you need to organise something yourself.

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  14. What I can’t recommend is putting a two year old in a backpack, climbing up the side of an active volcano, standing on the rim and watching the lava bubble and pop down below. Actually that bit was okay. What he wasn’t so keen on were the loud explosions accompanied by huge boulders being blasted into the sky. Still, it can’t have been too bad as he is now 19 and reasonably stable mentally, apart from his unfathomable desire to climb Mt. Everest. For the record the volcano was Mt. Yasur on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu.

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  15. I can understand why there is little to no tourism aimed at families with toddlers. We have a two year old and we almost never travel with him because it seems like a waste since there are so many activities he does not want to do. Also there is the limitation on restaurants, not all are child friendly, and napping can be a hindrance. We went to the beach recently and realized he dislikes sand. We tried to bend him to our will and spend some time on the beach but it was an effort in futility because it was a miserable time for everyone. Toddlers are too young to remember or appreciate travel and tourism and we are too poor and too tired to go on trips just for the sake of traveling. We go to Turkey every year to visit my husbands family and it is so stressful, especially the flight. I have learned that on long flights, 10 plus hours, you don’t want to hold your toddler on your lap and they don’t want that either. It is also more difficult to be flexible as air travel requires. A canceled flight and subsequent ten hour layover is a major bump in the road with a two year old in tow. You can’t sleep at the airport because your child might wander off, etc. Another issue with traveling abroad is strollers. I know in Istanbul, outside Sultanhamet tourist areas, there are many sidewalks that a stroller can’t go down or there is no ramp on and off the sidewalk at street crossings, etc. A jet lagged child is also not awesome. Maybe I’m a bit of a nay sayer on traveling with a toddler because I did a lot of world traveling before my son and I will do it after he is a bit older, easier to manage and recognizes the value of the travel. My tip is do not plan a transoceanic flight with a toddler on your lap. The airline does not always kindly give you a free empty seat for your child and many travelers on those long flights are not nice about the presence of a toddler.

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    • The thing is not all children dislike travel. Our 6 hour flight to Mexico was fine with Athena and I fly to eastern Canada, which is always a full day of flying, with her regularly. She’s happy to be in a carrier and I don’t mind hiking with her that way. In vehicles, she’s content and always watches out the window to see new things. We drove across the country with her and she was happier than we were. It should be up to the parent to make the right choice about traveling with children and not just because there are no options. Lots of countries see travel as a way of life, like the comment from our German friend above, and children are not looked at as a hindrance. I guess I’m just searching for countries like that.

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  16. I think the age minimums have a lot to do with potty training. I think the logic is if your kid isn’t potty trained, then he or she is not ready to go be part of some supervised children’s play club while the parents get a break (unless it is a daycare center which I guess is another story). Employees don’t want to be responsible for cleaning up after kids and probably want to avoid sexual harassment lawsuits (as a former teacher you probably have knowledge of this. As a former camp counselor, we were trained in this kind of thing too.).

    And it depends on the child. Athena seems like a great traveler–other children are not the case. My parents traveled with me and my sister to France several times before I hit the age of 4 but we had relatives willing to help out abroad. I apparently did not take kindly to jet lag and did not like to sleep anywhere that was not my bed at home, but we were pretty good on flights. Of course I don’t remember any of the earlier trips before the age of 3-4. I’m glad my parents held off on the more exotic stuff in France until I got older (visiting castles, going to Euro Disney, going up the Eiffel Tower) because I wouldn’t have remembered any of it as a baby or appreciated it!

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    • I understand the potty trained part. Maybe that’s something Athena and I need to work on 😉

      I know that Athena will not remember these trips, but to be completely honest, they are not about her remembering them at this point. I’d just like to continue seeing the world and experiencing new countries and cultures and have her at my side. Most people would say that’s selfish, but I’m not neglecting her or making her unhappy or unhealthy. She loves playing in the pool at any resort (if it’s available) and she’s actually pretty happy on an airplane. She smiles at everyone that walks by and she usually sleeps on take-off and arrival. We pack her walking shoes and she explores the airport, thoroughly, between flights. She loves when she gets to sleep in the bed with me at a hotel and it doesn’t disrupt our routine when we return home. She’s seeing new things and having new experiences all the time. I see that as a positive 🙂

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      • Oh yes, good suggestion for South Africa – we visited when the kids were 4, 2 and 7 weeks! A week in a fab apartment in Cape Town, wandered amongst penguins at Boulders beach, saw emu’s everywhere, spent a few days in the wine region – we chose wineries with play facilities and had a luxury lunch whilst two kids played and little one slept! Bridgebuilder is so right, we were very welcome everywhere. We also had a fab couple of nights in a small man made game reserve near the wine region where they provided a lovely lady to care for our baby for a couple of hours (I left her with expressed milk bottles) whilst the four of us went on dusk and dawn game drives – our two year old was very welcome though I do recall having to laugh when she wanted a pee and we were in the middle of a herd of rhinos – she couldn’t understand why she couldn’t get out and just go behind a tree!

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  17. We have done a bit of travelling with our children. We have done the U.K.(London, Liverpool, Wales, Lake District, Derbyshire, etc.) twice with babies and toddlers plus done the typical California and Florida trips a few times each (again with kids).

    We have done a lot of research regarding other European cities and countries (my husband and I have travelled to most of them before children) but accommodation is a problem for a family of our size, especially as we are not interested in having to rent a house for a week at a time; the most we like to spend in one place is 2 or 3 days.

    Since having our 5th child we have taken to long haul driving vacations rather than flying. We never use tour operator and we can’t book online because there are too many of us, so everything booked requires a phone call.

    Even our last experience booking a Disney resort in Florida was a disaster……well booking went fine but when we showed up with 4 children after a 6 hour flight and they didn’t have the room promised it did not go well; we were left waiting for hours, roomless, in Florida, while they scrambled to eventually find us a room at one of their other resort hotels.

    A little over a year ago we did a whistle stop driving vacation with the 5 children where we did 5000km in 9 days and fit in Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Utah, Yellowstone, Lake Havasu, rural Montana, etc.

    Travelling with toddlers is one thing, trying to find accommodation while travelling with a family of seven is a whole different challenge and severely limits your options. Our solution was we ended up buying two places so that we could go away at a moments notice and not have the hassle of “we have kids” or “there are too many of us”. One place is a rural cabin in Alberta (2.5 hours from home) while the other is a house in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia (1152 km from home). The rural cabin is within a 3 hours drive of Edmonton,AB and Jasper,AB giving us both city options and mountain options for activities. The trip to the Gulf Islands we try to do every 6 – 8 weeks, it allows for a lot of exploring en-route including Vancouver, Victoria, the Okanagan and the Rockies. On the island we are able to kayak, disc golf, golf and hike. We end up doing things like golf and kayaking taking turns, one with the younger kids and one doing the activity . Now we stay constantly packed as there is only a rare week or weekend, April to October, that we are not travelling.

    http://www.htheblog.wordpress.com has a few cabin outings described in the posts.
    http://www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com is all about our time and experiences in the Gulf Islands.

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  18. Hi Lesley, come to South Africa!!! Absolutely child-friendly everywhere, there are thousands of amazing destinations to discover. Check at http://www.christianevheerden.wordpress.com … Adventures in convenience. Every place has budget accomodation as in self-catering chalets which I find ideal for my family of a 1 year and a 4 year old. When we just had the one, I preferred to comfort of a B&B … Here you can walk with elephants and lions, touch them actually and my kids have done all that at 1 year old. The nice thing: civilization and the wild are really close together, in case you are on a game drive and forgot formula, the next supermarket is never too far! And the people all go crazy over kids. We are planning to go to Germany this summer and already I am stressing, because growing up here, my kids think all adults tolerate noise really well!

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  19. We drove to Panama with our 4 month old daughter 37 years ago. At that time Mexico and Central America were so family friendly. We drove home six months later and coming and going our daughter was a great traveler. We had seven more kids and we never let them become an excuse for not traveling. We couldn’t afford a nanny and travel, but we enjoyed (nearly) every minute of it!.

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  20. Try Italy! Or the Middle East. Or Greece. That said, I traveled extensively with my kids from when they were little…all over the US and then Europe. Planning travel for little ones under 5 (let’s be honest, they aren’t going to remember much) is finding a way to do what you want to do in a way that won’t make you pull your hair out. We did it by renting flats and houses instead of staying in hotels, adjusting how much we could see in a day, and upping our wine consumption. The tiny one was 9 months and the older two were 6 and 5 when we moved overseas. Honestly, just live overseas. It’s more efficient for travel :p

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  21. Hi Lesley!

    I really enjoy your writing! Here’s a question somewhat related to this post. I turn 50 next year and I want to take a ‘bucket list’ type trip. Our daughter will be 11 – far from a toddler, but a kid just the same. Any suggestions for a destination (outside the U.S.) that would be exciting for 50 year old parents and an 11 year old kid? My thanks in advance!

    John

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        • I recently went to Aruba and loved every aspect of it! They have culture, history, adventure, and spectacular beaches. On Thursday night, they have the Carubbian Festival – similar to a mini Mardi Gras. They have SNUBA – similar to scuba but you don’t need to certified. I heard that you can rent a house on the beach for really cheap too! You can rent a car and drive the entire country because it’s so small. I think this is a great option for both you and your daughter. Curacao, which I haven’t been to yet, also seems like an excellent choice. (That’s why I’m considering it as a trip for Athena and I in the next few months.)

          If you’d prefer Europe, I have tons of suggestions there too. Or if these are not what you had in mind, let me know and I’ll continue to suggest places until we find a fit. I love this 🙂

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  22. Just pick a place you want to go, if mommy’s happy, your little girl we be as well. We took our little girl (now 2,5 years old) already on skiing trips to Switserland, weekendbreaks to Belgium, a numerous amount of daytrips within our own country the Netherlands, went backpacking in Thailand and in a few days I’ll take her to Spain where her daddy has to attend an conference. But to go short, I’m an Asiaholic, so I would suggest – go to Asia! Questions, remarks, feel free to contact me. Greetings, Eva

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    • I love your positive attitude Eva! I’m actually looking into Thailand now 🙂 I do have tons of questions and I will keep you in mind over the next couple weeks of planning. Wonderful!

      Have a great day and I’ll be in touch,

      Lesley

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      • Hi Lesley, you’re welcome. Have fun with your Bucket List. By the way if you love Hard Rock hotel, we took are little one to the HR hotel in Pattaya, Thailand, big fun for the big ones and our mini rock star as well

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  23. As someone has already commented, travelling with little kids in southern Europe, especially here in Spain, is relatively easy as they’re very welcoming to children, who are tolerated happily, and often adored. A new company called Globetotting caters to more exotic destinations like India.

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  24. You should check Club Med, we went to Ixtapa, Mexico when my son was 10 months old and had a great time. Their baby club starts as early as 4 months old and they have PJ club. If you are able to go during low peak period, you can get very good prices. Hope this help!

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  25. Did you find it difficult to travel with a toddler? Athena has been pleasant so far but I’m waiting for the dreaded moment. It seems like there are both positives and negatives, as with everything 🙂

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  26. Hi Lesley

    Great post! I also had problems finding a reliable source for family holiday recommendations (beyond Europe & America) and so decided to set up my own business and co-founded globetotting.com. globetotting aims to find the best hotels and holidays for families (with children of all ages) in some of the world’s most exciting and beautiful locations. It presently covers India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia and will be expanding to include other destinations in Asia and the rest of the world soon. We are not a travel agent, but a travel guide and referral site, all booking enquiries are sent directly to our recommended hotels & tour operators.

    In our blog section we have a series called ‘My Family Travel’ (http://globetotting.com/blog-tags/my-family-holiday) in which families share their holiday experiences with us, many of which have travelled with babies. To date these stories include a skiing holiday in the Himalayas (with children aged 4 & 2 years and 6 weeks!); trekking in Nepal (with children aged 5 & 2 years); Celebrating the colourful Holi festival in India (kids aged 5 & 3 years); enjoying a Rajasthani music festival in Jodhpur, India (kids 6 & 4); visiting the crazy Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan, India (7 & 5 years); releasing baby turtles back into the ocean, Sri Lanka (4 & 2 years); a road trip to Leh, Kashmir, India (children ranging from 2 to 8 years); taking a houseboat cruise in the Keralan backwaters, India (3 & 1). Next post will be about Thailand!

    If you would like to be kept up to date with globetotting stories you can follow us on https://www.facebook.com/globetotting or subscribe to our newsletter via our website.

    I hope you don’t mind the self-promotion but I thought you might find these stories inspirational. Do let us know where you decide to go. We’d love to have you write a blog post for us afterwards!

    Best wishes

    Victoria

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  27. I travelled the world with my kids when they were 11 and 13, what I noticed is that outside the western cultures, other countries are all up for embracing your children and helping you in any way they can.
    Fiji is a great place to start…

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  28. Or Tenerife – they have a dolphin show and a dolphin experience down south at Aqualand if you want to get involved. Also the boat trips whale watching out onto the waters surrounding the south of the island are amazing and you can travel further north to the zoo. http://www.loroparque.com/ A trip up Mount Teide on the cable car could be a great idea. There are plenty of good quality hotels or you could do as we did and rent an apartment, which allows for more freedom. But one thing you need to know is that Tenerife has lots of big hills!!

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  29. I had been thinking about posting something about travelling with young children myself. We were enlightened to the difficulties of travel with an infant last month. Our son is 20 months old. While he is big for his age, he still needs assistance and child safety restraints in vehicles. It certainly makes it difficult. I don’t have any information on infant friendly places to visit, but I do hope that they are out there. We would like to travel with our son again, but there will need to be a lot of research done beforehand.

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  30. People always tell my wife and I, “Travel while you’re young, while you still don’t have kids!” We always think it’s the oddest thing. Why would you not travel with the kids?! I say, Travel always, and always take the kids! Thanks for sharing! Great blog.

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  31. Recently back from a trip to Greece with our 33 month old. It was great (despite my apprehensions) It was a blast and I cant wait to do more travelling with her.
    She is a fussy high need kid – so please dont think I was doing this with one of those lais back easy going kiddies. NOT AT ALL.
    Greece was amazing for kids – full of frozen yogurt and the people wanting to feed, laugh, smile and play with my little one. HIGH recommend. Great blog for sure – cant wait to post my travel adventure x

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  32. On my plane trip home from Italy there were a few toddlers on the plane and they were better behaved then some of the adults. Part of the problem seems to be the different parenting styles today. When I was a kid we all knew what the rules were for interactions with others especially other adults. However, some styles seem to indicate that someone else is responsible for your child’s behavior and that has created discord for other parents.
    Perhaps the answer is trips, planes and resorts specifically for families with children who want to spend time with their children on vacation.
    If there is a nanny, it would seem the child would be on vacation with them.
    I still enjoy traveling and vacationing with my sons but there are 8 and 11 now and soon they will want to travel without their parents. Lol!

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  33. Thank you for writing this. I can’t tell you how much this drives me crazy. I also have been traveling since my son was young and constantly ran into this problem. And now that my son is 6 months from the magic age of 4 for my kids clubs I have a 1 year old! I’m planning a trip to Argentina now. If you can recommend and tour companies or activities in the glaciers that will allow our two young ones please let me know.

    Also in your around the world trip you must hit India. Its very family friendly (everyone loves babies there) and there is amazing sights to see and adventures to have. Good luck!

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  34. i want to take my kids, when i have them, everywhere. i want them to grow up knowing that the world is bigger than our house and that there are people all over in all different types of living situations. so…its awesome that you are traveling. upward and onward.

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  35. Not a destination suggestion but a airline suggestion – Air New Zealand. They still call for and get those travelling with children to board first, often before those in the more expensive seats!

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  36. Tots to Travel (totstotravel.co.uk) is a brilliant site for tot friendly holidays and they cover a great range of destinations. All of their destinations are checked and tested to make sure they really up to scratch. Wendy Shand set up Tots to Travel after a bad experience on holiday with her two year old son and she was frustrated by the safety issues in holiday accommodation.

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