Before I had Lily I loved nothing more than a 2 week holiday somewhere scorching! Where I could lounge around working on my tan, have a few cocktails and a dip in the pool then stay up late watching the cheesy entertainment. Once I found out I was pregnant I knew holidays of that type were pretty much out of the question from then on. However when it came to me and my husband getting married this year we couldn’t quite resist the lure of a honeymoon.
There was no question we would take Lily with us, so far I have only been away from her for one night which was my wedding night, so I definitely didn’t feel ready to leave her for a week. So we began looking for places to go that were child friendly, hot but not too hot, and still luxurious enough so that we would still feel like we were on our honeymoon. All this on a budget as well! We settled on a Thomson holiday as I liked the security of a well known and trusted holiday company, especially as our first holiday as a family. The resort was Holiday Village in Kos. I had been to Kos previously when I was a child and loved it so was excited to go back! Sure enough it was perfect in terms of temperature, as it’s an island you get a breeze but with the heat of the Mediterranean as well. This was great as I didn’t feel like it was ever too hot for Lily. Anyway, we had a really great time and here are some of my top tips:
1. Do not under estimate how many nappies you need to take. We ended up running short towards the end and had to ration them which wasn’t ideal. The amount of times you have to change nappies because they are in and out the pool, you need more than you think. We took a pack of 25 for the week thinking that would be fine at 5 a day but we really needed about 35. We also took 2 packs of swim nappies a total of 24 and that was about right.
2. Milk. If your little one has come off boob or formula and on to whole milk instead don’t bother buying it. We read up before we left and people had said the restaurants will fill up bottles for you from the bar. Sure enough the staff were so happy to help, they would make a fuss of Lily and hand over a whole carton of milk that we would keep in the fridge in our room. We had to use the UHT version rather than “proper” milk, but it did the job for the week. We did have a look in the local shop to see how much normal milk would be but it really was extortionate and we had already tried Lily on the UHT and she was happy, so we stuck with that.
3. Prepare your IPad/Tablet beforehand. Going abroad with young children means you spend most your evenings in the hotel room, that suited us fine and we weren’t bothered about missing out on the entertainment. However the TV in our room only had about 2 channels in English and in hindsight it would have been good to download a few programmes on BBC Iplayer beforehand. We also took a pack of cards and googled a load of games that we played which was fun and very competitive!
4. Mealtimes: the IPad is your friend. At home we don’t tend to eat with Lily. I make her dinner and then we eat once she’s gone to bed, so she’s not used to sitting at a table patiently with us whilst we all eat. Not only that but in a bustling all inclusive buffet the first couple of nights were really stressful with Lily wanting to get down and explore and run about. I couldn’t understand why our child was the only one misbehaving until I realised that so many families had taken an electronic device with them for entertainment. DS, tablet or IPad, so many children had them. So the next night we came to dinner armed with the iPad and Lily sat very happily eating and watching Peppa Pig on YouTube.
5. Visit the rep’s office to find inflatables. We inherited 2 lilos, a paddling pool and a bucket and spade. This saved us spending out and at the end of the week we passed ours on to other visitors to enjoy. The best find by far was the paddling pool. We would fill it up with pool water and Lily would play happily behind our sun loungers where we knew she was safe.
6. The plane. The flight to Kos was 4hours so we wanted to be prepared as we knew Lily was bound to refuse to sleep. We were entitled to three items of hand luggage, the changing bag and 2 others. Mine was packed with all the essentials such as passports and money. Whilst Joe’s we packed entirely with toys and entertainment for Lily. We packed 2 of her favourite teddies, a handful of her little toy Happyland figures, 3 new story books, a sticker book, colouring book and pencils and some plastercine. When on the plane we staggered each toy so that only when she was really bored of one did we move on to another. We also took it in turns to entertain her so the other got a bit of a break. The window also provided entertainment for a while looking at the clouds, and we ordered her a kids snack pack which worked well too.
7. Take a travel bottle of washing up liquid and washing powder. With Lily still using bottles and eating from plastic plates we took with us rather than the restaurant’s breakable plates we needed to wash things up daily. So I was really glad I packed a bottle of fairy liquid and a sponge. Luckily we had a kitchen sink but if not you I guess you could use the bathroom one. I also took some sterilising solution but as it was I didn’t bother using it. I also liked to freshen up our swimming bits by washing them in the bath with the washing powder, in the hot sun they all dried very quickly on the balcony. Especially for young children with sensitive skin it’s nice to wash the swimming bits thoroughly to get the chlorine out.
There are loads more tips I could go in to but those are my main ones. If you are undecided about booking a holiday abroad with little ones I would say just go for it. Looking back it was not really the relaxing honeymoon most people have and it had its stressful moments. But we made some amazing memories, we were swimming with Lily every day, watching the kids shows, trying amazing food. If we were at home we would have let everyday life just take over and it would have been like any other week off. I’m so glad that we bit the bullet and did it.