Traveling With Toddlers: Best Destinations

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The best family-friendly vacation spots are not confined to those destinations spelled with a
capital ‘Disney’. In fact, there are plenty of places in the USA and Canada with a great reputation for accommodating families and for providing fun activities for children, including toddlers.

For example, Minnesota has its Mall of America, including an indoor theme park with rides suitable for younger as well as older children – if a toddler needs to be accompanied, a chaperone can ride alongside free of charge. The park has wonderful eating establishments and shops, and little ones particularly enjoy meeting their favorite TV characters, including Dora and Diego, “in real life”!

If looking for all-inclusive vacations, why not head to Mexico and try out a family villa at Las Alamandas in Costalegre near Puerto Vallarta? Here is an eco-friendly beach, a 1500-acre nature sanctuary and the chance to stay in a luxury villa overlooking the Pacific Ocean, at an affordable price. Little ones will enjoy picnics on a private beach and horseback riding; older kids might want to try surfing or kayaking, and there are extensive leisure facilities.

Many European destinations are family-friendly, particularly those in Italy, Spain, Ireland, England and France. Try the children’s museum in Paris – La Cité des Enfants – which has a special activities area for kids aged two to seven years old. Handicapped or disabled children can access most areas.

Spain’s Costa del Sol is popular for all-inclusive vacations and as most toddlers love to pet animals the Nerja Donkey Sanctuary is well worth a visit. It’s home to a number of ‘retired’ animals, including pot-bellied pigs, as well as the friendly donkeys.

Traveling routines with toddlers

When on vacation with a toddler or two, as far as possible maintain normal schedules for eating,
sleeping and bathing. When a child is in an alien environment, these customary habits and activities help promote a sense of security.

Hang on to the stroller as part of vacation baggage for as long as possible – it’s great when adults want to take longer walks and the perfect place for junior to take a nap if needed. Remember that the whole pace of travelling with a child changes when they get too big to be wheeled about.

Passing the time

On planes and trains, always bring things to engage a toddler’s attention, especially on longer journeys.  Letting a little one run up and down corridors is not a great habit to foster. Instead, settle them into a window seat with non-messy drawing equipment and they will soon become absorbed. If possible, avoid electronic gizmos that make a lot of noise and have flashing lights, as these can become very irritating to fellow passengers.

Plan in advance

To avoid temper tantrums, it pays to anticipate when a toddler is going to become hungry – make sure food is already ordered in a restaurant by the time the hunger pangs hit. The same goes for the time when fun activities have to come to an end – use lots of verbal signals to indicate in good time before attempting to leave the park or the zoo.

With a little bit of advance planning and some judicious management, everyone will have a great
vacation, toddler chaperones included.

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