Well…we survived! Our first holiday as a family of three. It was BRILLIANT!! When we first booked the trip a lot of people told us we were mad, and if they didn’t actually say it – then we could see that they thought it from the look on their faces. But, we went ahead and did it. Just us three. Perfect.
We thought a lot about where to go, and although the idea of those long white sandy beaches on the Mexican coast were a lovely thought, we played it safe and booked our holiday to Alcudia, Majorca. We have been to this area before so we liked the idea of going somewhere that was familiar to us and that we knew was clean and friendly. Plus it was only just over a two hour flight!
The Majorcan people are known for their love of children and this was definitely true. Everywhere we went people would be smiling and chatting away to Freya, which was just so lovely and relaxing as we never felt like we couldn’t take her anywhere – especially into restaurants.
We booked to stay at the Zafiro Palace and we really could not fault it, it is perfect for families of all ages. There are four pools in total at this hotel, including a children’s pool with many slides (for different ages), a large pool with a ‘wet bubble’ in – which is basically an inflatable climbing area that you can then jump off back into the pool. In a few years time Freya would LOVE this! It looked like so much fun. Then there is a smaller, heated pool which is also set up for some lane swimming. And lastly – a very luxurious looking adults only pool surrounded by luxury day beds…which we obviously didn’t get to go in – gone are the days! But maybe in a few years…!
The restaurants were fantastic. Each day there was a variety of food in the help yourself area but we found the poolside restaurant with table service much better for us. The food was brilliant and the staff are all just so lovely and friendly. Freya is definitely enjoying her food nowadays but does end up throwing a lot of it either down herself or on the floor. But not once did any of the staff make us feel embarrassed, if anything they loved having the babies and children in their restaurants.
We went at a quieter time of year, the hotel was about 75% full, which for us was lovely as there was much more space and you never had trouble finding a sunbed.
Alcudia Beach is beautiful; so clean and the water is crystal clear. Freya absolutely loved the sea and was curious about the sand – trying to eat it obviously! One of my favourite times of the day was when we would wake up (about 7.30am, so 6.30am UK time). Steve would go off for a run and I would make up her morning bottle and walk down to the beach and we would sit on the sand and she would drink her morning milk. Then we would walk up and down the shoreline and she would watch the fish. It was a lovely time of day as only a few other people (mainly runners) would be on the beach and it was cool enough that I wouldn’t be worrying about the sun on Freya’s skin.
We opted for a quieter holiday as it was our first time away with Freya, we didn’t want to book onto lots of day trips and travelling around. Although for some I’m sure they would prefer this. There are lots of options for this if this is what you are looking for in a holiday. Next time I would like to hire a car so that we could go off exploring at our own pace, discover some different villages and restaurants. However this time, walks to the beach, wandering through the town and market stalls, and splashing in the pool, was perfect for us
Now that we are home, here are some tips that I wish I had known in hindsight….
- Make sure you know your luggage allowance and use it!
- Allow enough time to get to the airport – there is nothing worse than rushing or worrying if there is unexpected traffic on the way – especially when you have a little one to look after too.
- Wear suitable travel clothes and take a spare – for both of you! On take off, I don’t know wheteher it was the air pressure or not – but Freya had an accident that leaked through to me! Not an ideal start to the trip. SO a change of clothes would have been ideal here…I did not have one…!
- Take lots of snacks to entertain them.
- Ideally take a stroller that will lie flat – this is really useful for the evenings so that your little one can doze off and mum and dad can continue their evening!
- If you can and funds allow, book a taxi at the other end to take you to your hotel. We have previously booked onto coaches with multiple drop offs and been stuck on there with no air conditioning for hours, which we did not want to do with an eight month old. We booked through a brilliant company and they even organised to have a baby seat ready for us. Here is the link to their website.
- Inform the hotel ahead of time if you need a cotbed so that it is there when you arrive rather than having to then call down to reception and wait around for it to be set up etc
- Feed your little one (with milk – so a bottle or breastfeeding) on landing and take off as it helps to stop their ears from popping.
- Use a backpack for hand luggage – I have a shoulder strap bag and I found it really awkward as a lot of the time I was carrying Freya on one hip and had my bag on the other shoulder – often sliding off! Total nuisance. So a rucksack would have been much easier.
- If you are formula feeding then you need to use bottled water that has less than 200mg sodium in per litre. We took some instant formula bottles with us so that we had time to get to the shops and could use the instant whilst we found suitable bottled water. We then boiled it in the kettle that was in our room. Follow this link for more guidance on sodium and sulphate level guidance.
- For sterilising bottles – I had emailed the hotel and asked for a microwave to be in our room, which it was. So we took our microwave steriliser with us, and for space saving we packed it full of nappies or clothes on the flight over.
- We took Freya’s cotbed sheet that she had slept on at home for a few nights, so that it had her scent on. I don’t know whether this helped or not, but she did sleep well.
- Take lots of light coloured muslins to double up as light cover ups when they are in the pram – as her legs would be exposed a muslin was perfect as not too heavy that it would make her warm.
- Make a small, separate nappy change bag – we have a Pacapod changing bag which is ideal as you can take out the nappy change bag and strap it to the stroller handles – so much easier. If you don’t have a pacapod then make your own small bag with a portable changing matt in, wipes, nappies, nappy sacks and hand gel – as the airport toilets are horrid! You can then just take this small nappy change bag rather than hauling all of your hand luggage into the toilets with you.
- Invest in travel insurance – ours cost £13 for three of us and its peace of mind.
- Plan out milk and meals and extra to allow for delays, so you’re not worrying, as well as lots of snacks.
- If space allows, take lots of different toys to entertain them so there is always something new. Although if they are older easy games like ‘I Spy’ will keep them entertained.
- Milton wipes – for cleaning toys when you are out. Freya was constantly dropping toys and then putting them in her mouth so the wipes were really useful.
- Prepare for it to be a very different holiday from before. We had already talked about how we wouldn’t probably be sunbathing and making our way through the cocktail list – so at least we were prepared for our different holiday. But although it was less relaxing, it was brilliant!
I hope this has helped, especially if you were anxious to go away for the first time with your baby, you will have an amazing time and make memories to last a lifetime,