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Young children are pretty wild travel companions, so as a parent it can often be beneficial to choose a destination that meets your needs as a family. In summary: not far, lots of interesting things to do for the little ones and some good family dining options.
A big analysis of more than 200,000 Trip Advisor reviews from parents who vacationed with their young children in the last year has brought to light some pretty fascinating findings about the best places to go.
The analysis, carried out by British Airways, revealed that Krakow in Poland is the top holiday destination for British parents traveling with young children, scoring 99 out of 100. and activities and attractions.)
In addition to its rich historical heritage, Krakow also offers much for parents with young children to enjoy, including the Energylandia theme park and History Land, which is an interactive museum that uses LEGO and virtual reality to tell stories about Polish history.
In what will be good news for parents who want to avoid long flights with their young children at all costs, eight of the top 10 destinations are in Europe.
For the braver (see also: richer) folks among us, Dubai and New York also made the cut.
Holiday destinations for young children
1. Krakow, Poland
Krakow Old Town, Poland.
Return flights in March from £28 per person.
2. Lisbon, Portugal
Return flights in March from £33 per person.
3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Return flights in March from £369 per person.
4. New York, USA
Street performers dressed as the Statue of Liberty in New York
Return flights in March from £247 per person.
5. Madeira, Portugal
Return flights in March from £62 per person.
Playa de las Americas, Tenerife.
Return flights in March from £74 per person.
Return flights in March from £95 per person.
8. Lanzarote, Spain
Papagayo Beach, Lanzarote.
Return flights in March from £45 per person.
9. Barcelona, Spain
Return flights in March from £30 per person.
10. Alicante, Spain
Return flights in March from £26 per person.
Tips for traveling with small children
British Airways travel experts also shared their top tips for traveling with young children: from making sure you pack all the medicine you need to remembering to add your child to your travel insurance, here’s what you need to know.
1. Research the destination
When researching your getaway, find out what attractions, family activities, and restaurants are available there. Don’t forget to check the amenities at the resorts: do they have playgrounds or pool areas just for the little ones?
Remember to also check how safe your destination is. Take a look at the UK Government’s travel advice website, and don’t forget to check out country guides and travel blogs in the area you’re interested in.
2. Medicine and hydration
Young children are more likely to be exposed to illness during travel due to their tendency to explore with their hands and mouths.
Packing a first aid kit is essential. Keeping your little one hydrated and making sure his nasal passages are clear with a saline nasal spray will also help him avoid severe colds that are easily spread on public transportation.
Also be sure to ask your GP for a doctor’s note or letter if your child is prescribed any medication, especially for fluids larger than 100ml.
3. Vaccines and visas
Make sure your young child is up to date with recommended vaccinations and ask your doctor if additional vaccinations are required for the destination you plan to visit.
You may also need a visa to enter some countries. Generally, the visa process is the same for parents and children. You will need to fill out a questionnaire and pay a fee.
Many countries require a tourist visa, so if you do not submit the documentation on time, you may be turned away.
4. Remember to add your child to travel insurance and loyalty clubs
Don’t forget to add your child to any extras, like travel insurance policies and airline loyalty programs, when planning your vacation.
Purchasing travel insurance is not required, but highly recommended, as it can help protect you and your family if a problem arises abroad. You can add your child to an existing policy or cover the whole family with one family policy.
5. Think about nap time
You’ll want to schedule your activities around your child’s naps to minimize disruption to your routine when you’re on vacation.
Every time you take your toddler out, stroller shades will help them sleep more comfortably throughout the day.
Nap times differ from meal times and it is common for restaurants in certain countries, such as Italy, to only be open between noon and 2 p.m. adapt to your new routine.
6. Check if your rental car includes a car seat
It is important to reserve a car seat in advance if you plan to add it as an extra upon arrival, otherwise you run the risk of none being available.
When renting a car seat is not possible, you may need to purchase a lightweight, easy-to-carry car seat. It is better if the seat can also be used on an airplane.
7. Is your destination better suited to a buggy or a luggage rack?
You should consider whether your destination is suitable for buggy users before traveling abroad. More historic destinations, such as Krakow or Venice, may be more suitable for using a baby carrier or shoulder bag to navigate their narrow streets with your child. Some parents of older children swear by products like TushBaby.
Research your destination and the quality of your public transport and compare it with your itinerary to decide what will be the best mode of transport for your young children.
8. Take your home comforts and entertainment with you
Young children want to explore and will let you know when they are not happy. At the same time, they can easily be overwhelmed by crowds, loud noise, and a more general change in routine, three inevitable characteristics of a vacation.
Every parent will know what works best to soothe their children at home, so be sure to take the same items and practices abroad to comfort your child with familiarity.
Whether you’re waiting for your flight, on the plane, or relaxing by the pool, you’ll need to keep your toddler distracted and entertained for much of your trip. Make sure you have entertainment options on hand so they don’t get too bored or restless at this time.
For those who forget to pack toys and games, most airlines and hotels offer children’s entertainment packages and television channels with children’s cartoons and movies.