Going on holiday with a child is a joy – but entertaining the kids means that parents often don’t get a real break.
The good news is that holiday operators are increasingly savvy in providing childcare options to fit in with family needs. We round up the solutions on offer, and compare the merits.
If your baby isn’t on the move yet, then babysitting services is top of your list. The majority of hotels provide babysitting, either in-house or through a partner service. It’s not always necessary to book, but services do get busy.
Baby listening services are a cheaper (usually free) option. Here, hotel receptionists will listen in on your baby through an intercom while you relax downstairs over dinner – and call you if they wake up.
For toddler wranglers, the holiday crèche is a great way to get some peace while your child is entertained/exhausted elsewhere.
The age from which your child can use crèches varies. Cruise crèches tend to start from two years old; beach club and resort crèches start from anywhere from birth.
Crèche time can be a few hours to full days or evening sessions, and you generally pay a modest charge – First Choice Holidays’ crèches, for example, start from £9 for a two-hour session.
Children’s clubs are one good reason to explore larger hotel/resort family holidays (you can always try that sophisticated Moroccan riad at a later date!). Kids Clubs usually start from two/three years old up to teens. Use is often included in the holiday price, and facilities are excellent.
These can include anything from toys and story time, to arts and crafts, sports and early evening social events/discos for older children.
At first look, a luxurious option, but for a larger family a travelling nanny can be a relaxing solution, and if you nanny share, a cost-effective one too.
A holiday nanny from an agency such as My Travelling Nanny starts from around £270 a week, with their traveling costs on top of that.
Some tour operators can also organise a nanny at your destination for around £50-60 a day – comparing well with full-time crèche use at resorts, averaging £250 a week.
A relatively new trend is villas or apartments that have an operator-run crèche – try Simply Travel or Crystal Holidays, two pioneers of this idea.
Care is half- or full-day and the crèche is away from your villa so child and parent can have their own holiday without being on top of each other.
Small ratios of nannies to children means care provision is high, but again you’ll have to book well in advance.
Another increasingly popular travel style is the “three generational holiday” or “gramping”, where grandparents join mums and dads to help share the childcare.
Recognising this, forward-thinking operators now offer discounts for grandparents travelling with their children and grandchildren.
If you want to pare cost to the bone, Keycamp and Canvas Holidays offer free places on selected dates for grandparents and additional family members.