Croatia Part II – 10 Steps to A Stress-free Family Holiday

Croatia Part II – 10 Steps to A Stress-free Family Holiday

 

Travelling with toddlers...they find every little nook and cranny
Travelling with toddlers…they find every little nook and cranny. Walking the City Wall in Old Town Dubrovnik.
While I was writing my post up on Croatia last week (go check it out!), I realised that we fell into a little routine really quickly while we were there, and it seemed to really work for us.

Lex loves to look at cats while they laze in the shade
Lex loves to look at cats while they laze in the shade

 

Now I must say, it’s all very much trial and error (perhaps still 50/50 at this stage), but I thought I’d share some tips with you, given that peak holiday season is upon us.

 

We underestimated the steps in Dubrovnik Old Town
We underestimated the steps in Dubrovnik Old Town

 

While we only have one bubba (I’ll look back on these days and think it was a breeze – I know!), it can still be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be, some simple, practical adaptations to your holiday can make it enjoyable and suit everyone. So it’s not all about the bubba and it’s not all about you, it’s achieving the fine balance.

Setting off around Dubrovnik Old Town City Wall
Setting off around Dubrovnik Old Town City Wall
 

10 Steps To Achieving A Balance
1. Buy a Clip On Fan
First of all, if travelling anywhere hot, you need this fan:
http://www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/dreambaby-clip-on-fan-d3590.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsbrloJOT1QIVzbvtCh3mQwxtEAQYASABEgJeJfD_BwE
Dramatic as it sounds, I’m pretty sure it’s kept Lex alive in the most intense heat. The best thing is it’s so inexpensive and light. Just make sure you take plenty of batteries with you.

Our home from home with AirBnB
Our home from home with AirBnB

 

2. Stay with AirBnb.

We were tempted by grand hotels but really nothing beats the freedom, flexibility and local experience that an AirBnb accommodation can offer you. We did AirBnb even before Lex came along, but now it’s a dead cert.

 

Lunch time tipple while enjoying the swings in the bar
Lunch time tipple while enjoying the swings in the bar

3. Mind over matter.

 

Adopt a can-do attitude, it’s your holiday so relax (alcohol might help here!). It’s easy to get worked up about things, but actually just putting your head on the shelf and getting on with it, you realise it’s not so bad. We trekked around the city wall in the midday heat with a toddler, and yes we did get lots of crazy looks, and yes I probably wouldn’t do it again. But we ran out of time to do it, so just got on with it.

 

4. Research before you go

 

If it puts your mind at rest do some research. My research doesn’t go much further than a bit of Pinterest and Google Image searching. Some Mamas I know take to forums and review sites. Go for it, go armed and prepared. I might’ve taken our LittleLife backpack had I know about all the steps.

A refreshment stop while walking The City Wall, Dubrovnik
A refreshment stop while walking The City Wall, Dubrovnik

5. Wake up before everyone else

 

If your family are early risers set off and explore before the tourists or locals flood the place. And if they’re not, go yourself, leave them behind and discover new places. A gentle morning stroll or morning run will expose your destination in a completely different light. My runs turned out to be some of my favourite moments of the holiday; a bit of me time and stumbling upon the most beautiful places. Later that day I would take the family back and we’d enjoy a meal, drink or view in that special spot I had found.

Enjoying a chilled refreshment while Lex slept
Enjoying a chilled refreshment while Lex slept

 

6. Keep it balanced

 

Do things you want to do aswell as things the kids want to do. It’s a good discipline and means you all get what you need from the holiday. We would explore places in the morning, have lunch and then Lex would nap. Following nap it was fun times for Lex to have fun by the pool. So everyone was happy.

 

A spot of lunch
A spot of lunch

 

7. Make lunch the main meal of the day

 

By dinner kids are ratty, parents are tired, everyone is hot and bothered from the day. If you can cook light at home do. Make lunch your main meal of the day. We found a good restaurant everyday and made a big deal of it, enjoying a big lunch for a couple of hours with good wine, while Lex pottered about, ate, and generally wore himself out ready for nap time.

We decided to venture out to an upmarket restaurant one evening and booked ahead. It could’ve gone one of two ways but Lex pulled it out the bag – he was so well behaved and we had an amazing time. However, I wouldn’t do this every night. I’d rather have one spectacular evening than a few okay nights out with tetchy toddlers to pacify.

Lex rocking his evening outfit in Dubrovnik Old Town
Lex rocking his evening outfit in Dubrovnik Old Town
Having our food dished up infront of us along with a harpist was the perfect entertainment
Having our food dished up infront of us along with a harpist was the perfect toddler entertainment

8. Sniff out the luxury

 

Even if you stay in a budget place, or in an Airbnb, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little bit of luxury. Why not pop along to a nice hotel and eat lunch there. We had a beautiful lunch on the terrace of Grand Villa Argentina, and had the whole restaurant to ourselves. The service, setting and ambience was just amazing. We stayed there for about 3 hours.

Our luxurious spot to lunch under the pine trees
Our luxurious spot to lunch under the pine trees

 

9. Avoid the heat of the day

 

After our big lunches we would stroll home as Lex fell to sleep. We’d then put him in the cool and just relax either by the pool or in the cool. Don’t explore in the heat of the day, it’s no fun for you or them.

My boys, just chilling.
My boys, just chilling.

10. Make a thing of your evenings

 

While bubba has gone to sleep, don’t crash. This is the opportunity for adult time, have some drinks, play games, wind down and enjoy the balmy evenings. When Lex went to bed we’d play cards and drink wine. Oh and we discovered a fad for dipping pretzels in nutella. So random, but that became our evening treat. Make some time for yourselves too.

Happy holidays from our family to yours!

Happy Families
Bon Voyage!
 To read Croatia Part I – click here.

 

Here’s some other places we’ve been:

 

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