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Toddlers make great wild travel companions, so it often pays dividends as a parent to choose a destination that meets your needs as a family. In short: not too far away, lots of fun things to do for the little ones, and some good family-friendly food options.
A massive analysis of more than 200,000 Trip Advisor reviews from parents who went on holiday with their children in the past year has come up with some very interesting results about the best places to go.
The analysis, carried out by British Airways, revealed that Kraków in Poland is the best holiday destination for British parents traveling with young children, scoring 99 out of 100. (Each place was ranked out of 100, based on the (how it scores for local accommodation, restaurants, and activities and attractions.)
As well as its rich historical heritage, Kraków offers plenty for parents to enjoy with young children, 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 news that will be welcomed by parents who want to avoid long flights with their children at all costs, eight of the top 10 destinations are located in Europe.
For the braver (see also: wealthier) among us, Dubai and New York also made the cut.
Holiday destinations suitable for young children
1. Kraków, Poland
Old town in Krakow, Poland.
Return flights in March from £28 per person.
2. Lisbon, Portugal
Return flights in March from £33 per person.
3. Dubai, UAE
Return flights in March from £369 per person.
4. New York, USA
Street performers mounted like 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.
6. Tenerife, Spain
Playa de las Americas, Tenerife.
Return flights in March from £74 per person.
Return flights in March from £95 per person.
8. Lanzarote, Spain
Play Papagayo, 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 young children
Travel experts at British Airways have 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’ll need .
1. Research the destination
When researching your getaway, find out what attractions, family activities and restaurants are available there. Don’t forget to check facilities at resorts – do they have play areas or pool areas just for small children?
Remember to check how safe your destination is too. Check out the UK Government travel advice website, and don’t forget to browse country guides and travel blogs about 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 their nasal passages are clear with a saline nasal spray will help them avoid serious colds that are easily transmitted on public transport.
Also make sure to ask your doctor for a doctor’s note or letter if your child is prescribed any medication, especially for liquids over 100ml.
3. Vaccines and visas
Make sure your child is up to date on their recommended vaccinations and ask your doctor if any additional vaccinations are required for the destination you plan to visit.
You may also need a visa to enter some countries. In general, the visa process is the same for parents and children. You will need to fill in a questionnaire and pay a fee.
Many countries require a tourist visa, so if you don’t submit the paperwork 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.
It is not compulsory to get travel insurance, but it is highly recommended as it can protect you and your family if you encounter any problems while abroad. You can add your child to an existing policy or cover the whole family with a family policy.
5. Consider nap time
You’ll want to schedule your activities around your child’s nap times to minimize disruption to their routine while you’re on vacation.
When you take your toddler out and about, sun shades for the buggy will help your toddler sleep more comfortably during the day.
Nap times are different from meal times and restaurants in some countries, for example Italy, usually open between noon and 2pm. Check ahead for these opening times so your baby’s sleep can fit around your new routine.
6. Check if your rental car has a car seat
It is important to reserve a car seat in advance if you intend to add it as an extra seat when you arrive, or if there is a risk that one will not be available.
When renting a car seat is not possible, you may need to buy a car seat that is light and easy to carry instead. It is best if the seat can also be used on a plane.
7. Is your destination more suitable for a buggy or a carrier?
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 carrier or sling to navigate your baby through its narrow streets. Some parents of older children swear by products like TushBaby.
Research your destination and the quality of public transport and judge it against your itinerary to decide the best mode of transport for your young children.
8. Bring their comforts and entertainment at home
Toddlers like 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 unavoidable aspects of a holiday.
Every parent will know what works best to calm their children at home, so be sure to bring the same items and practices abroad to comfort your child in the familiar.
Whether you’re waiting for your flight, on the plane, or just relaxing with us, expect to have to keep your toddler occupied and entertained for a good portion of the trip. Make sure there are entertainment options nearby so they don’t get too bored or too restless during those times.
For those who forget to pack toys and games, most airlines and hotels offer entertainment packages and television channels for children with children’s cartoons and movies.