It’s hard to think you’d pick one beach out of 10,500 and return over and over again. I mean, with so many to explore why visit just one? As your family grows your needs may change and the destination might change with it. A young family has different needs to that of family with teenagers. You may be a family who loves theme parks or camping. So how to decide what beach is right for you?
Our checklist for holiday destination with small kids
- Several beaches, allowing choice from wind allowing optimal beach time enjoyed by all.
- Safe walking track ie. An actual footpath for prams or small children. Accessibility. Some regional areas will not have footpaths everywhere. We stayed at a house about a 250m walk to the beach. The only problem the 250m walk was alongside a road where the speed limit was 80km/h. Throw up the smallest rock at that speed into your pram and you will have a disaster.
- Coffee (that should be the first priority but that’s just me!)
- More than one place to eat out (I don’t want to cook all holidays)
- Air conditioning. (perhaps more difficult if you are camping)
- BBQ – essential for quick and easy meals.
- Access to a pool. Sometimes the surf swell is too large. Sometimes there has been a recent flood and water quality may be poor. Or, with smaller kids, carrying everyone through the dunes might be too much twice per day!
- Space. It rains in summer- you need space inside to cope with wet weather unless your happy to be outside in the rain. (a garage is really all you need)
- Access to a hospital. Remote is great but children have accidents. Know where your nearest hospital is and how far to get there. If you need to wait for 30 minutes plus for the ambulance to get there and other 30 minutes plus to return to the hospital, you need to know basic first aid to manage in the interim.
What to check with the letting agent or property manager
- Open stairs
- Baby gate for crawlers
- Fish ponds and creeks
A checklist of what to consider to pack
- Tea towels. Rented accommodation give you one or two – it’s never enough.
- Sharp knives. I always pack at least a few extra small knives.
- Plastic cups and plates. So many times we’ve booked accommodation claiming they’re family friendly and yet no child safe crockery.
- Games. When I had one child in the car I used to pack a tub of Lego bricks. Now I pack cars for the younger ones (space savvy) and drawing for the eldest.
- Can you hire a porter cot rather than trying to fit it in?
- If linen is not provided can you hire linen?
- Are the bedrooms one floor. With little ones waking during the night you may need to consider where the rooms are.
- Tupperware- there’s always leftover’s right?
Things I wish more holiday houses would consider.
- Board games.
- Buckets and spades.
- Bogey boards.
- Melamine crockery.
- Glad wrap! Foil!
- Buckets and spades.
- BBQ tongs
- Electric beater + 1-2 cake tins. I bake on holidays. It feeds the truckloads of kids.
None of these things are a huge expense and it’s just service. Why don’t they do it?
I think you need to consider your type of holiday and therefore accommodation based around your activities. If your kids want to ride bikes-can they do that in the street safely or will you need to get to a bike track? Is there accommodation on the bike track? It is possibly worthwhile to trial different experiences for shorter period to test if you like it. Before investing thousands of $ in camping equipment, perhaps hire some for a long weekend and test it out. You may prefer a tent to a caravan. You may prefer remote camping sites to larger parks. There is loads to explore and experience.
Choosing the area
Sorting out your holiday accommodation is no different to buying a house (albeit a simplified version of the same process) Write down how you envision your holiday – walks and swimming. Number what is a priority and what is not. Choose your accommodation based on this list. You may have to give and take to get as close to achieving as much as you can on your list within your budget.
For us being able to push pram used to be essential so therefore footpaths were required. With small kids who can’t go to the beach for long periods of time, afternoon time in the pool was a requirement. This year we have either eaten out or had a BBQ. I’ve made huge salads and then used them for the next few days at lunch. It’s been so simple and easy I would be rating that much higher than in previous years as a requirement. Our needs for a footpath are nearly null and void as we have a toddler with a lot of energy. Walking is good for him!.
All things considered, it’s a holiday can’t we all put the phones/iPads down and just enjoy being out of the office/work? Do all the mod cons really make or break a holiday and when did a dreadful holiday experience kill someone? Doesn’t a dreadful story or a holiday gone wrong give you something to talk about for the next year? Seriously the funniest stories I’ve heard are travel gone wrong. So perhaps my checklist is not needed at all?
If you are not sure about an area. I recommend using this site for finding accommodation. You are often dealing directly with the property owner but sometimes with an agent. They can answer plenty of questions prior to your arrival. The Stayz website has houses throughout the country and you can search in a multitude of ways. The other useful tip is look up Trip Advisor for specific places. The accommodation on the Stayz website may or may not be included. The Australian Government has several websites with an abundance of state based tourist information. Use the following for information on these states.
NSW QLD SA WA NT ACT or Canberra VIC TAS These sites have links to the various cities and regions. They are also regularly updated with details of festivals and events. Once you have identified a region that you would like to visit, place a call the various real estate agents in town and request a copy of their holiday listings. Then all their is to do is confirm your reservation and look forward to your holiday.