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How to Survive a Beach Vacation With a Toddler

Updated on September 17, 2014

We Had Our First Beach Vacation & Survived!

We have been away a few times with our toddler, but always to privately rented houses and always with family or friends. We have just returned from our first beach vacation with a toddler in a hotel and we have survived to tell the tale.

This summer we had planned (as far as buying the tickets) to take our toddler to see family in the UK. This was going to be his first visit to the mother country and involved three flights and over twenty hours of travelling.

This was a daunting prospect - the logistics of trying to keep a very active, tired and possibly jet-lagged toddler occupied for almost a full day. Unfortunately, due to a problem with travel documents we had to reschedule our flights for a later date.

I admit that I was upset at not being able to go home to see my family, but at the same time a part of me breathed a huge sigh of relief - no more logistical nightmare!

Instead, we took our toddler to an all inclusive resort less than two hours drive from home. This was probably about the limit of his sitting still and not complaining in a car seat range and we had a very enjoyable holiday.

My advice would be to keep things simple for your first holiday and do not travel any further than you have to, and take along a few essentials to make life easier.

I hope you have a beach vacation with your toddler that was as much fun as ours.

Priceless Packhorse

My Best Friend and Priceless Packhorse


How much stuff does one toddler require?

This is the picture that inspired me to write about our first toddler friendly holiday.

When we got home and I downloaded the holiday pics onto the laptop this photograph made me laugh out loud, at how much stuff we had loaded onto the pushchair!

On holiday, the pushchair was my best friend.

Every time we were going out my husband would say "I'll carry Chiquitito, and you bring the bag."

This was obviously met with hoots of laughter from me. Did he have no idea how much stuff you need to take with you when you plan a trip to the beach?

Even though our hotel room was at the most a five minute stroll from the beach, I had to be prepared - just in case.

Highchair - tick, food and drink - tick, nappies - tick, swim nappies - tick, change of clothes - tick, beach toys - tick, more beach toys - tick.....the list was endless!

I don't think that Papicito ever got his own way regarding the pushchair. The pushchair was my best friend, a veritable packhorse and I will grieve when Chiquitito gets to the age where he refuses point blank to be seen out with a pushchair.

How long do you think I've got? A year, maybe two? I wonder if teenagers think pushchairs are cool?

Chicco Cortina Travel System

The Chicco Cortina KeyFit Travel System is the updated version of our much loved and well used travel system.

When your baby is under 22 pounds you can use the car seat in your car, and if your wee one falls asleep you can lift them out with the carrying handle.

Likewise, if you get to the mall and baby is sleeping, you just lift the car seat out and attach it to the pushchair base.

We found this system invaluable with Chiquitito, but remember not to leave your baby in the seat for more than a couple of hours at a time, as research has shown that it can damage their growing bones.

The pushchair has a sizeable basket underneath, that I fully utilised on our beach holiday, and you can hang larger items like a portable high chair from the pushchair handle, providing that you do not excessively overload the pushchair, that can result in it tipping backwards.

Bright Starts Lots of Links
Bright Starts Lots of Links

These plastic links are invaluable.

Join a few together and use them to attach toys to your stroller.

Attach one to the handle of your pushchair to hold extra shopping bags.

Join several together and attach to the headrest support in your car to attach toys to when travelling - saves having to stop the car to retrieve dropped toys.


Beach Pitstop


Time to Take Five Minutes!

Playing on the sand is tiring work, even for our bundle of perpetual motion, otherwise known as Chiquitito.

He dragged Papacito down the beach to the tropically warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, whose temperature would not have been out of place in our bath.

He splashed, collected shells, splashed some more and enjoyed making footprints in the sand.

At just over two and a half feet to Daddy's six foot four, his little legs must have ached in places he did not know were possible.

Luckily, I just happened to have the high chair with me (thanks to the pushchair's packhorse abilities) so Chiquitito was able to take a well earned pitstop, and we were able to have a five minute break as we flopped wearily onto the sun lounger.

Unfortunately Chiquitito was raring to go again far too quickly - Papacito had barely had time to think about downing a refreshing drink before junior was shouting "Again!"

Fun in the sun


Thank you for sun protection

Chiquitito loves the beach. He loves to run up and down between our sun loungers and the shoreline, he loves to collect pebbles and shells and splash in the water.

Living in the tropics we try to limit time on the beach to early mornings, before the sun has fully risen.

Of course, he has other ideas, and once we get to the beach we have a huge struggle to get him to leave - I'm sure you've all been there - incandescent toddler, screaming blue murder just because you dare to suggest lunch and a nap.

This all in one swim suit and hat was a godsend and allowed us to spend far more time on the beach than I would have otherwise dared to. It kept Chiquitito's skin well protected from the powerful sun.

Sun Protection Swimsuit

This suit is similar to the one that my toddler wears, only his came with a matching hat.

Even though my son has olive skin that does not easily burn, I still dress him in a UV suit when swimming or playing on the sand to protect him.

His suit came with a matching hat, which this one does not, so I have showcased a suitable hat below, complete with neck guard.

i play. Flap Sun Protection Hat
i play. Flap Sun Protection Hat

This hat is excellent for swimming or playing in the sun, and the rear flap will protect your little ones neck.


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Perpetual Motion

A busy toddler is a happy toddler!


Toddlers Rarely Sit Still

As I have said before, our toddler never sits still. He has two modes - full speed or asleep.

His beach toys got plenty of use on our holiday. When he got bored of taking Papacito for a walk up and down the beach he paused for a few seconds to dig in the sand, before realising he was stood still and careering off again in search of adventure.

The beach gave him the space to run about and play, and the effort of walking on the sand wore his little legs out. Combine this with all the fresh sea air and he was flaked out and asleep within seconds of his head touching the mattress of his travel cot.

We were not able to take advantage of his super holiday sleeping abilities, because no sooner had he started gently snoring then Papacito and I were struggling to keep our eyes open and doing the same too!

Don't forget The Beach Toys

15-Pieces Beach Sand Toys Set in Zippered Bag Castle Bucket by Bo Toys
15-Pieces Beach Sand Toys Set in Zippered Bag Castle Bucket by Bo Toys

You don't need lots of toys to take to the beach, but the basics like a bucket and spade, sand sieve, sand molds, beach ball and maybe a boat will keep your littleo nes occupied for hours.


Relax and savour every moment!


And Relax!

Holidays are meant to be about relaxing, and it's important that parents get time to relax too.

Both Papacito and Chiquitito both enjoy after lunch naps, so while they went to the hotel room for a siesta I took the opportunity to lie on a sun lounger. Chance to top up my tan and use the poolside wi-fi signal to check my emails!

Taking a toddler on holiday can be exhausting, but as I write this I am already feeling dewy eyed at the thought of him growing up and no longer finding everything new and exciting, delighting in every single grain of sand and pebble.

Make the most of your children while they are young, because I am sure that if I blink I will suddenly find that I have missed it and Chiquitito is away at university while Papacito and I lounge in peaceful bliss by a tropical pool.

Until recently that would be a regular holiday for us, now the thought of it fills me with dread!

Have I inspired you to take a toddler friendly holiday?

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    • Adventuretravels profile image


      4 years ago from UK

      I always enjoyed going on holiday with my toddler - seeing new things ( the first time he saw the sea for example) through his eyes filled us with a new found joy. Great days I shall treasure forever. This is a really nice lens.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Babies and toddlers are tough to travel with, I know because I've already been on several with mine. Oye! Great tips, thank you!

    • Monika Weise profile image

      Monika Weise 

      5 years ago from Indianapolis, IN USA

      Traveling with toddlers is complicated! I'm glad you had a good time.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Always took the kids with on vacations, and took plenty of pictures.

      Sounds like good parenting to me, keep on trucking. :)

    • Carashops profile image


      6 years ago

      I remember having to carry our toddler as the buggy was full of "stuff".

    • Trixiesmom2u profile image


      6 years ago

      You took me back thirty years to when my son was two. It's a great time when your baby isn't a little boy yet but isn't quite a baby anymore either. Loved your shadow photo. Congrats on the Purple Star!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 

      6 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Well, I last did this nearly two decades ago. You certainly have brought back some memories.

    • jdwheeler profile image


      6 years ago

      We have taken our little ones on vacation before and it's always challenging but well worth it at the end of the trip. Making memories is what its all about.


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