Here are my top 14 top tips for a caravan holiday with a toddler… These are things I would really recommend you remember to take with you. We were dubious about staying in a caravan as recently we’ve been much more used to 5* European breaks and American road trips, and not as much camping and staycations in the UK as we really meant to. But last week we bit the bullet and we braved it, and, are so glad we did. We can’t wait to go back to Ruda Holiday Park, Croyde and to try other static caravan sites too. Caravan parks are brilliant places to stay and the big ones seem to be very child centric, so go on be brave… and take note of these survival tips to have a really easy fun holiday with your toddler.
On the road trip we employed many of our surviving a long jouney with a toddler tips…
Top Tips for a caravan holiday with a toddler
1 Travel cot and/or bed guard
Take whichever is relevant to your little one. But note that the Lindam bed guard we took was slightly too wide for the bed (I think the beds are 70 cm possibly, and the minimum size for our Lindam Guard is 75cm.
We padded out the bed with a duvet, but in the end we weren’t brave enough to try H sleeping there. The travel cot won!
As you can see one bed was removed so that the travel cot would fit in. If the site haven’t removed if for you, you can slide the mattress under another bed and put the frame on it’s side (I read that somewhere on a web forum before going!). If you’re wondering which travel cot this is in the picture, it’s our new Joie Allura travel cot (Amazon Affiliate link*) – and if you’re on holiday and can’t get the travel up or it’s stuck not collapsing – you need to read this post – How to put up a travel cot (and unstick a stuck side).
You can often hire a cot or bed guard, so you don’t have to take them with you, but it’s sometimes useful to take familiar objects!
Definitely take a few favourites, and a couple of books.
I know I mentioned this AMAZING toddler must-have in my tips for flying with toddlers post, but a water colouring book was also brilliant to have with us in the caravan. No mess colouring is a brilliant invention. Also remember a drawing board, for more no mess toddler drawing fun. I must admit hubby and I have great fun with this too, trying to draw so many animals with it 🙂
3 Baby wipes and antibac Dettol wipes
Yes, baby wipes can be used for everything, but sometimes you might also want an antibac wipe to make sure everything is spic and span.
Yes, you never know what the weather will do… and what toddler doesn’t LOVE wellies. They’re also great on the beach when you don’t realise that wave will wash up to you. At least toddler’s feet are dry, just mummy and daddy who didn’t take their wellies have soaked feet. That’s holidays eh?
5 Highchair/Booster seat
It’s an idea to take something for toddler’s to sit on, or hire one when there, however, we didn’t take anything and H sat on a cushion quite happily. A highchair would have also taken up extra room and we possibly would have been tripping over it, so I would definitely recommend a booster seat over a highchair.
Who’d go anywhere without them! I’m talking about Haribo and Pringles of course. Do you really think I’d get away with that?! Yeah, maybe not, so definitely pack a few Organix snacks too, and raisins, Toddler H would object to not getting her snacks. Ok, if we didn’t tantrum central would descend on our car, we wouldn’t have even reached the motorway, never-mind Devon.
7 Toddler meals
Yes, toddler’s should eat what you eat, but sometimes they just don’t want to, and sometimes you might not want to cook something a bit more toddler friendly. Yes, I’m talking about that meal for two, that you really would like to eat all of yourself, or a takeaway.
8 Toddler plates and cutlery
Do make sure to pace a couple of the toddler’s plates, some cuttlery and a placemat, that way you wont worry about your little mischief’s antics, plate throwing (in a non-Greek party style obvs), and weilding huge forks and rather large knives. Not a good scenario by any means. We love the (AD) Munchkin Lil Apple plates we were gifted (review here) and also their travel placemat which folds up and pops in your changing bag (or handbag!).
This is the one time we can live up to the stereotype of mummy having everything and the kitchen sink in her bag? Yes, I have a placemat, cutlery and plates, I even took a microwaved Annabel Karmel meal to the onsite pub for H to eat so we knew she would eat. My bag smelled a bit interesting at the soft play just before our dinner – soft play was kind of part of the restaurant at Ruda… see caravan holidays are AMAZING, no trying to entertain the toddler while you wait for your food, there’s soft play!)
Toddlerhood could mean you’re mid potty training or trying to insert that plant the seed into your little one’s head every time you change a nappy. You don’t want to miss out on a week of those references, so remember to pop one in the car. Also watch out for your little one’s poo-space… ours decided she’d hide behind the curtains to poo. Yes, she likes privacy it seems. Yes, we’re sooooo glad she doesn’t take her trousers down herself or even contemplate removing her nappy. I really really shouldn’t have written that, I’ve probably jinxed this whole situation now.
Travel potty recommendations
We absolutely recommend the My Carry Potty (and, as of 2020, we’ve now used it with 2 children, and still do use it on day trips, road trips and holidays).
I also thoroughly recommend a folding toilet seat – this is perfect for bigger kids as well as younger ones, folds in a little pouch, and is very sturdy gripping the toilet seat. We have used this on holiday in Corfu, as well as visiting my parents and on day trips.
Yes, little one’s need their routine, and we find H loves to wash her hands. We’ve also managed to train her to wash her hands after playing outside, something you don’t really want to discourage on a lets-be-outside-as-much-as-possible holiday.
11 iPlayer downloads and DVDs
Yes, every toddler needs a bit of routine, so if you watch In the Night Garden every night, make sure to download a few episodes so you can always play it even if you’ve missed it live. DVD’s were also useful when H wouldn’t nap and we wanted her to have some downtime.
12 Travel Stair Gate
If you’re using a bed guard, your little one will also be able to open the doors themselves. You don’t really want your little one getting up in the morning and wandering into the kitchen instead of your room do you?
We took a travel stair gate to avoid that scenario. It is a really useful gadget to take with you.
Amazon sell them – Travel stair gate
I’d say a pushchair is up to your own prerogative, as we did take ours and pushed it about for most of a day, but H was more than happy walking and not going in it. I think the Phil and Teds was great on the beach if you’re after any suggestions, but does take up more room in the boot than a stroller.
Update: We bought an Out n’ About double pushchair when our younger daughter was born and hands down would recommend Out n’ About over any other pushchair. It pushes like a dream over any field, beach, slope and is lovely and light.
13 Baby or Back Carrier
Again, like the pushchair, your little one may like or may detest the carrier, so take it I’d you think you might use it. We definitely would take ours and recommend it, we used it on a walk to a nearby point (Baggy Point), which was not suitable for a pushchair, not even our off road Phil and Teds. Toddler H also slept in the carrier during that walk, and it was much much needed nap. So I thoroughly recommend it – ours is a Little Life Carrier, and very comfy for daddy and Toddler H.
Oh yes, before I forget, just expect your car boot to look like this:
These are only a few toddler products we thought helped us in our static caravan-ing adventure. I have a few other posts coming soon:
- survival tips for your caravan holiday
- things to look for in a caravan site,
- a full caravan holiday packing list for everything you need to take, and,
- a review of our caravan holiday at Ruda Holiday Park review, Croyde, North Devon).
But please, if you’re contemplating such a holiday, don’t worry, we were nervous too, but it really was a brilliant holiday.
Do you have any tips?
Disclaimer: links are Amazon Affiliate links, I may receive a few pennies at no extra cost to you if you click on these.