In this section I’ll list the websites I find useful in planning our holidays. Here’s a few to get started.
1. babyfriendlyboltholes.com. I can’t actually take credit for finding this one – my good friend and Trunki Files contributor Cassie Martin discovered it and knew it would be my cup of tea. I love it: I am permanently consulting its pages. The editor really understands that just because you have children, it doesn’t mean you want to go to characterless, all-inclusive resorts or holiday camps for the rest of your life. There’s a great selection of boutique properties that all have the paraphenalia you need for a kids’ holiday. It’s best for the UK and Europe – the recommendations thin out the further you go. We’ve gone to two places listed here – Montengrand and Caserio del Mirador. Both were fab.
2. i-escape.com. If I fancy a quick daydream, this is the site I head to. I’ve whiled away (wasted?) hours ogling the properties on this website. I love the way they tell you the ‘highs’ and the ‘lows’ of each one and go into a lot of detail about the experience you’ll get – often, you find out far more here than you do on the accommodation’s own website. Many of the properties aren’t right for kids but they have just launched a new ‘Kids Collection’ that pulls those ones that are geared up for families. I already have several bookmarked…
3. babygoes2.com. This website is a bit ramshackle compared to the others – not that easy to navigate and too many ads. I have also found quite a bit of the information to be out of date. But it does contain some useful advice, destination guides and has a broader reach than babyfriendlyboltholes.com. Plus they work with suppliers to get some decent offers. If you want to go long-haul, check it out.
4. 101holidays.co.uk/family. I’ve just come across this one and have been having a play. I like the way it sorts holidays according to your criteria – age of kids, budget and so on. I’ll let you know more once I’ve had a good look around!
5. Takethefamily.com. I’ve been using this site more and more. It’s a great resource and has broader appeal than i-escape and Baby Friendly Boltholes as it’s not just limited to boutique properties. You can search the extensive database of family-friendly accommodation by filtering on a number of criteria; there are blogs; and an increasing amount of editorial features and articles. Plus they have special offers and discounts with tour operators. Definitely worth following on Facebook/Twitter.
6. Smith and Family. This is a new website from Mr & Mrs Smith, dedicated to family-friendly hotels. There are few surprises here and it’s limited to the UK and Europe for now, but it’s worth checking out. There’s also a blog called Smith and Kids.
7. KidsTravel2. A great shopping site for all things kiddie-travel-related. The place to get your Trunkis but also beach stuff, car seats and games. They have a reward scheme for their customers, giving you a £1 credit for every £25 you spend, a nice touch. Delivery is free over £50.
8. Holidaytots. A database of child-friendly accommodation, particularly strong on France and the UK and specialising in cottages. We hopefully add more properties in the coming months.