Child on beach

Have a baby, they said. It will be a delight, they said. I mean sure, there are going to be some tough bits, you know, like labour, and breastfeeding, and juggling your career – and boy were there tough bits – but on the whole they were right, having a baby is a delight. But it might leave you feeling in need of a holiday more than ever…

In the first of our travel guides for families, SUITCASE has come up with five different trips for children aged one to five. Steering clear of the standard ‘family-friendly’ holidays (shudder), we’ve mixed the easy with the daring, taking into account the fact that your little darling’s patience will vary over the years, as will yours. And no one likes a tantrum.

Far from having to quash your adventurous streak, it is even possible to go long haul with the tots in tow. Yes, really. It just requires a little more planning than when you set off at the drop of a (sun) hat during those endless university summers. So, here’s to raising a child of the world.

Up to 1 year

Go all out with a mega-trip to Melbourne, Australia. ‘Madness!’ we hear you gasp. But flying with a babe in arms is actually remarkably easy. Essentially, they only need to sleep and eat which is made all the more easier by the fact you can fit a bassinet between rows on the plane (which doubles up as a handy foot stall). The food scene in Australia’s hippest city is also incredible, so it’s no surprise that Heston Blumenthal is to open Dinner over there soon. Find yourself a classic Australian beach house through Airbnb and soak yourself silly at the Peninsula Hot Springs, the perfect place to soothe tired limbs with striking views of the Bass Strait.

Up to 2 years

Fly short haul to Cap Ferret in Bassin Arcachon, France. Before they’re fully accomplished wrigglers or crawlers, a short European flight is doable with some books, toys and the iPad (god’s gift to parents). Cap Ferret is a chic, low-key holiday oasis just west of Bordeaux with plenty of quaint fishing villages perfect for strolling through with a buggy, cold bottle of rosé stashed among nappies beneath. It’s also known as the French oyster capital – tuck in before riding the mini train to the surf beach, though beware their aphrodisiac powers resulting in another bundle of joy… Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Up to 3 years

Embark on a staycation with a jaunt to Livingstone Lodge at Port Lympne in Kent. At this age, long haul is tiresome for all involved so shorter car trips with maximum end results are best. Port Lympne is a 600-acre safari park just an hour and 20 minutes from London, with a range of accommodation types (tree house anyone?) to suit families of all shapes and sizes. You could almost be in South Africa. Almost.

Up to 4 years

Skip the big French resorts and get your little ones on the slopes at Kitzbühel, one of Austria’s most charming mountain villages. From around aged three and a half (ish), children are generally capable of skiing on their own – even if they do look like wider-than-tall walking bundles of ski gear. This beautiful little village is more intimate than other alpine options, with lots of traditional, family-run hotels and ski schools equipped for all ages.

Up to 5 years

Choose the road less travelled for a beach holiday and head to The Chedi Muscat in Oman. A direct flight from London to Muscat takes seven hours and 30 mins, then it’s just a 15 minute cab ride to the lap of luxury, with endless entertainment at your fingertips thanks to an expansive pool and the beach. Extra beds (£50 a night) and cots (free) can be added to all rooms, while babysitting is available from £9 an hour. Be sure to book two days in advance to ensure your well-deserved evening off goes uninterrupted.

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