We’re becoming old hands at staying in holiday parks with kids. Last year we stayed in three. Over the spring half term break we spent a week in a Dutch holiday park by the sea. In the summer we had two lovely breaks: one with Eurocamp at La Garangeoire, in the Vendée, France, and another with Siblu at Domaine de Kerlann, Brittany. The year before that we stayed on one on the Isle of Wight, and another in the Loire Valley, France.
A European holiday park (or parc, depending on the operator) is usually made up of mobile homes (cabins), or holiday homes as the more luxurious kind are known. They have their own kitchens and bathrooms; some even have TVs and dishwashers. There are also pitches for tents and caravans on the holiday park, and sometimes there are glamping units, like safari tents.
In France we’ll be staying in holiday homes, and I’ve put together a list of what it might be useful to take. Please feel free to use it as a checklist for your own travels (and let me know if there’s anything I’ve forgotten!).
Swimwear and water aids
Most European holiday parks have swimming pools: indoor, outdoor or both. Although they’ll be watched over by lifeguards, water aids for youngsters and non-swimmers can give extra peace of mind.
Inflatable toys for the pool
Most holiday parks offer towel hire as an option, but it’s worth taking a couple of big, fluffy towels for the beach or poolside.
Beach gear (if you’re staying near the coast)
Buckets and spades, windbreak, fishing nets etc
Outdoor games: kite, football, boules set, frisby etc
Most holiday parks offer bikes for hire. We’ve found that helmets aren’t always available though, so if you’d rather your child wore one, it’s best to take your own.
For a bit of night-time exploration of the outdoors.
Your children’s favourite soft toys
The beauty about holiday parks is, they’re usually in the middle of the countryside, where you can see the stars. But it does get very dark, so if your child is used to sleeping with a nightlight, it’s worth investing in a battery-operated one for travelling.
Kind of obvious, this one. But don’t forget that holiday park cabins, although they usually have heating, aren’t as well-insulated as houses. They can get cold at night, so if you’re going at a time when the weather’s variable, it’s worth taking some warmer clothes just in case.
Although cabins don’t usually have washing machines, there will be a laundry room on site.
Loo roll and kitchen towel
You’ll probably be given some loo roll for when you arrive, and you can always buy some more in local supermarkets. But it’s always handy to have spares….
For us that’s my son’s inhalers – in other words, anything specific your family needs. And, of course, a general medical kit, with plasters, antiseptic cream, kids’ painkillers, insect repellent etc
Sun hats, sunglasses and sun protection
Suntan cream, after-sun, lip balm with high SPF.
Washing-up liquid and dishwasher tablets
Some places provide welcome packs which include this – it’s worth checking.
Tea towels, cleaning cloths and products, handwash
You’ll no doubt want to hit the local supermarkets on your holiday, to sample local produce. But it’s worth taking along staples like salt, pepper, and tea bags (which, of course, just aren’t the same outside the UK!)
Picnic gear: blanket, knives and forks, plastic plates
You’ll be given cutlery and dishes in the holiday park, but it’s worth taking your own for the journey there and back.
Chargers: for phones, camera etc
Some holiday homes already have bluetooth speakers.
Toys and games, portable DVD player
Holiday parks usually have fantastic play facilities for kids. But it’s worth taking along some games so that you can have downtime in the cabin if it’s needed.
Books, stickers, colouring pens etc
Would you add anything to this list?
You can read more about our trips to holiday parks here:
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