Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Destination suggestions for a family of 3 – Nov 23 – Feb 24

  • buzzmonkey 15 posts

    We’re a family of 3, daughter will be 2.5 years old in December 2023 and we’re struggling to make our minds up on where to go with our Avios/BAPP241/Barclays-not-an-upgrade-voucher upgrade voucher!

    I’m hoping the community experience will be able to provide some guidance, details below of what we have planned and available.

    – NYC in March for 5 nights LHR/EWR in F.
    – Ikos Oceania in Halkidiki in May for 10 nights (economy as only a short flight)
    – planning somewhere in northern Italy around Sept/Oct time – perhaps dual city with train or car hire.

    – 2 weeks french villa in the middle of nowhere in June!

    – We will have around 180k Avios points by march.
    – BAPP 241 which expires in June 24
    – Barclays-not-an-upgrade-voucher upgrade voucher should be landing soon as £1k from spending target.

    things we considered but don’t really know enough to come to a decision on (long haul with a toddler – classic horror story, or just something you need to prepare for?).

    – flights to MCO/MIA and trying a cruise in that area – (sounds both fun and horrifying at the same time!)
    – Japan – Tokyo! What a unique trip, not sure how viable with a 2.5 year old that is? (Asia is one continent we haven’t been to).
    – an easily redeemable US airport and car hire between a few states.
    – Dubai?

    It’s tough as our daughter is our first, we haven’t travelled longhaul with any young relatives and every suggestion leaves us wondering if it would/wouldn’t be suitable for her – especially confusing as she’s only 18 months now… and likely to be a very different girl by then!

    Any suggestions? Decision paralysis is driving us nuts!

    The Savage Squirrel 609 posts

    With a baby you just did exactly what you enjoy. They don’t really factor into activities as such, they’re just along for the ride. Historical sites, Museums, Art galleries, even fine dining, all OK with a little planning … no problem. When they get a little older it’s rather different – you have to factor what will interest them and what they might do, and what simply won’t work.

    What a 2-3 yr old doesn’t care about or like (i.e. stuff to do when they’re a bit older – 5 at least so they can form some memories):

    Road trips – (dear lord just no!)
    Theme Parks (they’re too young to go on any of the good stuff)
    Culture that they can absorb (Japan, NYC etc)
    First Class Travel (the seat is too big for them, too far away from you. They’ll only eat the crisps)

    What a 2-3 yr old thinks is brilliant:

    A playground with swings and a climbing frame, no matter how simple or dilapidated/rusty/unsafe (adds interest).
    The beach
    Menus you can colour in

    I wouldn’t plan anything at this stage – why not see how you get on at IKOS and in NYC first and you should have a much idea what will work for you going forward and can plan 2024 and voucher use from there.

    can 506 posts

    I guess I wouldn’t go somewhere in the middle of nowhere with a toddler. Half of our trips when mine was a toddler, he either had a fever, conjunctivitis or some sort of a rash etc — so we needed a pharmacy or a supermarket for some over the counter med. and we used to pack a lot of meds for the trip. Yet.

    can 506 posts

    And remember for the same reasons above you may have to cancel some trips last minute: make sure you book refundable rates.

    I’d consider winter sun in Turkey. November shouldn’t be too cold there. And it is in Asia.
    Istanbul can be too chaotic with a toddler though as the city’s infrastructure is not particularly baby friendly: from taxis to sidewalks.

    Jerseylou 34 posts

    My darling daughter is now 28 but when she was a baby we frequently flew between UK and Texas, no problem. However when she was not quite two I would have cheerfully thrown her out of the window on a flight back from west coast USA. We stuck to short haul after that until she was a good deal older. I think see how you go with what you have booked before planning more. Good luck!

    Michael C 734 posts

    All great comments above! Just to add:

    -yes, 2-3.5 was the trickiest time on long-haul (earlier, snooze on lap; later, tablet/screen [sorry!])
    -also in favour of the “not tooo” middle of nowhere idea! Also: would there be a pool in the villa? That would keep little one happy all day
    -have always had v easy time in US. In the early days, we tended to go for macro hotels with 100s of people milling around a vast lobby. Great for chasing around in the rain, and also middle-of-the-night strolls with baby jetlag!
    -I’m guessing you have something like a Babyzen YoYo pushchair, which collapses into overhead bin size.
    -Norther Italy: does your daughter love churches and chianti?! ;o)) We’re massive fans (when she’s a little bit bigger, Bologna is fantastic and v easy to do). Just wondered for now if somewhere in the south (Sicily? Amalfi?) might be better for those dates: again, warm pool/beach, which she’ll love all day (while you and your partner would still be in a fantastic destination).
    -Asia for us is always, always easy with kids. Universally adored and welcomed everywhere. I DID make the slight mistake of squeezing in one last “free” flight at 1 yr 11 months BKK-LHR, and had our son lying on top of me all the way: he was already 1 metre tall…happy to pay for the additional seat from then on!

    The Savage Squirrel 609 posts

    Forgot to add – not 2-for-1 territory but if you want something close, with easy travel, but wonderful, The Netherlands is your ideal destination.

    Check out this for like Centeparcs but infinitely nicer. Any 2 yr old, or a little older, would LOVE it here.

    Or if you like a theme park, here’s one with high quiality lodgings (at Bosrijk) where lots of the park is very suitable for younger children and it’s not as concrete-based or painfully commercial as Orlando.

    @Froggee has also frequently mentionined Martinhal Sagres as a destination that works brilliantly for their family. This report is well worth a read even if you have no intention of going 😀

    jampot 22 posts

    I’d recommend Cape Town based on my own experience with children of a similar age. Fantastic climate, great food (all places have kids menus), v reasonable, no time change on flight (though it’s long), lots of activities v close (zoo, boat trip, plenty of beaches, whatle watching), reliable and reasonable nannies if you want time off.

    Gary 298 posts

    Unless the kid would be sleeping, how far one could fly with a 2-3 year old is entirely dependent on how long the kid can watch iPad for. Kids have different concentration spans, and there are only so many toys/drawing books/up & down the aisle you could do after that. Found ours invariably got tired of watching around the 3/4 hour mark, so stuck to Tenerife type of distance.

    We flew F with them when under two once and swore never again. It was a terrible experience (nothing to do with crew/BA as they were lovely) as simply too stressful with childcare. The cabin was also small and made me quite self-conscious.

    aq.1988 489 posts

    Just to add my 2 cents.

    We went Dubai in May 2022 (when my daughter had just turned 2), and she absolutely loved it.

    She really enjoyed Dubai Frame, was a lot braver than my wife, who didn’t want to stand on the glass!

    Global Village is great for kids, it was closed when we went, but would be open in the winter months. She also enjoyed Miracle Garden.

    Highly recommend Wild Wadi waterpark, been to both that and Atlantis, but I think WW is better for little ones. They had a deal for Mondays, which is if you pay by Visa online, its only 109 AED vs 299 AED at the door, just happened to go there on the Monday, and the gate attendant told me about the offer, so quickly left the queue to book online! Not sure about winter opening dates or if that offer is still valid though.

    SamG 1,728 posts

    We are at a family friendly hotel in Lanzarote with lots of kids and I’ve had 2 chats with parents of 2ish year olds who are reconsidering foreign holidays after the flight here 😂 .

    I’d make sure it’s cancellable and then see how you go. Agree that Dubai isn’t a bad idea or even out here in the Canaries, weather is very toddler friendly and plenty of hotels that are well set up for kids (which makes it a nice holiday for you) .

    Personally we’ve got a trip coming up at 18 months out to Asia and then I’ve no plans to fly longhaul for a good few years.

    We are doing a cruise out of Malta next April which I’m not sure how that is going to go, (MIL big birthday, family trip so a good adult to child ratio!) and I wouldn’t mind some winter sun but we’ll see, off peak flights don’t tend to get very expensive if you’re flexible so won’t book in advance

    NorthernLass 8,446 posts

    To add to all of the above, if your baby/toddler travels well, take advantage of these years before they start school and you are hit with triple the cash costs for your holidays, peak avios pricing plus limited availability on any dates you want to travel!

    Also – beaches. We used to take a few bags of plastic soldiers, cars etc from the £1 shop, build a massive sand construction on which to strategically place them and be guaranteed hours of peace. And also the envy of all the other families there!

    Lottie 31 posts

    We went to Vietnam and Sri Lanka when our son was 2 and 3. Both great countries to visit as they love children. Sri Lanka was really easy as we had a driver for the first half, so we didn’t have to carry loads of stuff, it stayed on the van, and no problem if it was nap time. We then took the train which he loved and saw lots of wildlife. Spent the last half relaxing on the beach where the water was lovely and warm, perfect for toddlers. In the evening he was happy to sleep in the push chair while we ate in the restaurant, we took a snooze shade which helped.

    aseftel 280 posts

    We did Dubai last year with a (then) 2.5 year old (as well as a baby) and it worked very well. I would agree with other posters that you can deprioritise culture/authenticity etc. at this age.

    We stayed at Intercontinental Dubai Festival City. It’s well-run and well-maintained. Book a room with club access – in lieu of being able to go to the evening cocktail hour (no children allowed) you get to go to the (good) buffet restaurant, drinks included. Effectively half board. It’s a quick and easy taxi from the airport, which is valuable after a long flight. There’s a pleasant pool with significant shallow areas and it stays shady in the shadow of one of the towers until about 11am – so you can get out for a decent morning swim without having to worry about suncream. There is a large shopping mall and hypermarket connected to the hotel if you want more dining options or need to pick up child supplies. There are lightshows outside the mall every evening that you can watch from the hotel (and will go down well with a toddler). You can get a little shuttle boat over to the metro station across the river (this is a fun adventure for a two year old in of itself).

    Prague was also a hit. Although that mainly consisted of riding the trams around town.

    0 post

    I think back to my childhood when we went to HK on a British Eagle Britannia. My parents had 4 kids under 10 and the youngest was 9 months old. Must have seemed like 3 days for them. Only so much colouring you can do.

    buzzmonkey 15 posts

    Thanks for all the info! Lots to digest.

    – we hadn’t considered booking hotel with free cancellation but makes perfect sense with the flight refund option (minus £35pp).

    – NYC trip is just the two of us, grandparents are kindly having our little one so we can get a long weekend break – we actually had the flights booked in 2019 for May 2020… But then of course COVID came along.

    – Dubai! Looks incredible, and after seeing a few videos on YouTube makes us want to try there. We’d probably consider going again when she’s a little older as likely to experience different things (we know a few people who love Dubai and go multiple times a year!)

    Just need to find a suitable hotel in Dubai now, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai looks pretty good value for £1500 – and with platinum would hope to get a room upgrade… Or do we stump up the £5500 for Atlantis, The Palm?

    Decisions decisions…!

    aseftel 280 posts

    Just need to find a suitable hotel in Dubai now, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai looks pretty good value for £1500 – and with platinum would hope to get a room upgrade… Or do we stump up the £5500 for Atlantis, The Palm?

    I’m not familiar with the Marriott, but my view would be that a two year old would not perceive a big difference to justify the cost. We didn’t bother paying a premium for a beach resort for that reason (and our son hadn’t been to the beach before when we went so we didn’t even know if he’d like it!).

    Of course the grown ups need to be happy with the choice too!

    StanTheMan 227 posts

    I’d steer clear of the Atlantis. It’s a huge old resort in a lousy location — and you will just want to be at the brand new The Royal Atlantis next door.

    If you can, look at the Ritz Carlton – it’s a great hotel and location. With a lovely little shaded kids pool etc. Its next to “the walk” which is ideal to go for a walk in the evening with a little fair and more casual dining.

    ATP 61 posts

    +1 for the Ritz Carlton which is next to LRM. Lovely hotel for families and very spacious resort which is increasingly rare in Dubai. However rooms are dated which is the trade off for the location/facilities.

    RO8926 12 posts

    We went to Costa Rica with our 6 month old, and would happily go back. I think a 2.5 year old would enjoy what it has to offer.

    Also heading to Japan in Jun 23, our sone will be 18 months. Check out ‘TheTokyoChapter’ blog; it really sold it to me.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.