5 things I learnt from taking a 5 year old on a city break: In the Easter holidays I had a moment of spontinaity and decided to book a city break for Monkey and I. Its something Hubby and I use to do a fair bit of before having children. In truth Ive missed it. As we always did it last minute which added to the excitement.

Yet I did wonder whether I may booked our trip to Barcelona without really thinking it through. Monkey hasn’t been in set routine since he was tiny. As a result he’s got a pretty flexible outlook on life. Which I hoped would help us. To be honest the trip went without a hitch. I booked what I could in advance and had things like airport transfers lined up. For my own piece of mind I took as much uncertainty out of the trip as possible. Yet I still learnt a few valuable lessons when taking a five year old on a city break

5 things I learnt from taking a 5 year old on a city break

No public toilets – Barcelona doesn’t do public toilets. And I must admit I have got out of the habit of asking Monkey if he needs the loo when we are out and about. Many of the cafe’s and bars in the tourist hotspots are also very clear. There is no chance of using the facilities without buying something in the establishment. Even if you have a small child with you who is crossing their legs…. I immediately started offering toilets up at every opportunity and I am thankful that we only had a mad dash that first time.

Get the bus – city breaks are nutoriously walking holidays. Monkey has always been a walker but there are limits to what he can do. Saying that the second day of our holiday he managed 12.1km! I brought tickets for a hop on hop off tourist bus. It saved me having to navigate the local public transport – which I am not very good at even at home. I also felt comfortable that we always had a fall back plan if he decided he was too tired to walk. Hes far to heavy for me to carry him now and I had visions of us being miles away from the hotel without any idea of how to get back…

Prebook attractions – we learnt this the hard way. I hadn’t really anticipated Barcelona being particularly busy. Yet it was. Which meant that we couldn’t see eventing we wanted to. We turned up at one attraction at 2pm only to find that we wouldn’t be able to get into it until 6.30pm. Travelling with adults you would probably assess how much you wanted to see something and then go and grab a beer. Waiting round with a small child for that length of time without much else to do wasn’t an option. I learnt for our next day though as I had all the things I could buy a ticket for brought in advance. This let us plan our day more and meant we avoided the queues. I gave Monkey as much choice as possible around what he thought we should do.

Don’t forget the beach stuff – Although I knew Barcelona had a beach I left the majority of our beach stuff at home. This didn’t deter Monkey who was desperate to get to the beach. I totally underestimated its draw Next time I will pack a pair of swim shorts so if he does want to wade he can. At least I had the sun screen!

Trusted favourites – I noticed that Monkey would gravitate towards names he knew. Espically in the food department. Since he is only five and normally quite adventurous with food it didn’t occur to me that he would need to eat the same things that he does at home. Although we did manage pintos one night the rest of the time it was very English based… Starbucks for breakfast each morning and one night we ate in Hard Rock! Its not something I would normally encourage. I like to embrace the local food thats part of travelling to me. Yet since it was his first experience of a city break and I wanted a happy five year old I let it slide…. It will be interesting to see if the same happens on our next trip.

By starting our adventures when they are young, I hope that the boys will develop their own wanderlust and desire to see the world. We had a great time and made memories that will stay with us both for a lifetime. Now all we need to do is decide on our next destination!


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  1. There are some great tips to take on board and could save others a lot of time!

  2. Margaret Gallagher Reply

    So many new skills to learn – so many miss out because of busy schedules

  3. How cool is this? Looks like you had an amazing time. Thank you for some brilliant tips. #BloggerClubUK

  4. Public toilets are high on my list of my favourite things about anywhere I go. I can never understand why there are not more of them. I always thought Spain was very good at letting you use toilets without buying stuff – shows how little I know these days. Great tips and looks like you had a fun time too. #BloggerclubUK

  5. Sounds like great fun and like your little boy is going to be a fantastic traveler! That is a great plus!
    My girls were always great on Road trips because I had them out with me taking road trips while infants. The younger they are when you start traveling with them the better they are at experiencing new things!

    Great job mom!


  6. it looks and sounds like you both had a fabulous trip away. Here is to many more for you and your boy x

  7. Some great tips here. I want to take my kids to Rome as we love our beach holidays but there is so much to see and discover in another city. I shall keep a note of your tips x #BloggerClubUK

  8. Great advice. I have never been to Barcelona. We did a city break to Paris when our daughter was a year old and really enjoyed it. We found the Parisians really made a fuss over her.

  9. I just love that you monkey headed out on your own little adventure, I’d love to do this with L. The beach is always such a draw to kids isn’t it, I swear we could go to the mankiest beach and it would be all L wanted to do #bloggerclubuk

  10. Looks like you had a fab time – sounds like you were very sensible on the toilet and eating front!

  11. A S,Edinburgh Reply

    This is such a helpful article, thank you. It sounds to me like your whole approach to this is going to make sure travelling is a positive thing for him, both now and in the future, which is really lovely.

  12. Oh some great tips here! We are going to Amsterdam next week and I have prebooked some of the musuems as I know that my two would not be happy waiting in a long line. I have never been to Bareclona. That’s next on my list!

  13. Kayleigh Watkins Reply

    Everything is more thought out when you have children, and as you say you learn quickly, sounds like you had a lovely time xxx

  14. I love that you did this! Great tips – you always need to plan with children don’t you, I definitely struggle with this!!

  15. That’s such a lovely thing for the two of you to do – I bet he absolutely loved it! Great tips – like you, I’m used to being able to find a toilet pretty much anywhere we go, and that would have caught me out too. Max’s walking is very hit and miss, and that’s what I’d worry about on a city break. If he’s in a good mood he’ll walk for miles – if not, 10 metres can be a struggle!

  16. Kelly-Anne Reply

    Whenever I go out I’m always on toilet watch, as she’s so unpredictable. But you’ve shared some wonderful tips lovely.

  17. Tracy Nixon Reply

    What a lovely trip for you both, Barcelona looks a great place to visit!

  18. Laura Turner Reply

    I always panic when I’m looking after little ones in the city. They are so fearless and you’ve got to be so vigillant.

  19. Samantha O'D Reply

    Lovely photos and some great tips, i would love to take my kids on some city breaks but feel i need to wait untill there all a bit older

  20. Sarah Roberts Reply

    l would love to do this with my grandaughters best part is finding new things out together

  21. Looks like you had a great time. I think the no toilets thing would stress me out though!

  22. Gemma Hendry Reply

    great tips i would never have thought o some of these things

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