Mention ‘travelling abroad with a toddler’ and you’d be forgiven for hiding the Trunki, possibly until your kids are old enough to legally drive.

Fear not!

We at Stubborn Mule are firmly of the belief that you don’t have to compromise too much to make your adventure holiday fun for the whole family. Yes, there are tweaks to be made when it comes to the kind of activities you can do with a toddler in tow – white water rafting is certainly out (!) – but a ‘Fly and Flop’ holiday these ain’t.

First, some honesty regarding what we mean by ‘toddler-friendly holidays’. Will there be a microwave in your room for warming milk? Possibly not, but there’ll be someone in the kitchen who can help! Will there be a babysitting service? There can be, it just depends on what kind of accommodation you use and which destination you travel to.

Toddler in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco on toddler-friendly holiday

Exploring the High Atlas – Morocco is the perfect ‘and toddler came too’ destination

What we want to emphasise is that on a Stubborn Mule holiday your family will enjoy much more than simply sitting by the pool; a holiday during which travelling with your toddler can enhance the interactions you have with local people rather than curtail them; an adventure which doesn’t revolve around the youngest family member but allows the whole family to have fun.

Here, we’ve highlighted which destinations can make the perfect ‘and toddler came too’ holiday so take the Trunki out of hiding, get that passport picture printed and take a look at where you could be heading on your next adventure.

Our top 10 toddler-friendly holidays 

1. Toddler-friendly holidays in Cambodia

There’s a small handful of places in this gorgeous, laid-back country which are simply brilliant for toddler-friendly holidays: Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and the island beaches off the coast of Sihanoukville. For any parent with little ones, you’ll already know from weekend or day trip outings that parental ambition can often outstrip a toddler’s capability, so limiting your travel time and basing a holiday around a few centres makes for the ideal, tantrum-free recipe.

Although clambering on the ruins at Angkor Wat just outside Siem Reap may be frowned on, take a tuk-tuk to the many outlying smaller ruins and you can give your toddler free rein. As for toddler-friendly beaches in Cambodia, we recommend the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloen, off the coast of Sihanoukville, which have gently shelving beaches perfect for toddler-friendly swimming. Take a look at our 2-week Cambodia Highlights itinerary for more information, bearing in mind we will tailor it to accommodate your little ones. You might also find inspiration in our Cambodia with Kids Top 10 Activities blog.

Cambodia with kids holiday, young girl meets dancers at Angkor Wat

The dancers at Angkor Wat can be a welcome distraction when older kids are exploring the temples

2. Toddler-friendly holidays in Bali

The beautiful tropical island of Bali is as small as it is stunning, which makes the, ‘are we there yet?’ question almost obsolete. Toddler friendly activities abound, including exploring the Monkey Forest in Ubud, swimming in waterfalls and playing on a plethora of stunning beaches. (Taking a boat out to watch the dolphins at dawn is a particular highlight). Whilst you can opt for high-end hotels, Bali boasts a large number of smaller, boutique hotels, including bungalows where you can enjoy the stars and warm night breezes whilst your toddler sleeps inside. Feeling inspired? Take a look at our Relaxing Bali trip for more details.

Toddler sitting on Bali beach - toddler friendly holidays in Bali

Known for its fabulous beaches, there’s lots to keep toddlers and young children happy in Bali

3. Toddler-friendly holidays in Morocco

Perhaps the most exotic destination you can travel to in under 4 hours, Morocco ticks all the toddler-friendly holidays boxes. No jet lag? Tick! Loads of boutique hotels and riads? Tick! Fun things to do? Tick! You can take a horse-drawn carriage around Marrakech, clamber over the ruins in Ait Ben Haddou, take a camel ride into the desert (toddler sits in front) or spend the night in a desert camp, where you can sit around the evening camp fire whilst your toddler sleeps out under the stars. Take a look at our Highlights of Morocco trip for even more activities.

Exploring Marrakech by horse drawn carriage on a toddler friendly holiday

A novel experience in Marrakech… sight-seeing in a horse-drawn carriage

4. Toddler-friendly holidays in Jordan

Introduce your toddlers to one of the world’s largest sand-pits (that’ll be the desert) and you can see why Jordan is a big hit with the under-5s. It’s not all digging and eating dirt, though, as our Jordan with Kids – Top 10 Activities blog shows! There’s a huge variety of things to do which will entertain the whole family, from running down sand dunes, exploring castles and world-famous archaeological sites (Petra being the most famous). For some R & R at the end of the trip (the perfect finale to a toddler-friendly holiday), we recommend some gorgeous hotels on the fringes of the Red Sea. The Dead Sea, we’ve found, whilst appealing in principle rarely ends well with salt concentration and toddler’s sensitive skin and eyes. Want to know more? Check out our Highlights of Jordan trip.

Jordan family holidays - exploring the Temple of Artemis at Jerash with the kids

The ruins at Jerash are a relaxed place to explore with toddlers and younger children

5. Toddler-friendly holidays in Oman

A toddler-friendly holiday oasis? Let us count the ways we love this place! Whether you’ve chosen to self-drive (very toddler-friendly!) or be driven around Oman, you can’t help but notice just how much contrast there is in the landscape during comparatively short driving distances, so no epic overland adventures required.

We can’t begin to explain how welcoming and friendly the people are, who will bend over backwards to accommodate any specific requirements or needs. And, if there’s a more toddler-friendly hotel than the Shangri-La on the beach near Muscat we are yet to find it: an indoor play centre, toddler pool, kids’ club, a buffet packed with things you’d never let them eat at home (smarties feature heavily) whilst rooms come with free pushchairs and baby cots. If you think a 12 day ‘Highlights of Oman’ will prove too much, why not take an Oman Short Break? It’s also worth taking a look at our ‘Oman with Kids – Top 10 Family -Friendly Experiences’ blog.

Young child exploring the beach in Oman on toddler friendly holiday

Omani beaches are quiet outside peak season and fun for toddlers and younger children 

6. Toddler-friendly holidays in Sri Lanka

This relatively small island packs a big, toddler-friendly holiday punch. Flights to Sri Lanka are direct (yay), boutique, 4-5 room hotels are plentiful (double yay), travel distances short (you can see where we’re going with this), the people are friendly and welcoming, the waters warm and the beaches divine. We offer two sample itineraries depending on what time of year you prefer to travel: Sri Lanka Summer Tour and Sri Lanka Christmas and Easter Tour. We also recommend checking out our ‘Sri Lanka with Kids – Top 10 Things to Do’ blog.

Young child with ice lolly at Sigiriya - Sri Lanka - toddler-friendly holidays

Sri Lanka is great for toddlers, tweens and teens and a timely ice lolly is always welcome…

7. Toddler-friendly holidays in South Africa

Whilst a long-haul flight, there’s no jet lag to contend with when flying direct to South Africa, a real blessing when travelling with toddlers. Probably the most developed and modern destination we have in our portfolio, with some gorgeous hotels, South Africa is easy to self-drive whilst offering ‘teaser’ safaris, ideal if you’re not sure how your child will get on during a game drive. Many of the lodges offer a babysitting service too, so you can enjoy a romantic meal whilst knowing your toddlers and children are in good hands. As far as food goes, you’ll be able to enjoy the very best wine and cutting-edge cuisine whilst chicken nuggets and pizza are also on the menu for less adventurous young palates. Of the two sample itineraries we offer, the Classic Cape & Garden Route is the more toddler-friendly.

A toddler on safari in the Eastern Cape

Lodges in the malarial-free Eastern Cape are ideal options for toddlers and younger children

8. Toddler-friendly holidays in Cuba

Lush and tropical, this Caribbean island has been hugely popular for western tourists in recent years. Don’t be put off if you have a toddler in tow as although the social and political history may be lost on them, the lovely beaches, hanging out in a convertible Cadillac or taking a horse-drawn carriage through the tobacco fields in Vinales won’t be. Take a look at our ‘Cuba with Kids – Top 10 things to do with the family’ blog. One of the most toddler-friendly aspects to Cuba is the prevalence of ‘casas’; locally owned B & Bs which allow you and your children an up-close-and-personal authentically ‘Cuban’ experience. See our ‘Highlights of Cuba’ trip and be inspired!

Vinales - Places to visit in Cuba

Explore Cuba’s countryside by horse and cart when travelling with toddlers and young children

9. Toddler-friendly holidays in Mexico

We admit that the journey time to Mexico is comparatively long at just over 10 hours. But the flights are direct and, if taken overnight, parents and toddlers can wake up in paradise with relatively little drama. When you arrive, Mexico is an adventure playground for little ones and adults alike. Once you’ve visited a few Mayan ruins your trip is likely to be dominated by water-based activities: think swimming in cenotes (natural water holes), paddling in lagoons or just hanging out around the pool or beach. And what beaches they are! Just take a look at the Lagoon of Seven Colours at Bacalar! And, because Mexico has such a great infrastructure, taking a self-drive around the Yucatan Peninsula (have a look at our ‘Best of Mexico Yucatan Peninsula’ trip) can keep costs down and make the trip much more ‘at your own pace’ toddler-friendly.

Toddler and young boy playing on a sand beach in Mexico beach on toddler-friendly holiday

Sand and a warm azure ocean… what’s not to love about Mexico’s beaches

10. Toddler-friendly holidays in Thailand

The Land of Smiles is as welcoming as it is diverse and beautiful. Thailand truly offers something for everyone, whether you choose to travel in the jungles of the north or beaches of the south (doing both, though, is perhaps not ideal for toddlers). Flights are direct, and because Thailand’s tourist industry is so well developed, there’s a huge range of family-friendly accommodation on offer, from 5-star luxury hotels to bare-foot chic bungalows, where you can sit back and relax with an ice-cold beer whilst knowing your toddler is safe sleeping inside. Take a look at our Top Ten Thailand with Kids blog for ideas of what you can do or our sample itineraries, ‘Highlights of Thailand’ or ‘Southern Thailand Adventure’

Four young children enjoying a kids show in Thailand - toddler-friendly holidays abroad

Younger kids will enjoy an interactive show in Thailand

We’ve been travelling with toddlers and young children too…

As parents ourselves, we understand that you’ll want to be as clued up as possible ahead of your trip. If you’re still unsure about something, do give us a call 01728 752751 or email. If there are other countries, not covered here, you’d like to visit with younger family members – like Costa Rica – ask us for the best way to do this. There are no silly questions!

Travelling with toddlers - baby on the beach in Costa Rica

One of our younger travellers enjoying time on the beach in Costa Rica