How to keep the kids entertained during your travels to the Costa del Sol

photo by CC user 22209194@N03 on Flickr

Whether it’s a tantrum over a homebound teddy bear, an instantaneous attack of needing the toilet or sudden tiredness, children don’t care how far away from home you might be when they decide to act up. It can be a challenge to take little ones travelling, so here are some tips to help you cope when the going gets tough on your adventures to sunny Malaga.

On the plane

Hours of being confined to a limited space can prove frustrating for the children, a headache for other passengers and a nightmare for parents, so plan your in-flight entertainment carefully before jetting off. All reasonable parenting restrictions are off, and you’ll need bribery, favourite snacks and an arsenal of video games to make it to your destination without breaking a sweat! Why not bring along a DVD player and a new film they haven’t seen before? Stock up on gummy bears and juice. Plenty of spare headphones (and a headphone splitter) should prevent any serious contretemps, and a soft comforter stashed in your carry-on bag might even incentivise a little nap time before landing!

The itinerary

Any trip to the Costa del Sol should include its capital city, Malaga. It’s rich in cultural hotspots, which will prove exciting enough for even young children if pitched in the right way. Learn about art together at the Picasso Museum, or visit the Baroque Cathedral; its extravagant interior is like something from a fairy tale, and should inspire enough awe to stifle protestations with grandeur alone. Beyond city limits, take little animal lovers to the Donkey Sanctuary, a 40 minute drive from the city centre, or to the crocodile park at nearby Torremelinos.

At dinner

There’s something about waiting to order a meal that can turn the gentlest little cherub into a bawling fiend, especially in the case of toddlers. Don’t make the mistake of attempting a sophisticated dining experience; avoid anywhere with white tablecloths, wine glasses on the table or a live pianist. Order the kids’ meals to come with your starter, and bring coloring books or quiet toys they can get stuck in about at the table. Ice cream at the end of the meal is an excellent bonus incentive to good behaviour. Tapas is a great idea for slightly older kids – it’s easy to order, fun to pick at and arrives at the table quickly.

With its friendly locals, exciting resorts and delicious, fuss-free cuisine, the Costa del Sol is a great destination for families with children of any age. Just remember to anticipate problems well in advance, plan your itinerary and do a little research before you go, for an (almost!) stress-free holiday.

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