There’s a real thrill to swapping the UK’s unpredictable weather for guaranteed winter sun. But ditching holiday jumpers in favour of swimwear and sun lotion is an odd feeling! We talk to Emma Watson, child-friendly travel enthusiast and founder of kid’s accessories brand Little Hotdog Watson, to find out how she preps for winter sun with her toddler:
Hi Emma, we know you’re an advocate for getting outdoors at any time of year but tell us about your last winter break in the sunshine?
I’ve always loved going on holiday outside of the ‘usual’ summer trips even before we had our daughter, H. I love escaping the cold weather. We’ve just come back from Vis, Croatia. It’s a tiny island a 2.5hour ferry ride from Split. The island is very chilled out and peaceful. Nothing but warm seas, rocky beaches, jetties and local cafes and bars. You won’t find a Starbucks or any large chains. There are very few cars and it’s perfect for cycling and sailing if you like a bit of action too.
What are you biggest concerns when it comes to keeping your toddler safe and comfortable on holiday?
My biggest concern is protection from the sun UVA and UVB rays. Our first ever family holiday was a bit of a disaster, but it was also the inspiration for the business. I had visions of relaxing on the beach with our family and instead I was worried about my daughter getting burnt and bitten by mosquitoes. I always pack several of our hats, high factor sun cream and a loose long sleeve cotton tee and trousers for H so I can cover her up and she’s still comfy.
What 5 items are a must on your packing list when heading on a sunny winter break?
Five is always a challenge especially with children. My days of travelling with just hand luggage are long gone.
- Sunhats + sunglasses!
- A laundry bag. This is a strange one but limits the mess when you’re away, making it easier to sort out clothes on return and preventing embarrassment if your case ever opens.
- Stickers and lots of them. They are the smallest ‘toy’ to pack, perfect for entertainment on planes and when dining out.
- Pack of cards for when the kids are in bed and you’re relaxing on your balcony.
What tip would you give to keep the whole family sane when holidaying in the heat?
The first family holiday we went on, we tried to stick to H’s routine. It didn’t work for any of us! Now we go with the flow of the day. We often all take a long afternoon nap. It keeps us out of the midday sun and means we can go out for a later dinner.
What does your daughter love most about holidaying?
She loves the time we all get to spend together. That and collecting stones. We came back from this trip with two bags of stones!
What about when the weather takes a turn for the worst… what are your favourite ways to have fun outdoors as a family, rain or shine?
If the weather is bad, we’ll always opt for a museum or art gallery trip but otherwise we love to see as much of our destination possible. My favourite thing to is wander around and see what new adventures we can find. My husband is really into cycling so on a few trips we’ve hired bikes too. As a family we love great food and most holidays we cook as many meals as we do eat out; visiting a local food market is always on the agenda.
Tell us a bit about Little Hotdog Watson… Why did you start and how do your designs benefit intrepid young travellers (and their parents)?
After that first disaster holiday with our toddler, I spent a year designing and developing our hats and testing them with 100 families all over the world until I got it right. Our hats protect up to UPF50+ from UV rays. They have a special finish that protects little faces from mosquitos and temperature regulating fabric to stop over-heating. The best thing though, is just being able to relax knowing you’re going to have a lovely holiday.
Finally, what would your dream holiday look like?
As a family I would love to take a 6-8 week driving holiday through America. I have family in Colorado, USA and spent my summers travelling around the states with my family. I would love to re-visit some of my childhood memories with my daughter and husband. I’d start in Colorado, head through the Rockies to the Grand Canyon, onto Hoover Dam, Vegas, then a quick flight to California and then a final stop in New York, where we got married. I would love to spend part of it travelling in a Winnebago and the rest in gorgeous hotels.
Where’s your dream destination for a spot of winter sunshine? Head on over to our baby-friendly villas today and plan your next getaway. Just don’t forget to pack the sunhats!