If you thought a relaxing and stylish holiday with your children was a remote possibility then we've got a pleasant surprise for you.
In our handpicked, hand crafted world of blissful family holidays, we've shelved the fuddy-duddy legacy of ‘self-catering' and created a whole new world of family holiday possibilities.
...And thrillingly, we're leading the way in creating a whole new concept in family friendly villas and cottages.
Our approach is unique and based on our belief that your family holiday is so important that it has to be as perfect as possible. That's why we've done your holiday homework - even the dull bits – to keep your children safe, to safeguard your holiday and to give you complete peace of mind.
So, here's a snapshot of what the Tots To Travel Team does to safeguard your precious family holiday. We are the one and only family holiday company going to such extreme lengths on your behalf.
This means that you can look at any of the beautiful villas and cottages on the site and choose the one that you love the most.
No other family holiday company goes to such extreme lengths to give you the peace of mind and a fabulous family holiday.
Choosing the very best great locations for families is a top priority so our team has scoured Europe in search of places that we think you'll love. Whether it's a secret hideaway off the beaten track at Finca La Luci on a Spanish hillside, all year round sunshine in a luxury villa in Gran Canaria or you fancy testing the flow rider on a short break near Padstow in Cornwall, then you're in the right place.
Once we're happy with the location, then we set about covering off the basics – this means keeping your children safe and ensuring you have the Essential Kit that you need.
Our work ensures that every pool is either enclosed or has some physical barrier to prevent the unthinkable, that you have a minimum of 20 baby and child friendly items from our Essential Kit and that the villa or cottage that you choose has been carefully vetted with an eye on keeping your children safe and creating environments for you to concentrate on having a fabulous family holiday.
Tots To Travel is the only family holiday company going to such extreme lengths to safeguard your holiday.
When my son Barnaby fell into an unenclosed swimming pool on a family holiday in France in 2005, it set in train an unstinting commitment to providing safe, family friendly holiday homes that provide the perfect backdrop for your holiday.
So it'll come as no surprise to find out that we don't faff around when it comes to pool safety.
Every single villa has some form of pool barrier. It could be a fence, a hard cover or an enclosure around the patio. A pool alarm does not cut the mustard as far as we are concerned; we believe that a physical barrier is necessary.
For the record, we are the only family friendly holiday company where every pool is barrier-ed in some way for child safety; it's too scary to have it any other way.
The next step is to visit the villa or cottage ourselves (it's a tough job but someone has to do it !). The emphasis is on making the place as safe as possible.
Our due diligence procedures have been based on a system that we developed with the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) to identify the hazards that really cause hurt and we take this part of our job very seriously.
Among other things, we are measuring bannister and balcony railings, window heights and checking that blind cords are out of reach and ensure that safety features are put in place where necessary. The list goes on but you get the picture. We're really nailing into what causes child accidents and doing the thinking so you don't have to.
On top of that we ensure that the obvious safety features that you take for granted at home are in place, this includes stairgates and cupboards locks where necessary, that bleach and other chemicals are locked away and knives and glasses are out of reach.
Sometimes, it is impossible to mitigate hazards completely and in these instances you will find that we have Parent Point-ed this information. This allows you to make a decision on whether a property is suitable for your family or not.
For the most part this very much depends on the age of your children and the "phase" that they are in. For example when your child is in the early stages of learning to walk and is in the 'wobbly' bit, split levels are a particular nightmare. A few months later, you're into another phase and different challenges present themselves.
In short, it's safety first. That way you can get on with the important job of enjoying your precious family holiday.
The next step in "covering off the basics" is to ensure that you have all the child and baby friendly kit that you take for granted at home. This means you can travel light safe in the knowledge that you will have what you need when you get there.
So our family friendly villas and cottages are especially well kitted out with at least 20 items that we deem to be our minimum standards. Of course many of our properties will have much more kit than this but we had to draw the line somewhere!
So this Kit has all the obvious and bulky "stuff" like cots and high chairs which is where most other holiday companies begin and end. Our unique Essential Kit Guarantee includes blackout blinds, hand blenders, baby monitors, toys and more.
This Essential Kit Guarantee leaves you free to browse the Tots To Travel website, safe in the knowledge that whichever villa, cottage or apartment you choose, you'll have exactly what you need for your holiday with your children.
...and in many cases, our child friendly villas and cottages often provide more than one of each, making our properties ideal for families with twins and multiples or for groups of families travelling together.
While we are on the topic, if you would like an extra cot or need something specific, then ask. More often than not our strong relationship with our Hosts means that the extras just aren't a problem.
I'm often asked what's my best piece of advice when it comes to planning a holiday with babies and children. And I always say, 'get expert help'. That one piece of advice alone will save you hours of searching, hours of wasted time and ultimately save you from making an expensive mistake.
My team know what it's like to holiday with small children and babies.
They know where the pressure points are and they know which of our child and baby friendly villas and cottages are just right for you.
They know just the right questions to ask and they'll listen carefully to your requirements.
Then they'll create a bespoke shortlist of villas or cottages that are just perfect for your family. And they'll keep hunting for the perfect villa or cottage until we find one that hits the mark.
This attention to detail is just part of why we have won the prestigious Cisco Customer Kings Award for outstanding customer service and oodles of feedback from families who have trusted us with their precious family holidays.
To get your own bespoke shortlist and to speak to one of my team, click here.
We believe that successful holidays are all about the finer details…and that an otherwise wonderful holiday can be ruined by the absence of a baby monitor, an unhelpful owner or bad weather.
We can't do anything about the weather (other than provide you with a table of average weather temperatures in our Holiday Planner Pack click here for that) but we have done an awful lot about everything else.
Our years of being parents and of working with families just like yours means that we know an awful lot about the pitfalls of taking small children and babies on holiday.
So, here's what has gone on before a villa or cottage gets anywhere near our website to give you the high levels that you should demand of a family friendly holiday company.
Step 1) Every property that comes to us has to pass through our European Property Team. There are 4 of us in that team and we are tough to please. Ultimately our job is to scrutinise holiday villas or cottages so you don't have to. That's a job we take seriously.
Step 2) If, and only if a property passes through our European Property Team then we take it onto the vetting procedure which is a 2-4 hour visit to the villa or cottage in question. This visit follows a strict process aimed at ensuring that your children are as safe as possible, that the villa or cottage actually exists (click here to find out more about avoiding holiday lettings scams) and that we can whole heartedly recommend a villa or a cottage to you.
Tots To Travel requires that our Hosts mitigate child safety hazards such as open water, stairs and the width of balcony railing in order to fulfil Tots To Travel's very high Baby and Child Safety Standards.
Step 3) Every step of the way, our procedures have been designed to mitigate the pitfalls that we know families fall into time and time again. And quite often it's the owners who are the problem.
Cleanliness is a huge problem, service standards are another, not being really committed to the family market another and an old fashioned idea about what renting out a villa or cottage really means (bring your own sheets and mop out backwards), yet another.
I could go on. Suffice to say that we only work with Hosts who really 'get it.' And by 'get it' I mean they understand that in your pre-baby days that you were more likely to book a boutique hotel room than a shabby, self-catering cottage and now that you have children and babies in tow, they are committed to giving you the very best family holiday they possibly can.
And we work together, in partnership with our Hosts. In many cases we have been partners for years and high levels of trust have developed. We know this high level of partnership benefits to families like yours in lots of ways.
It means that you'll find our Essential Kit Guarantee of 20 items or more in every property and it means your find plenty of added extras that you will simply not find anywhere else.
For example at Retallack, the family friendly resort near Padstow in Cornwall, you'll find exclusive offers like a £25 spa voucher with every Tots to Travel booking on top of our Essential Kit Guarantee which is only guaranteed for Tots families.
At the fabulously popular Aubriete, Massette and Mill End holiday homes at the Watermill, in the Languedoc in the south of France, the Tots Only Mum Friendly Package comes with a full fridge of food, free babysitting, a pizza night and a spa treatment of your choice. These are exclusive, Tots only benefits that you'll only find when you book with us.
Step 4) Having covered off the basics, the team at Tots To Travel get into crafting wonderfully, memorable family experiences.
This is the fabulous details where the magic of our knowledge and experience of what makes family holidays special comes to life.
This magic is the childcare at Penny's Place where you can organise for Penny, the Norland Nanny extraordinaire, to arrive at 7am (in the morning that is) to pick up the children leaving you to have a blissful lie in. This is the magic where at Chateau Blanc an amazing Indian Banquet is laid on for one night of your stay or at the Watermill where a bag of carrots or apples are provided for you to feed the ponies.
These unique and memorable details have been crafted by people who truly care about your holiday and are indicative of the unique partnership that Tots To Travel has built up with our amazing Hosts.
And I could go on but I think you get the picture. Suffice to say, whichever villa or cottage you look at, you'll find Tots To Travel is playing a unique role in helping to craft a safe, stress free and memorable family holiday for you and your children.
With this level of attention to detail taken care of, you can go about choosing the villa or cottage that you love, safe in the knowledge that each and every villa or cottage has been carefully handpicked, for its extreme levels of family friendliness with you in mind.
Sadly, more and more we hear how booking a holiday home on the internet is fraught with risk. All our systems and procedures have been designed to safeguard your holiday and your money. With any booking that you make with Tots To Travel your money and therefore your holiday is safe. We know the owners of each property personally – we have met them all.
You can pay us (a UK company) using your debit or credit card (there is a 2% fee for using credit cards) and you don't have to risk sending your money abroad to a complete stranger which you will have to do with any direct booking.