Travelling with kids – part two, into the inferno.
So I think it would be fair to say that we have covered airplane travel relatively comprehensively (if by comprehensive you mean in a kind of crappy yet witty and insightful way here , here and here) but there is always the other bit – when you actually get there. Oh yes, the holiday itself. I’ve just been on one and although I know most things in the world, as I’ve mentioned before, a far cleverer friend than me says that every time you travel you learn a new thing about travelling with your children. I think she might be right. Plus, she’s a lot taller than me, and currently about 11 months pregnant, so I usually agree with most things she says, lest she clout me over the ear. Anyway – some tips….
- Most importantly – do it. Travel. Get out there. Most places can be done with kids. Unless it’s a twenty two star adults only resort. Don’t take kids there – unless you plan to hide them in your room the whole time. But that might be a bit boring. Even if they do like DVDs.
- If you’ve got a newborn, even more definitely get out there. Most places are a lot easier with a baby who sleeps in a pram than a noisy, sometimes sweary, 2 year old.
- Remember you’ve got kids. I know – it’s hard to ignore those small people tugging at your clothes and rolling around the floor – I do try SO hard though. Let go of the concept of a holiday being a relaxing break. There will be moments of relaxation if you’re lucky, but it’s time to embrace holidays as fun rather than relaxing. Sometimes I get carried away imagining holidays of the past and trying to recreate the pre-children adventures. It can’t be done. Well, actually it can, but you need to halve the activities and slow the pace right down. You can’t do pool in morning, beach in afternoon, drinks at the bar, dinner and then drinks and clubbing all in one day. I know, it’s gutting, but to be honest – you should have thought of that a wee bit earlier. Like before you got pregnant. Sorry, I’m just saying.
- Take a black out blind. Or black garbage bags. It might save many hours sleep. Also, have wipes everywhere. They can fix anything from dirty faces to sandy cameras.
- Create a packing list on your computer. Update it once a year and then just print and pack. Obsessive people could take it with them to check off items on repacking. Not that I would ever do something like that.
- I’m standing by my lollypop ploy when flying. The very very best moment to administer to any child aged between about 18 months and 5 is when you are landing – the following half an hour of going through customs/collecting bags/collecting hire car is probably the worst moment of your life half hour of the travelling experience. A dead quiet child sitting sucking a lollypop is nothing short of a miracle from above.
- Think of all the other things you might need, especially with small children – cots, highchairs, prams, Bamix, DVDs, toys etc. And then beg for them. If you’re staying with friends/family, and they don’t have them, ask them to ask people with kids to lend the gear. If you’re staying in a villa/B&B etc, ask before you go – you’d be amazed at the stuff they can come up with (Taliban aside, most people are quite nice, and frankly, I don’t think the Taliban are doing too much private villa letting. Not at the moment anyway – who knows, maybe that’s the end game for them – domination of the villa market. Maybe not. Sorry, too early for Taliban jokes?). And if you’re staying at a resort, ask what they have, what hire facilities they have for gear etc.
- If you can possibly afford it (on top of all the Rosé that needs to be bought), try and arrange some babysitting/nanny time. It can ALWAYS be found. It will mean you will get a holiday too.
- If you’re dealing with small children and you’re staying in a self-catering type arrangement, do a few hours cooking on the first day and avoid the boring boring ‘what will the kids eat tonight’ and last minute cooking of dodgy couscous/broccoli type arrangements every single day. Not that I would feed my own daughter the same couscous broccoli dish every day. I’m just saying for others. It will free up much early evening Rosé drinking time.
- There is very little that an ice-cream bribe can’t fix. Especially for husbands.