Holidays with lads and lasses.
We’ve been on 4 family holidays abroad since becoming parents 3 years ago and countless holidays in the UK. I would actually say going abroad is EASIER. My two love to be out doors and in the pool and that’s not always possible back home in sunny Blighty. I find the less clothes the better, no socks and shoes most of the time and a carefree attitude that only comes with being abroad.
Most people I’ve chatted to are worried about flying with toddlers especially as they tend to not sit still. I must admit I found babies easier to fly with but I still don’t find it too bad with a 3 year old and 18month old.
Here are some tips for flying:
- Pick your flight times well. Really consider what you think will be the best time for your children to fly. Are they morning kids? Are they able to nap on you? Do you want to be in the air during nap time?
- Food. Take lots of snacks. We usually get a boots meal deal and munch our way through that.
- Don’t take too much stuff to keep them entertained. Sounds mad right? But generally there is little room to do anything or put anything. Pens will end up on the floor. Toys will end up under the seat in front. Do not bother. We take an iPad with a few games and programmes on and that’s it. The CBeebies App and Netflix are winners for the download options. Make sure you are stocked up.
- If you have a baby or still dummy requirement- tie them to a Muslin cloth at each corner. A teether toy on one corner and then a dummy on the other corners. It’s really hard to find a dummy that has dropped on the floor of a plane. I know this. A large muslin is harder to loose.
- Get on last. Wait. We are always the very last people to get on the plane. Let the kids run around until the last minute. You can be on the plane 15/20 mins waiting for people to board if you get on first.
- Don’t be afraid to have a walk up and down the aisle. Hang out outside the loos if your little ones need a change of scene.
- Do not worry what any one else thinks. Do whatever you have to do. Literally stuff anyone else. You and your babies have as much of a right to be there as anyone else. Even if they are screaming- let the haters hate and stay calm.
- Book your seats in advance. I find being near the loos is best- people constantly passing will keep your little one entertained and you usually haven’t got to wait for the trolley to pass, it’s gone pass your bit quickly.
- Keep your hand luggage small. We usually just take a back pack and the boys trunki case. This is so you don’t have to put it in the overhead locker. You need it accessible under the seat in front. When packing it keep some space for your meal deal! And again, don’t take too much just the essentials.
- Keep positive. Make it fun and exciting. It will be totally fine. Trust me.
As regards the actual holiday. We have only ever gone All inclusive. I just find this SO much easier. One less thing to worry about. Food, drinks, ice cream at your disposal, any time of day. We actually went when Eden was weaning and it was brilliant. He tried so many different foods and fruit.
Our holiday routine goes like this.
- Wake up between 7.30am-8.30am.
- Apply suncream (always get a coat on before you leave the room. Do it naked and get a good base layer)
- Take towels, arm bands, swim nappies, swim shorts and suncream and leave at the pool on the sun beds.
- Head for breakfast 9.30 ish.
- After breakfast go for a play in the hotel park facilities or go for a walk if heading out for the day.
- Nap for smallest baby around midday.
- Lunch usually had around the pool.
- Swim and more play.
- Go out for a walk to the beach or the shops around 3/4pm to get the oldest to have a sleep so he can stay up late!!
- Come back and have one more swim!
- Back up to the room to eat ready for dinner.
- Dinner usually around 8pm
- Evening entertainment and boys will fall asleep in their buggies between 9-10pm.
- Transfer them to their beds when entertainment over!
That is a general routine we have on holiday, this will sometimes differ if we have days out. We actually just go with the flow and what the boys want to do. Holidays are all about being carefree and not having too much of a routine! We did have one night ‘in’ this time. It was full on for the lads and a lot of late nights so we just had a chill night and early-ish bed time. I think Mummy and Daddy needed it more than the lads to be honest!!!
My essentials for the boys for holidays are:
- A hooded towel that you can put over their heads. Both boys have mainly lived in theirs the last week. Just chuck it on as soon as they get out of the pool.
- Buggys. Buggy’s are essential- even though Eden is 3, holidays are tiring and he regularly climbs in for a nap, or sit down. They also sleep in them in the evening when we stay up.
- Some sandals that can get wet and are easy to put on and off. Velcro. We had a Nike pair for the boys and a £2.50 rubber pair from Asda that were amazing. I’m not a massive Crocs fan so these do the same thing.
- Arm bands. The boys love arm bands and they give them so much confidence in the water. We’ve tried those jackets but you can’t beat good old fashioned arm bands. We bought Xander a pair from the supermarket here for -€3. The simple ones are the best. He had an expensive Speedo pair that had a double chamber but they were too fussy. Simple ones with one valve are the easiest- leave them inflated and squeeze them on and off whenever they want to go in.
- Loads of tshirts and soft shorts. Get yourself down Primark for this. Ice cream, suncream, all inclusive spag Bol has covered the boys this week and they’ve gone through 2/3 tshirts a day. But having so many, and cheap ones too, means you won’t stress and can just change it when it’s filthy.
- A spray sun tan lotion. We are lucky in the sense that the boys are not prone to burning but it’s so essential to keep suncream topped up. We just spray them from head to toe every hour. I don’t actually use a kids suncream as I find it too thick. I use a normal factor 30 adults one. I usually get this abroad as all suncream abroad has the top UV rating- the UK is the only country that does the “star” rating and the majority of them are not 5 stars (ie the top UV protection). Even big brands like Garnier and Nivea are not the top UV protection. If you want to get suncream in the UK get Soltan from Boots as it’s five stars.
- A top to toe wash- get a wash for the kids that can do their hair and body to avoid taking too many products. It also doubles up as bubble bath if you put some in while running.
- Don’t worry too much about packing the kitchen sink. Unless you are going somewhere really far out all places will have your essentials. Believe it or not other countries have babies too! Xander developed a taste for Spanish kids milk while we were in Ibiza (he was under one year) and this time I have bought wet wipes whilst out here etc. This will save space in your case.
- A Tupperware box. I don’t know about your kids but mine tend to eat ALL day long. Take a Tupperware box and fill with food from the all inclusive buffet. Especially if you are going out. I don’t think you are actually allowed to do this but oh well. I take fruit, make a sandwich, take biscuits, bits of cheese- you name it. It’s a life saver when on a bus journey or trek to the sand dunes. Or take a soft cool box style lunch bag. I’m currently putting some in for the drive to the airport tonight. Savvy.
- Don’t bother with pyjamas. I don’t think my boys ever make it into pjs once on holidays. They just stay in their shorts or sleep just in their under-crackers. We are just too busy having fun.
I would really recommend if you are contemplating a holiday abroad to DO IT. The boys learn so much in just a week away. They have so much fun. Even better if you can join up with other families or grandparents- this is great. 2 out of 4 of our holidays abroad were with grandparents, aunties and uncles etc. Having said that, our holidays alone as just a four were really amazing. Memories to be made and all that.