As I mentioned in my last post I have just returned to Birmingham from Ayia Napa, Cyprus. It was fab! Sun, Sea and much needed relaxation time (even with the kids)!
It has taken me a long time to pluck up the courage to go abroad with the children, my eldest (Bubbles) being two and a half and youngest (Choochi) just over one. I haven't been on holiday in 3 years!!!! The last time was when I was pregnant with Bubbles.
I have always been so worried about the kids being too much of a handful, what with travelling through airports and on planes. But I am so happy to say that everything went much better than I thought and we actually had a great holiday. The best actually.
I thought I would write a post for all those parents who are in the same situation as me and give you some travelling tips!
When booking a holiday obviously the first thing you think about is location. We thought long and hard about where we wanted to go. I know there are a lot of braver parents out there that take their kids back packing (my husband would probably love to do that), but I wanted somewhere relaxing where we could just chill, and wouldn't have to travel around too much. That said, it's important to keep the kids occupied, so we made sure our hotel was child friendly. The Atlantica Sun Garden hotel had a children's outdoor and indoor play area, a toddler pool that was shaded, and was 300 metres from the beach, which was perfect, as when we weren't in our room or outside the resort, they still had plenty to do. I would definitely visit again!
2. Moving around:
I am going to start with the logistics of actually travelling with two children under three. Luckily Choochi had just started to walk properly a few weeks before we departed. Even so we still needed the pushchair for when she got tired. The company we flew with allow you extra allowance for things like pushchairs and carseats. So make use of this, especially if you are hiring a car, as then there is no need to pay extra to hire them. Because Choochi is still light enough to fit in the papoose we also took this with us. This was great for when we needed our hands free, i.e when handing over boarding passes and passports or when having to walk for miles to the boarding gate. Although, to be completely honest, at times both children refused to go in the push chair or papoose which left us holding them aswell as pushing the pushchair. Luckily the ratio was one adult to one child!
3. Snacks, snacks and more snacks!
Now, when it comes to food, I always take snacks with me. In general, you never know when something may happen or you may get stranded. So like most people I don't travel light. Of course you can buy things at the airport and on the plane, if you don't mind the hefty price.
The travelling days are long. We were at the airport for 7am and didn't get to the hotel in Cyprus until 4pm. At home, my children will usually have a couple of snacks and lunch during this time, so I accounted for this. However when children are bored, they tend to eat more. I also took some sort of sweet for them to chew or suck on, on the plane. Choochi was fine as she had her dummy.
When it comes to liquids, remember to empty your child's beaker before you go through security. This can then be refilled once you get through. It's also a good idea to check the security policies of the country you are flying to as when traveling back Cyprus did not have the same rules about liquids so we were allowed to have them pre filled.
I also packed snacks in the checked in luggage, to keep in our hotel room, which my husband couldn't seem to understand as we were 'all inclusive', but you just never know!
4. Keeping them entertained.
The part I was most worried about was the flight. I knew once we arrived at the hotel, the actual holiday would be great, but the thought of the flight gave me the most anxiety. Especially with it being over four and a half hours. We flew with a budget airline, and there was no in flight entertainment. So we took our own entertainment: a tablet with pre downloaded films and headphones, colouring book and crayons, books to read, and small toys. This practically took up a whole hand luggage allowance, but it was well worth it.
At times I could see myself over thinking situations and getting carried away but then my husband reminded me to chill out! So all I can do is reiterate this. Relax! You deserve this holiday and are entitled to have some chill out time so make the most of it. Also, just take everything in your stride. If something out of the ordinary happens you will deal with it when it does.
I hope I have inspired some of you to bite the bullet and go on that long deserved holiday. If any of you have any travel tips I would love to hear them for next time!