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travelling with kids

Posted on July 5, 2011

“Its not a holiday.. It’s relocating somewhere else with less of your stuff…”

Guest post/ travelling with kids
“Its not a holiday.. It’s relocating somewhere else with less of your stuff…”
This is a guest post by the lovely Kate – who you can find on Twitter @F_etaK, thank you Kate x
By definition, a holiday is a day of “exception from work”, although if you have children you know that they are a 24-7 job, and that a holiday is no longer a holiday in the traditional sense, but merely a relocation somewhere else with less of your stuff.
BC (before children) we used to go on adventures; we visited El Salvador, we trekked in the jungles of Guatemala, did a road trip across Spain and saw the historical sights in Greece, but as soon as our children arrived everything changed.
For us a holiday is no longer about putting our feet up, sleeping late, having some down time, eating out every night and suiting ourselves. With our children, we could be on the moon but they will still wake at half six every morning regular as clockwork, still needing to be fed, watered and entertained. As soon as we got our heads around this and stopped longing for the relaxing holidays gone by, the more enjoyable our relocations became, So in our family, we treat every day as an adventure (no matter how small) and get our thrills from the little things and the new experiences we can share with our children.
We have two children. Beastie, a three year old boy into bugs and pretty ladies in equal doses and Mini Beast, who is a very sweet but loud 18 month old who eats like a horse and copies everything her brother does. As a duo they are a mass of energy and noise, very cheeky, feisty and I adore them, despite being driven to distraction almost daily.
We have just come back from a week in Norway, a week of adventures and new experiences and a week that was not too dissimilar to being at home. Was it a holiday? No but it was an adventure, if you see it through the eyes of a child.
Ok, so what do I mean by that? Take the airport for example, usually somewhere to stress, get through as fast as possible, a place where you need to hurry up and wait.
But we left a ridiculous amount of time to get to the airport and check in, I mean hours and hours! But it did mean that we could deal with a meltdown if it happened (with two adults and two children up at 3am the chances were high!), that we could go at toddler speed, marvel at the things us grown ups take for granted, like the moving floors, watching the bags get taken away, chatting to the lady at the desk and seeing the planes take off. To a toddler, an airport is a magical place, that produces many questions such as “Mummy what’s that man doing?” “Where are the bags going?” “Can I sit on this?”
Beastie asked how the plane took off and was told among other things that planes are unable to take off if children made too much noise (worth having up your sleeve!), we let them pack their own Trunkies with toys. We had sticker books, cars, dolls and even  Mini Beasts tea cups – I’m not sure security expected to see that! We had the familiar favourites because being 18 months old new things are scary and if a small teapot helps you have fun, then so be it.
Beastie used the toilet and declared to the plane “Daddy, I had a sky wee!” because even that was something very cool! Everything, no matter how small they seem to us, are huge new experiences for children.
We tried new foods, walked by the fjords, watched the boats pass by yelling HELLO at the top of our voices, we hid from the wind and rain in the trees. We stomped in the woods, skimmed stones on the lake, went to the shops, held a fish that was as big as Mini Beast and got plenty of early nights.
Did we get to see the Scream by Edvard Munch? Did we drink cocktails by the fjord and experience Oslo nightlife? Of course not, but we found a fantastic park in the middle of Oslo with a climbing frame that sent the beasties off the scale of excitement! Ok, so it wasn’t high culture but we wiled away an afternoon playing and running about. We sang songs as we walked along, chased pigeons and looked at the statues. The highlight of the day? Finding a big hill and watching as hubbie and Beastie rolled all the way down to the bottom
At the moment, as I write this, I am in the Isle of Wight on ‘holiday’, in little cottage on the south coast for a week. Would I call this a holiday? Not after the day I have had.
Just this morning a very mischievous beastie was removed from the aquarium for being naughty, loud, dropping his trousers and doing the exact opposite of what we were asking him to do. We had a melt down followed with a wailing of “Mummy, I don’t want to go home!” repeated multiple times, through tears, screams and sobs.
We know why, the night before, we stayed up late on the beach playing. Bedtime was about 3 hours later than normal but we all woke at the same time. The whole day Hubbie and I have played good cop, bad cop and referee.
We always pay for our pleasures!
So we scrapped our plans for the day, headed back to “the little house” for lunch and had an afternoon of doing nothing. Hubbie is reading, Mini Beast is asleep, Beastie is playing with his train and I am doing this.
But I’m relaxing, I have no washing, housework or jobs hanging over my head. I picked up a book yesterday and Hubbie and I have drunk more wine and spent time together these last few days than we have done in what seems forever. Our evenings are full of late evening sunshine and chat, rather than getting things done before they wake up in the morning.
So we are on holiday, but not in the usual sense, and despite today I am unwinding in a funny sort of way, and I might not be watching the sun set in Ibiza or soaking the culture in Italy, but I have relocated, with less of our stuff, and a different mindset.
Posted on July 2, 2011

30 Useful Tips for Travelling with Babies & Kids

Guest post/ travelling with kids

30 Useful Tips for Travelling with Babies & Kids

We all love to go on holiday with our family, but the relaxing ‘break’ can be a stress-filled nightmare. If you take a few things into consideration, your stress level can be lowered tremendously.

1. Remember that preparing to travel with children will take longer than if you are travelling alone.

2. Once you reach your destination, remember that children move at a slower pace than adults do.

3. If you have older children, talk to them before the trip and find out what they would like to do.

4. For the smaller children be sure to take any ‘special’ items they need for the actual journey (nappies, bottles, pacifiers, medication).

5. Once you reach your destination, you can find a local supermarket to purchase the supplies you will need while there or hire a local company for deliveries.

6. Children’s clubs are available in some popular holiday destinations.

7. If you get your children interested in your holiday destination, they will enjoy it that much more.

8. If you are travelling with small babies, a hand-held carrycot is a good choice.
A sling is also an option to consider when travelling.

9. A travel cot that breaks down and packs away is extremely useful for toddlers and babies that are too big for the carrycot.

10. A stroller or a pram can be helpful even when your child can walk. This will help by giving them a place to rest during the day, and help carry bags.

11. If you have children that crawl on the floor, consider taking a clean plastic sheet with you to let them play on.

12. If it were necessary for you to sterilise bottles, etc. on a regular basis, a portable steriliser would be very helpful.

13. If you need to breastfeed while on holiday research and find out how the locals feel toward breastfeeding in public. If you are not sure, try to breastfeed in an area that is predominately visited by women.

14. If anyone you are travelling with has a serious allergy, have him or her make an ‘allergy card’ in the language of your holiday destination.

15. If you plan on travelling overseas, have everyone visit your GP two months prior to your departure date have your GP note everyone‘s blood group for you to take.

16. Take the entire family’s vaccination records for the GP to view.

17. Should any of your children have a medical condition, ask your GP to assist you in finding a doctor who specialises in that condition in your holiday destination.

18. If you have an excessive amount of baggage, you may consider sending bulky items and suitcases to your holiday destination by a delivery company.

19. When flying, to receive help with the bags and children on the way to the plane, ask for the meet and assist services from the airline while booking your flight (availability depends on the staffing on that given day).

20. Checking in online is now available with most airlines. You will be able to book your preferred seats from home. At the airport, there is a ‘fast-track’ queue where you will deposit your luggage that has been checked.

21. Members of a frequent-flyer club may have access to a private lounge. If you are not a frequent-flyer member, you can usually purchase a day pass.

22. Airplane cabins can sometimes cause mild dehydration and irritated dry nostrils. It is important that the children drink frequently.

23. A streaming nose can sometimes occur; to solve this problem just wet the inside of the nostrils by dipping a finger in water and placing it in the nose.

24. Flying can cause air expansion throughout the sinuses and middle ear. Babies and infants have small ear passages so this is painful for them. Massage behind the babies ears and gently tug on the earlobes a few times.

25. Toddlers should be drinking or sucking on something during landing and take-off, this helps relieve their ear popping.

26. Whenever you are visiting popular tourist attractions remember to decide on a meeting place should anyone get lost. If you will be in an area with large crowds, a reward offered for remaining together is usually a very good incentive.

27. Try to plan where you will go on each day. Have everyone make a note of things that they would like to do in order of their importance. Even though you will not necessarily be able to accomplish all of these things, you will be able to prioritize.

28. Be sure to have some ideas of things to do should the weather be uncooperative. Adjust your schedule accordingly.

29. When at different tourist attractions be sure to get a map and locate the toilets in each area. When the little ones have to go, the last thing you need is to search for the loo.

30. Be sure to take sun block and insect repellent spray with you if necessary for the time of year your travel.

These 30 tips should help to make your holiday be more enjoyable. Just remember, we cannot predict how the kids will do, all we can do is try to be prepared. The most important thing is to make joyful holiday memories together; a little planning should make that possible.

This post was written as a guest post by Mums Mall – an online shopping comparison mall dedicated to helping mums get the best deals online when shopping for baby/maternity products, toys and children’s clothing.
Posted on June 23, 2011

Guest Post – Kids on Planes

Guest post/ travelling with kids

The lovely Jacq from Mymumdom is here today to share with us her experience of flying with kids – she first posted this on her blog back in April but has updated it slightly for us to feature here! Thanks hon x

Kids On Planes

If there is a phrase more likely to bring parents out in a cold sweat, I’d like to hear it.

We’ve flown different distances, with varying numbers of children, over the years and our mantra pre boarding has always been ‘How bad can it be?’ Our in-flight mantra is often a little different.

As I originate from NZ, we’ve flown from LHR to AKL a few times now. It takes at least 21 hours depending on  your stopover. Don’t fly through LA unless you have no choice. This airport must be the world’s least welcoming transit lounge and there is absolutely nothing for kids ( or adults) to do while you wait. Changi, in Singapore, on the other hand is brilliant and gets a big thumbs up from the Mumdom.

We’ve had some horrific times on these ultra-longhaul flights.

Once, when the two older DD’s were  1 and 3, I flew home by myself with them. DH joined us later. We were in a the financial position to fly business class and the looks on my fellow traveller’s faces as we turned left is something I will dine on for the rest of my life.  Fantastic! But that was as good as it got. The rest of the flight was pretty bad.

One problem was, the seats didn’t lie right back. They went flat enough so the girls could get to sleep, but the slight incline meant that as they slept, they slowly slid down the slope and finally ended up on the floor. Then they cried, waking me and their sister up so I  had to spend the next half hour hushing both of them back to sleep.

When they were awake, they were too young to be interested in the personal TVs and all they wanted to do was climb out of their seats and run around. I’ve never been a fan of letting kids walk up and down the aisle in planes; there is not really enough room, turbulence is always a possibility and it’s annoying for other passengers. I had to work very hard to keep them both sitting down.

But DD1 had recently been toilet trained and soon realised that a call of nature was a cast iron excuse for being allowed out of her seat. One of the advantages of not being in cattle class is the stewards will sit with your other child(ren) if you have to leave them, so I didn’t have to squeeze 3 human beings into a  toilet cubicle.

After a few trips back and forth, she actually managed to produce something, meaning I had to flush the toilet and that’s when things went wrong.

DD1 went ballistic at the scary noise and started screaming and screaming, she wouldn’t stop.  I got her out of the loo but she wouldn’t move from the aisle and at that point DD2, back in her seat, started crying too. Heads were turning and eyes were rolling by now.
DD2 seemed genuinely distressed, while DD1 was having a tantrum, so the steward went and stood gamely by a furious DD1 while I tried to calm her younger sister down.  While DD2 quietened down with a cuddle, DD1 seemed to be  getting louder, then I heard the steward call my name.  My eldest had the unfortunate tendency to disrobe in the throes of a tantrum, so I looked around to see a butt-naked 3-year-old slip under the curtain between business and 1st class and heard her screams travel forward as she moved to the front of the plane.

She was soon returned by a grim-faced stewardess but I gather she’d managed to give most of the first class passengers quite a fright before they caught her.

A fractious baby may cry for a large percentage of the flight but mostly they sleep and feed. Older kids are usually thrilled to have their own personal TV and if they also have their DS or PSP, then it’s likely you’ll not hear from them until the plane lands.

Preschoolers, on the other hand, will probably need a little extra amusement, so board the plane prepared. Pack snacks, small toys, puzzles, colouring and sticker books,  load up your iThing with toddler friendly apps and bring out something new every half hour or so. Have a couple of changes of clothes to hand, twice as many nappies/ pants as you think you’ll need and some wet wipes. Cabin Crew definitely prefer clean, badly behaved children to the other sort.

Just make sure your bag containing these essential things doesn’t end up in the hold by mistake.

And just because your kids are older, it doesn’t mean your flight will be trouble-free. It’s not a bad idea to have a change of clothing for everyone in the cabin as things get spilt and tummies can get upset at 33,000ft.  There are often queues for toilets, so children should be encouraged to go to the loo regularly, as if they leave it until the last minute, it may be too late.

We’ve learned many other lessons from our previous flights: check there is on board entertainment and catering before you board a plane with nothing but toiletries in your bag, antihistamines cause some children to become hyperactive rather than drowsy ( do a trial run first), take plenty of batteries for any hand held devices you might want to use and children don’t necessarily sleep just because it’s a night flight. We now prefer to fly during the day and stop over for the night times, so we can get some sleep in a proper bed.

Since writing this we have survived a holiday to Sri Lanka/ the Maldives and back, and can confirm air travel with children is like a fine wine. It improves with age.

But I would like add a warning about the cartons of juice that they hand out at 33 000ft. They expand due to the pressurized cabin, and take on the appearance of small, fluid filled balloons. The children will think this is amazing, but if the drink is sat on, they will go POP, and create the appearance of you having lost control of your bladder at some point during the flight.

Which brings me back to the point about ensuring you have a change of clothes for EVERYONE…

Posted on May 25, 2011

Travelling With Children: The Essential Guide

travelling with kids

I’ve just come across this book on Amazon and seeing as I am having a Travelling With Children special I thought I would share it with you as it may come in handy for one of you! It has great reviews so looks like it might be worth buying!

The book is a bargain at £6.32

Product Description

Travelling with Children provides information on a variety of holidays that families might consider,from UK ‘staycations’, short-haul package holidays, back-packing and city breaks to skiing, long haul trips and luxury breaks. The book addresses the practicalities of travelling with children of all ages, from newborn to teenage, and it also discusses how to deal with a group of mixed-aged children and the issues that might arise. Different modes of travel are addressed, the pros and cons of kids’ clubs and how to get good deals if you are on a tight budget. There is vital information on what to do if anything goes wrong, how to avoid potential problems before you leave and what to do if you’re not happy with your holiday. Written by a parent and travel journalist, this book is a must-have title for families who want to make the most of holidays with their children.

To be honest I am thinking of getting it myself as James has asked me to fly out to the US to meet him while he is other there on work in the Summer!! Me fly there with 3 kids!! The thought terrifies me! Have you done a long flight with kids? If so it would be fab if you could leave me some tips!

Posted on May 18, 2011

10 Things To Do In The Car

Guest post/ travelling with kids

10 Things to do in the car by Lucinda from Bakes, Books and my Boys –

  1. Have a personal rucksack or a box for each child. For the smaller kids like mine I would suggest some crayons, colouring book (even scrapes of paper to scribble on! ) party size play dough, bubbles, some snacks and little drinks – if like me you’d me a bit worried that the food is eaten by the time you’re out of the drive way I suggest you label each bit ie you can have the red labels until we’re on the motorway or if they can read write the name of the town on. Some wet wipes are invaluable to pop in! A little box on which they can collect things at the stops is always good. We have toll road tickets or ferry tickets in ours. Older kids tend to know what they want in their rucksacks – Nintendo etc
  2. Alphabet game. I can remember this from my childhood. I don’t think it would work with my baby but my eldest – just about to turn four has a long enough attention spam to start at least. To start the first person thinks of a object being with “a” and starts “I went to the shops and I brought an apple” the second person starts with b and carry’s on the list ie “ I went to the shops and I brought an apple and a bongo” and so on…..
  3. Bingo You can tailor this to the appropriate age. My eldest can cope with looking out for 5 red cards, small trees or landmarks – Castle, railway, Give them each a list and the first person to get all their list wins! About 5 jelly babies and the next choice of cd in our car!
  4. Peek a boo!  A little cloth you can drape over the car seat or hold up in front of your face works a treat!
  5. Surprises  While nothing expensive try wrapping up say 5 small toys – paper dolls in one set, packs of cards, toy car, homemade cd etc and have a new one to unwrap at certain points along the way.
  6. Books on cd. In our day we had them on tape but nowadays you can get almost anything on cd. Even the baby loves listening to Kipper! But for older kids you have Harry Potter among others! Even the twilight saga I believe!
  7. Movies It goes without saying after books on CD’s but films on dvds! If you can’t afford a travel dvd player and you can get them for under £50 these days and you have a laptop, charge it up before you go and you should be able to get a film or two hours of programmes on this!
  8. I Spy & I Spy Books I spy is obviously the oldest game around and for a quick refresher – First person – “I spy something being with….” every one else guesses! The I spy books are pretty great to. Along the same lines as the car bingo they have list of things to tick off – railways, number plates etc etc
  9. Songs Obviously we know the good old ones like 10 green bottles etc but we all have a good old sing along to such delights as Robin Hood, Tie me kangaroo down sport, the grand old duke of York. Incorporate ones with hand signals etc like head shoulders knees and toes, one finger one thumb or even little peter rabbit. Google it! Lists and lists come up!
  10. The Name Game Start with the name of a celebrity, (or literary figure, cartoon character, etc) that would be commonly known to at least two of the participants, whose first name begins with the first letter of the previous person’s last name. An example game would run as follows;
Fireman Sam
Snow white
Wow wow wubbzy
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