Now let’s be frank. I don’t tend to beat about the bush anyway but still. Holidaying with kids is just not the same compared to pre-kids. You try to re-capture that same feeling you got on holiday when you were childless and it doesn’t materialise. (That may be the screaming in the background).
Your mojito in the sun is replaced by a strong espresso (you think your child is going to sleep just because it’s 25 degrees outside?) and your leisurely swims are replaced by handstands on the bottom and seeing if you can shove your husband off an inflatable crocodile.Your romantic sessions are replaced by a sneaky fumble in the bathroom, whilst your little one snoozes in the centre of your bed and your hotel room resembles a compact version of your house (you have to take everything!)
We have had 2 holidays abroad since my gremlin was born and we are off again in a few weeks (yay). From my vast experience (!) here is my guide to going abroad with your offspring:
1) Take someone with you. Anyone. That nice lady in the shop down the road will do. Seriously, holidaying with family can be a godsend. As well as more lovely company, you get a break, time with your partner and it feels a little more like a holiday. We will be holidaying with my parents for the second time this year.
2) Try and relax the routine a bit. I was a bit anal about this last year and granted we got our evenings as our gremlin slept in the buggy all night when we went out. She was 9 months. At 21 months this is NOT going to happen, She would stay up for 24hrs straight if she could, as long as she doesn’t miss out. To avoid stress I will be chilling out and letting her sleep at different times.
3) Take the iPad, iPhone, tablet, DVD player – anything that will play Peppa Pig on loop. So helpful for the plane, airport or during “one of those moments”.
4) Screw the miserable people on the plane. Your baby/toddler will probably cry at some point. Their ears will hurt, they are bored, tired, hot, hungry. It’s inevitable. I know people who have had dirty looks, had people close to them ask to be moved. You have every right to go on holiday too and have paid for that right.
5) Pack plenty for the plane. As above, visual entertainment, new books, a new toy, snacks, Calpol sachets, wipes, teething gel, water, wine (oh no that’s for me!)
6) Take a LOT of suncream. We were worried last year, we didn’t have enough. My gremlin may have resembled a snowman but at least we were sure she was protected. Those all in one suits are also fabulous and you feel less panicky when a teeny bit of sun hits their milk bottle skin.
7) Let them drink out of anything. I lost my bottle of water on numerous occasions to my small one. If you are going somewhere hot, it is so easy to become dehydrated. If you have to give in and let them have some juice, do it. Fluid is important (not mojitos though, they are mine).
8) Seal EVERYTHING in your bag. I made the mistake of not sealing the gremlin’s formula properly and it exploded in my suitcase so it looked like a drug smuggle gone wrong, I ended up with milky trainers and formula down my bra…..in the heat. I was LIVID.
9) Ice-cream will suddenly become an appropriate food for breakfast dinner and tea (according to my Mum, that is). Chill out a bit about food. Last time I worried too much and ultimately my gremlin was fine. She ate all her Ella’s Kitchen meals and a shed-load of yoghurt.
10) Dress appropriately. Don’t wear your sexy white jeans when your child is eating some baclava – they will look like a used hanky.
11) Above all try and relax. If you trash the hotel room (within reason) this is not too bad. You don’t have to wash up, prepare meals or wash your clothes. It may feel a bit like a busman’s holiday but if it’s warm and a change of scenery it’s still a holiday!!
And there you have it. It may not be the same as your alcohol-fuelled dancing to crap music in the open air disco at 1am from past holidays. You may have to be in the restaurant as soon as it opens. You may burn off more calories than you eat running after an excitable toddler but really it will be awesome (a different type of awesome!).