My name is Nadia, I’ve just turned 30 and live in West London.
Q1. How old was your child when you first went abroad/first staycation?
My son was 3 months when we first went abroad – I didn’t feel ready for it at all but I’m so glad my husband persuaded me to do it. We went to Dubai which ended up being amazing – apart from the journey! He has since been to Dubai another two times, Spain twice and Egypt.
We haven’t done a staycation yet as we wanted to go abroad as much as we could before he turned two and we had to pay for his flight!
Q2. What was the journey like? Be honest good bits and bad bits?
Journeys have really changed based on his age. We have always planned flights based on his nap time or throughout the night so he could sleep and it should be as peaceful as possible – wishful thinking! His first journey at 3 months was a nightmare – he was shattered because it was through the night, but because it wasn’t completely dark and there were so many new faces he more or less stayed awake for the whole 8 hour flight but was in the worse mood – it was awful… he didn’t want to be left in the bassinet so we held him whilst we were eating and he kicked my husbands food and drink over him… we didn’t carry spare clothes – it wasn’t great! He then started getting better and would sleep for large segments of the flight meaning it was easier for us, but on our last flight to Spain when he was nearly 2, he decided to stay awake and scream. It was a small plane with only one aisle, so we couldn’t stand up and rock him without constantly getting in someones’s way, the flight was delayed an hour – which we were informed of whilst we were on the plane and there was not much space for him to be on our lap. I had no less than five families give me comments like ‘we are glad we didn’t have to deal with him’ & ‘you’ve made us grateful ours have grown up’ when we got off!
Q3. What’s this best thing about travelling with kids?
Although the journey sounds pretty stressful, I love traveling with my son. We end up doing things I wouldn’t have planned without him and he has started to be interested in things that he wouldn’t have if he hadn’t been exposed to them in another country. We have lots of family and friends abroad so it’s great getting him to meet them and interact with people who are special to us. He is exposed to different cultures, foods, languages and sees things he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to had we not travelled.
Q4. What’s the worst thing about travelling with kids?
The worst thing I find is the journey itself – my little one isn’t the best at sitting down for long periods of time and even though I try and create entertainment bags and give him screens, it all depends on his mood how long they will keep him sat down and quiet for.
Q5. What are your must haves in your suitcase?
In my suitcase I always take nappies – I know you can get them in other countries but they aren’t always the same brand and sometimes a lot more expensive. I also take quite a few snacks just so he has some home comforts. In our carry on luggage I take a spare pair of clothes for all of us and as many books, toys, gadgets etc that are small and new! I find Tiger always have something!
Q6. What are your travel plans for the future?
We have no plans to travel again as of yet, but I’d love to go back to Dubai before he starts nursery. The past few times we have gone he was too young for a lot of the attractions and I find there is always a million and one things for kids out there! I personally would love to go to China and Japan but maybe when he’s a bit older – couldn’t face that flight atm!
Q7. What are you top travel trips?
My top travel tips would be:
– travel as much as you can before the kids are 2 – I know on some airlines, such as Emirates, you can book the cheapest economy flight (which normally means you can’t choose your seats) but you are allocated the best front seats so you have space for a bassinet if you need it.
– try and book night flights if your kids are ok sleeping out – then you don’t have to worry about entertaining them for too long!
– take at least spare tops for yourself and your partner and at least one full outfit for the kids!