I’m Candace, or Candy, I go by both. I’m originally from the states, but moved to London almost three years ago. I’m mum to Mae (3yo) and Josephine (10 months).
Q1. How old was your child when you first went abroad/first staycation?
Our first trip abroad with our oldest was when we moved here! She was 10 months at the time. From then on we became a bit addicted to traveling, heading on our first trip within the same month we moved.
Josephine was about 4 months when we traveled for the first time with her. Before she was born, we had big ideas about traveling with her right after she was born, but the reality of adjusting to two kids hit us hard.
As for staycations – over the summer, we took a month long road trip (#mcmanusfamilyroadtrip) around the U.K. It was incredible! I prepared for the worst (car sickness – though we really had no reason to anticipate this. Both girls have done well in cars in the past) and worried about the worst (an accident, illness, anything).
Q2. What was the journey like? Be honest good bits and bad bits?
I’m not sure what we expected. My partner and I were just so excited about this new chapter in our lives: living abroad. I had read up plenty on how to entertain little ones on flights, but of course, she mostly wanted to explore the entire plane and make new friends, so we allowed her to as much as possible. Baby wearing (to help navigate busy airports and a fussy baby during flights) and nursing (to help alleviate pressure on the ears and soothe to sleep) were major wins for us. At the time, we didn’t realize bassinet seats existed, so space was tight. Maneuvering her sleep, so that we were also comfortable, and eating our meals with a wriggly, tired baby, were challenges.
Q3. What’s this best thing about travelling with kids?
Seeing the world through their eyes and watching them interact and engage with other cultures. I love when Mae plays with other children. They may not speak the same language, but play and laughter are universal.
Q4. What’s the worst thing about travelling with kids?
The jet lag. It’s just awful with little ones. They don’t understand and you really have to be strong about just working through it. The middle of the night wake ups while you’re trying to adjust are tough and I’m better at dealing with this than my partner. Whereas, he is incredible at getting us up and moving for the day to adjust to the new time… me, not so much. It’s all just hard and there’s no way to really speed up the process with the babies, you just have to give it time.
Q5. What are your must haves in your suitcase?
*Baby carriers! We usually pack two, one for each of our kids. We typically research a destination before we decide whether or not to also bring a buggy. We recently went to Switzerland and opted for no buggy, knowing we’d be doing a lot of hiking in the mountainous areas and when we stayed in the city we found an Airbnb that had a buggy available for us to use.
*Mae’s bedtime bunny (Josephine hasn’t gotten too attached to anything yet) and a couple of small books to read at bedtime
*Familiar medicine. We always try to bring a small first aid kit of items we might need, so we aren’t frantically searching for medicine in a foreign country.
*Changes of clothes foreveryonein our carry-on bags — you just never know!
Q6. What are your travel plans for the future?
We’re heading back to the states for Thanksgiving (there’s been talk of a trip Disney World in Florida, so I’m crossing my fingers for that!), but we’re also looking forward to exploring Oxford or Cambridge in the fall, and a Christmas market trip to Cologne. Looking to early 2020, we’re really hoping to make it back to Japan and Southeast Asia.
Q7. What are you top travel trips?
-Family friendly lodging can make the difference between an amazing trip and a stressful trip!
-Try to book as early as you can and sign up for a points program. We use a lot of points to book our hotels and flights.
-Most importantly – just do it! Many people are scared to travel with their kids, but it really is such an incredible experience. Don’t worry about what other people think – from your own family and friends to the judgmental people on flights (which we actually encounter much less than you’d think) – just know you’re giving your kids experiences that will shape them and they’ll never forget!
You can find Candace and her beautiful family on Instagram.