Hi, I’m Charlotte, I’m 31 and a first time mum to Holly who will be 2 in November and we live in Essex. When I first met my husband he was in the armed forces and based overseas so holidays and day trips became important to us as it was usually the only time we could spend together as a couple. My husband has now left the army and does shift work so trying to juggle childcare, working and seeing friends and family means that holidays/trips are still important to us in order to create memories, explore and spend quality time together as a family.
Q1. How old was your child when you first went abroad/first staycation?
Holly was five months old when we took our first trip as a family. When I first had Holly my anxiety went a little crazy and I couldn’t imagine taking her away so we agreed to do a little staycation before trying to go abroad with a baby. We did a long weekend caravan break in Hunstanton and we loved it (apart from all the rain).
When we came back we booked our first trip abroad and took Holly to my parents house in Spain at 7 months old and since then have taken her away a few times a year including a European City Cruise and long haul to Disney World Florida.
Q2. What was the journey like? Be honest good bits and bad bits?
Our car journey to Hunstanton began OK but we got stuck in traffic and Holly woke from her nap and basically screamed the car down until we stopped at a restaurant and waited for the traffic to clear! So it was a stressful start to the holiday and I did have a moment where I thought what on earth have we done? But once we got there and got everything set up we began to relax and enjoy ourselves. The journey home was much smoother and there was no traffic so Holly slept the whole way.
Every time we have flown with Holly including long haul she has loved it, we had one flight where she was teething so gave her some calpol and her dummy and she was fine. Other than that every single flight there hasn’t been any tears. She loves to look out the window, watch the other passengers especially if there’s children on board. I was really worried she would get bored on the plane so I always load her favourite TV shows onto our tablet and pack some new toys for her and some colouring bits and it keeps her entertained.
Q3. What’s this best thing about travelling with kids?
I love taking Holly somewhere new and seeing her reactions to things. It’s also nice to see how different cultures react to toddlers and interact with Holly as she’s exploring. I know she won’t remember a lot or maybe even anything of the trips that we are taking her on at the minute but it is still an experience for her and shaping the person that she is becoming. I’ve always loved to travel and just getting to do that as a family and have the photos to look back on and discuss previous trips as she gets older is amazing. We went to the Disney store at the weekend and they had a Stitch statue in the shop and Holly ran up to it and gave him a hi five. I said you met Stitch do you remember? And she said yes with Daddy. This happened in February this year so although people say children are too young to remember I think we also under estimate what children are capable of remembering.
Q4. What’s the worst thing about travelling with kids?
I think for me the worst is worrying about if you forget something that you need which is stupid because you can get everything you need from most stores. As Holly’s got older this has become less of a worry but when she was little I used to worry about running out of formula or sterilising tablets. Now she’s older I’d say trying to get her back into a routine after a trip. If it’s short haul this normally only takes a day or two but returning from long haul took me over a week to get Holly over her jet lag which is exhausting when you’ve got jet lag and need to go back to work haha!
Q5. What are your must haves in your suitcase?
Snacks, snacks and more snacks! Holly’s favourite toy, colouring books (I love the crayola mess free colouring sets with the pens that only work on the special paper so that you don’t need to worry about staining anything!) We were sent a snoozeshade to review and it was honestly the best thing when we have been going to hot and sunny destinations. It protects children from the sun but can also be used to remove distractions so that children can have their naps. This was an absolute blessing in Disneyworld so that we didn’t have to leave the parks in order to get Holly to sleep. A pram fan to help keep them cool and a decent child’s sun cream, plus anything that comforts them at home, dummy, favourite blanket, toy etc.
Q6. What are your travel plans for the future?
We are going to Disneyland Paris next March as well as visiting my parents in Spain a few times. We also have some UK based trips in planning stages at the moment and are currently saving for Florida 2021 😊
Q7. What are you top travel trips?
Don’t stress if your routine goes out the window, embrace it and enjoy yourselves and get back on track when you get home.
Take a power pack out with you if you are using your phone as a camera, you don’t want to be without your phone when you’re visiting somewhere you don’t know very well.
If you want to visit a particular place on your trip plan how you are going to get there in advance eg bus, taxi also do you need a car seat/booster seat or can you find a cab company etc that will provide it for you.
Find an app that will translate labels etc for you, there are loads that use your camera to translate to English so that you don’t need to spend ages typing it all into google translate.
If you are flying with a baby/child that needs formula, baby food, nappies, wipes etc see if the airport you are using has a boots after security and do a click and collect order to save space in your suitcase we did this when we travelled to Florida and the amount of weight and space it saved us in our suitcase was amazing!
Most importantly enjoy yourselves and take lots of photos to look back on together as a family 😊
You can find Charlotte on Instagram @xcharlottevaughanx