Meet Adele aka The Real Mumma, a relatable, Melbourne Mum who is keeping it 'real!'
The Real Mumma blogs about the "honest and raw insight into parenthood, while creating a platform for other parents to share their experiences and tips, without judgement." Adele has curated a list of her best tips and tricks to help make travelling with your little ones, a little easier!
I have done my fair share of travelling. I'm the person that chose travel and work overseas rather than settle and focus on a career. But once you have a taste for it, it never really leaves the system. I met my husband abroad, so a love of travel is something we have always shared. But meeting him certainly grounded me. I stopped being this spontaneous, carefree individual that was living out of a suitcase and started getting a bit serious about finding stability and settling down.
We still travelled a lot, taking advantage of every second of annual leave and we saw some amazing places together. But when our first child came along, the idea of a holiday was exciting but also terrifying! Gone were the jam packed itineraries and the completely indulgent resorts. Now our fun revolved around him and there were so many things to consider!
We have now seen America, France, Italy and Dubai with him and now that we have a little girl, we are about to do Bali together. I have certainly learnt a thing or two along the way!
With the right planning and head space, holidaying with a young family can be magic! And this brings me to my travel tips for young families.
Make sure they have at least 6 months validity. Any less, you will not be allowed on an international flight. Allow a couple of weeks to get one or renew one.
Fly At Night
If you are going abroad. Their natural body clock will help them sleep.
Get it over and done with.
Call the airline and book the seats with the bassinet option on the flight if they are younger than 11 months
If you have a newborn or baby, wear a stretchy wrap on the flight. I put it on before we even leave the house and it doesn't come off till we get there. You can have them sleep in it and still use your hands and sleep too.
Stay away from the bulk head seats (front row seats) if they are older than 1 year old. You can't raise the arm rests, which means you can't allow your toddler to lay his head on your lap, stretch out his legs and go to sleep, plus this is where they put most of the babies on long haul flights too and you don't want babies keeping kids awake. Stay away from the toilets and where they prepare meals when you have older kids. There is a travel site called seat guru which will let you see the seating map by putting in flight number.
Frequent Flyer Points
We purposely pay for everything with our credit cards to accumulate points. From our groceries to our bills. These points are used for all of our flights and then it doesn't seem like that expensive a holiday! Or we use the points to upgrade to business and that makes very easy flying!
Feed on the way up and on the way down to help their ears to adjust. With toddlers, make sure they are eating and drinking so they are swallowing and chewing.
Time Of Year
Avoid school holidays and peak seasons. The shoulder seasons will be much cheaper (plus less crowds, so much easier getting a shaded sun chair by the pool)
Have a special pack for your kids that has new games, activities, food etc they have never seen before. This will keep them engaged longer. There are lots of travel sized games and activities for kids now. Keep the activities coming.
Have this loaded with all new episodes and movies.
Have one with baby Panadol, wind remedies etc on your flight.
Introduce your little one to your neighbouring jet setters. They will be a lot kinder if bub cracks it. You could even warm them with some chocolates from your kids!
Meet The Cabin Crew
On our last flight we asked the cabin crew if Harvey could meet the pilot at the end of the flight and it was the highlight of his day!
If your child has their own seat, get a fly legs up for long haul. This converts the seat to a bed for them!
Avoid sweets. Nutritious snacks will keep them feeling good. Have a look at the Health Lab range for kids. Sugar highs and flights are evil!
Before you get off, make sure every nappy is changed and every adult has been to the toilet. Trust me. You don't want to be trying to do any of that while in customs lines or trying to get to your destination.
Book a transport service that has a baby seat to take you to your hotel in advance. You don't want to be holding your baby in a speeding cab in a foreign country. If you are hiring a car, call ahead and make sure the baby seat is fitted in the forward or reverse position you want.
Trains Over Planes
Escape the cabin fever and take a train. You will see amazing scenery and you are not confined to a seat! It may take longer but it is cheaper, you get a lot more space and you don't have to check in or waste time at the airport. You can get up and go for walks in between carriages and no turbulence.
Get a room with a view, you may spend a lot of time in it for their naps. If you can splash out and have a great balcony or even your own pool, you won't feel like you are missing out on your holiday.
Pick a good location so it's an easy walk to family restaurants, beach and activities. So many hotels have kid areas now, kids club and sitters.
Get On Good Terms
You will need favours. Can you heat up this dinner? Can we have this, can we have that? I would suggest emailing the hotel and telling them you are excited to come. Ask them to have a quiet room that is away from any maintenance works during your stay. When you go for breakfast, be the most lovely couple ever and they will bend over backwards to help you. And there is nothing like a little tip to ensure you get great service next time you go. Consider your room configuration so you can still live when they go to bed at night.
Sometimes we chose apartments or homes on airbnb. If they have good ratings you can't go wrong. Apartments often have a communal pool and homes make everything easy!
A lot of restaurants don't like babies, especially in Europe! We had a hard time finding a place with a high chair. So, we often fed Harvey before we went out and then just gave him a snack there. 'The Pod' by mountain buggy is a portable high chair. It weighs 1kg and it fits in your luggage. (It's the one I have on my kitchen table for those that have seen)
Strip them down and feed the kids in the hotel bath. Honestly, this is a huge time saver.
You can hire just about anything you want while you are on holidays, from cots to strollers or even pool fencing! If you can afford it, hire it. Save lugging it everywhere!
If you have moved on from breastfeeding, you can use a kettle to warm bottles and even sterilise them. Simply put the bottle of milk inside a freshly boiled kettle to warm it. Or take microwave steriliser bags if you have one in your room.
Save on washing and get these. Made life easy.
If you have a reputable hotel and a baby-sitting service, treat yourself and enjoy a night a exploring and a dinner without poopy nappies and bags of baby stuff.
Baby Wipes & Sanitiser
I squeeze the sanitiser on a wipe for a sure way to clean a surface when out and about.
Don't Lose Them
In all seriousness, write your mobile on your child's arm if they are older kids that stray. Big crowds can be difficult to navigate.
Give older kids a camera too. A disposable one will teach them to appreciate new surrounds and the joy of travel!
Even if one of the kids has had a poo explosion and another is having a toddler tantrum, breathe. You've got this! Just keep calm.
And last but not least.....
Don't be a sideline Mum - If you are a little self-conscious after having children of your 'mum bod', find swimwear or beach/resort clothing your feel comfortable in and get involved in making memories, rather than sitting on a towel and observing! I made that mistake until I realised that I was wasting my time with him and that he would remember his fun, crazy mum, not my butt!