Adele Barbaro - a.k.a. 'The Real Mumma', is the real deal. She is raw, she is vulnerable and she is honest and candid in representing the good, bad, and ugly moments (number three's, am I right?) of parenthood in all their glory. Adele is REAL. Her Facebook following is comprised of a wonderful, appreciative bunch of parents who laugh, cry and cringe with her hilarious anecdotal experiences in the daily life of a #mumoftwo.
Adele is our go-to for travel tips and tricks, providing us with the essentials for a successful family trip. We have asked her to provide some travel inspiration and advice, as our very first guest blogger for Chekoh!
THE REAL MUMMA: TRAVEL TIPS
I have done my fair share of travelling. I'm the person that chose travel over career and got it out of my system in my 20s. I've been a tour guide in Europe, worked in hotels, a travel agent in both business and leisure and helped people grow their travel franchises. Now that I'm married and we have kids, the way we travel has completely changed.
When Harvey, (my first born) was just 8 weeks old, we took him to America and then as a 1 year old he went to Europe and Dubai too. Even a domestic trip, which we often do to see the grandparents can be a test! Harvey is now 2 years old and has a 3 month old little sister named Chloe. We have just done our first trip as a foursome to Broome and we are about to head to Bali.
There is a lot to consider when travelling with kids but it doesn't have to be hard work. With the right planning and a few tricks up your sleeve, holidays with little ones can magic.
Passports- 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.
Fly direct- get it over and done with
Bassinets- call the airline and book the seats with the bassinet option on the flight if they are younger than 11 months
Wraps- wear a stretchy wrap on the flight for young children and newborns. This will be your saviour. I put on my Chekoh before we even leave the house and it doesn't come off till we get to the destination. You can have them sleep in it and still use your hands or sleep too. A lot of he time, security will ask you to take the babe out but you can often leave the wrap on.
Seats- 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!
Ears- 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)
Entertainment- 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.
iPad- have this loaded with all new episodes and movies.
First aid-have one with baby panadol, wind remedies etc on your flight.
Say hello- 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! I've seen some very cute little gifts for fellow travellers from your kids. Like cookies that say 'I'm usually sweet' or 'sorry in advance'. Maybe some ear plugs?
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!
Sleep- if your child has their own seat, get a fly legs up for long haul. This converts the seat to a bed for them!
Food- 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!
Disembarking- 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.
Cars- 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.
View- 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.
Hotels- pick a good location so it's a 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.
Air Bnb- 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!
Baby wearing- I like to have both hand free to eat my dinner! So, for the babies I like to pop them in the wrap and go for a walk before dinner, get them nice and asleep and then sit down to eat.
High chairs- 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)
Dinner time- 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. It saves lugging everywhere! And we all know that baby wearing solves many of those problems.
Bottles- 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.
Disposable bibs- save on washing and get these. Made life easy.
Babysitter- 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. Even consider a nanny for a few hours a day to let you have a little down time too.
Baby wipes and 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.
Travel appreciation- give older kids a camera too. A disposable one will teach them to appreciate new surrounds and the joy of travel!
Follow Adele on Facebook and Instagram as she shares a raw and honest insight into motherhood, her travel adventures with kids and hotel reviews...she also has a killer Christmas giveaway coming up, featuring a 'Me & My Mini' pack from Chekoh!
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