Louise's blog: Learnings From Our First Family Trip Abroad
After not going abroad since May 2019 (just as a couple – oh the luxury!) we decided the time had finally come to venture back into the big wide world and do our first family trip abroad with a 3.5 and 2 year old in tow!
The first thing on the to do list was passports for the children and my husband (which had expired). We’ve got 8 weeks till we travel this will be fine. Lesson 1, get your child’s passport as soon as they are born, even if you don’t intend to travel for a while, the reason, they can’t move or smile. Trying to take a photo of two toddlers with no shadow, whilst telling them not to smile when their whole life you’ve been shouting at them say ‘CHEESE’ when a camera phone is pointed at them – it’s impossible. So off to the professionals we went, I won’t go into it but with some bribery and editing we got photos that were acceptable.
Another reason for getting that passport application in asap is you never know when strikes are going to happen. I submit all three applications thinking I can now breathe a sigh of relief when I see it…the headline that says “post office on strike for 5 weeks”!! I can tell you the stress levels were high. Luckily the passport office had not completely shut down and within 3 weeks we had all 3 passports back!
Then we come to the flight. Lesson 2, flight time is EVERYTHING!!!! I cannot stress this enough, 4 hours of a screaming child because he was overtired and I had assumed he would be a little darling and just be so tired he would fall asleep. Absolutely not, that did not happen.
Any way we made it to Greece we’ve got a solid week of family time and with two working parents that is the main goal to be together except for here comes lesson 3, heated swimming pools. We travelled in May the weather was not as warm as we had hoped but none the less, better than the UK however not warm enough to heat any of the pools. I had to psych myself to get in the pool with my children and pretend it wasn’t cold and their limbs would not fall off and that we would enjoy the splash park and the slides because that’s why we booked this hotel!!
Lesson 4, if you fly back to London Stansted and you put your pram into the holdall below the plane just before boarding, they won’t leave it on the tarmac so you have it the other side to secure your child so they don’t try and escape when getting through security…thankfully in Greece we had the buggy waiting for us as soon as we got off the plane, as I feel what happened at Stansted wouldn’t have gone down so well over there…our 2 year old did a runner at passport control and we didn’t immediately run after him for fear we would get taken out by the guards. Luckily a guard shouted at us to come get our child from the box of the passport control staff he had decided to hide in and we were allowed to get our passports checked at the same time and allowed on our way but the moral is if you’ve got a travel buggy that you can take on the plane, take it on the plane!
Whilst there were more - I’ll leave it at those 4, what I consider to be the most important.
Louise is a Senior Consultant, married and lives in Essex with her two wonderfully chaotic boys aged 1 and 3.