First things first – some apologies are in order. My already sporadic blogging has been even slower lately because I have been on holiday. Or to use its other post baby name – going somewhere else to have even less sex and sleep than I already have at home. Hurrah!
It’s still good obviously being away – mostly because you are away from the guilt of constantly feeling like you should be doing something. Working, cleaning, doing phonics (which is apparently ABC on acid youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffeZXPtTGC4 seems to suggest ), organising childcare, reorganising childcare, trying to see friends, failing to see friends, exercising, not eating cake, etc.. Even me, who’s simple mind finds it pretty easy to switch to that Homer Simpson mode where he skips through the happy land of cake, can occasionally feel guilty about the increasing mound of washing up now that the dishwasher has decided to die. But holidays are time away from the nag list in my husbands head (if you remember he is the putter in my household) and that is good for all of us.
But most of the trouble with kids and travelling is generally down to the whole process of getting there and back. My best friend took two children under the age of three to Canada – apparently the way out was the worst day of her life and the way back was the second worst.
I have only done short haul flying or driving holidays with my two dudes but I thought I would share the potted history of things I have learnt with you.
If you drive, try putting them to bed in the car and driving late – you can sometimes get four hours under your belt – whine free! – listening to your own music, and not Peter fucking Pan again. This tends to work best under the age of four. After that it’s the most exciting thing they have ever done ever and the least pleasant thing you have ever done.
If you are not rolling around in money like ourselves in the Blunderbuss household then flying means only one thing – budget airlines.
The one big thing I have learned is that Easyjet and Ryan air are not one and the same when it comes to travelling as a family. So I would bear in mind the following costs and pointers in addition to flight costs when deciding who to fly with. For ease of typing I am shortening the airlines to RA and EJ (am presuming this is ok with you all.)
Infant charges – one of my favourite things about flying with babies is that they charge you for having them on your lap – presumably this is for the air they breathe seeing as they aren’t allowed bags and don’t even print them their own ticket. RA charge £30 and EJ cost £20.
Luggage – Smart packing matters when travelling with babies – especially when you pay per bag. Easy jet charge £15 per 20KG bag Ryan air charge £15 for a 15KG bag – you can book a bigger bag but it costs more.
Baby items – RA allow you to bring one baby item i.e. carseat, travel cot, pushchair. EJ allow you two. **
But the big thing – the most important thing! – is that RA do not allow priority boarding for families – if you want to have a cats in hells chance of sitting together and avoiding the seating scrum (where it looks like someone just tossed a bottle of St Tropez at the cast of TOWIE) you have to pay for speedy boarding. I do know the RA philosophy about keeping things totally stripped back to keep costs down and if you need extras then the individual pays for them but not allowing families to sit together doesn’t just punish the family involved it punishes everyone else on the flight.
In conclusion – I’m not saying that Ryanair are definitely evil but it is wholly possible that Michael O’Leary may have cloven hooves for feet.
By the way Ryanair are hardcore about not allowing you use the toilet between getting on the plane and take off. I find though they will break this rule if you wave a baby covered in poo from neck to ankle right in their face.
Final tip – anything, is allowed when travelling – bribery, treats, presents, not strictly speaking medically required calpol, having a little cry, going to the toilet and pretending you need a poo so just so you can have a little break for 5 minutes… anything!
** By the way – I am not employed or have anything to do with either airline – I think this is all accurate but it could change at any time. Do check out the details yourself if you are basing any decision about who to fly with on anything I have written.