Ever wondered where your cabin crew go on THEIR family holidays? It’s time to reveal all, plus my top tips for flying with children!
My customers onboard always want to know where their cabin crew go on holiday; do we go abroad? Do we prefer to stay at home? For me it’s the former. I am absolutely obsessed with holidays. The build-up, the travelling AND the destination – it’s all part of the fun! Here are my favourite three from last year.
Need some sun? If you’re already thinking about where to go to enjoy some sunshine this year with your little ones (I know I am) then I highly recommend Croatia. I flew to Dubrovnik last summer and I’ll definitely be going back this year. Being quite a short flight time and with new hotels and apartments opening every season, it’s the perfect place for young families. The sea and the snorkeling off the coast are absolutely fantastic for slightly older children, I couldn’t get mine out of the water! There are numerous activities down on the very accessible beach too and for the more adventurous and it’s really easy to hire boats from the many little harbours.
For the grown-ups, it is good to know that the region also has vineyards, the local wines were really great. I also enjoyed chatting to the locals about the history of the country – everyone there is so friendly. I recommend the town of Cavtat which is directly across the bay from Dubrovnik itself. It’s only 4kms from the airport (making transfers so quick and easy) and it’s a great little town with everything you could want for a fun-packed summer holiday!
Cavtat Bay – stunning view looking over towards Dubrovnik city.
Top Tip: hire a boat and set off on your own to explore the beaches that you can’t get to by foot, check out the thousands of rock pools and grab some delicious lunch on one of the many islands.
Last minute getaway with the kids? Well now the snow has finally arrived and with Monarch now offering so many flights to the Alps surely it’s time to ski! There are so many great resorts out there and this spring I’ll be heading with the family to La Plagne, France (nearest airport is Grenoble) for the second year running. There are quite a few different areas to La Plagne but I found Bellecote to be the most suitable for us. It was such a family-friendly resort – that’s why we’ve decided to go back again. I loved that the town was small (small enough to wander round the shops without the young ones getting cold and miserable!) but that there were easy enough runs to explore to keep myself and the other parents interested. Day trips over to Les Arcs are great fun, too!
If you come down a bit early or decide to have a chill-out day then I found there are some great cafes and restaurants around the ski-school area which are great to sit in and watch the young ones – without them seeing you!
Top tip: buy your lift passes and equipment before you go. You’ll find so many places will offer to have them delivered directly to your hotel or apartment. Definitely a good idea to save dragging the kids around once you arrive, and it means more time to have fun!
City break? When travelling with slightly older, school age kids, we found Rome to be an absolute winner. If you go outside of the high season in the summer (we went in October half term) the weather is still fantastic. Warm enough for t-shirts in the day and sitting outside in the evenings in one of the many piazzas too. I have been to Rome several times and I wanted my nine year old to love it as much as I do. It’s safe to say he thought it was great. With so many points of interest round every corner in Rome, I decided against too much structure to our sightseeing. The visit to the Colosseum was top of our list due to a school project, unfortunately it was so busy we didn’t spend much time there. We found the space of the Roman Forum much more fun to explore. We thought that St. Peter’s looked magnificent…but my son much preferred the tunnels and cannons of the Castel Sant Angelo! One of the things that I always forget about Rome is how reasonably priced everything is, even in the city centre, which is great when you’re with kids who, if they’re anything like mine, need topping up with pizza and gelato every few hours!
Another thing that was fun to do was hire bikes and explore Rome that way. The cycle path runs alongside the River Tiber from the top of the city all the way to Trastevere and if you want to cover some distance without complaints of sore legs, then it’s a great way to get around. We made it all the way to the zoo in Villa Borghese Park and back in one day – a great way to spend a Sunday.
Top tip: I recommend doing a long weekend in either spring or autumn and stay just across the river in Trastevere. Great access to both the city and Fiumicino Airport– so much to see and do right on your doorstep!
At the Roman Forum!
Whilst booking my next holiday, I realised that people are always asking me for advice when travelling with children. From getting to the airport, making it through security in once piece, boarding and finally getting to your seats, it’s no wonder some customers arrive feeling a little stressed! So with half term just round the corner, I thought I’d share some of my top tips when travelling…
- Think ahead. From locating all your passports to pre-booking seats, avoid leaving things until the last minute as it will only add to your anxiety. Try to think of all the obstacles you had to encounter last time and plan ahead accordingly. Try to consider outfits on the day that might set off the detector at security; do you really need that extra EXTRA bag? I also like to write a list (as I’m sure many people do) and tick things off one by one!
- Pack sensibly. We are all guilty of packing too much – let’s think simple!
One small bag per adult for the valuables (passports, money, ipad etc) and absolute necessities (wet wipes!) and then one small bag per child with favourite toys, snacks and a change of clothes. Doing individual bags for each child means you can find things much easier. I’m not a big fan of some of the gimmicky children’s travel bags out there – as cute as they are I don’t find them nearly as practical as a good old rucksack. I know it’s always tempting to fill up the pushchair with bags too – as you can take it all the way to the aircraft door – but remember that those bags will eventually have to be carried onto the plane.
I always recommend to pack a change of clothes for EVERYONE. Not just the children. Which reminds me, no white trousers! However big that holiday feeling is, do not allow anyone to travel in white jeans, linen trousers etc. That calming/bribing/celebratory bag of chocolate fingers will always win and you know it. I’d also think twice about that red wine/ tomato juice if you know what I mean?
- Leave lots of time! Then leave some more….
Motorways are unpredictable, airports are so hectic and we all underestimate queue times. Factor in time for emergency loo stops too – nothing worse than turning round in the car and seeing that empty juice bottle. Oops!
Plan to arrive really early and you’ll probably find you’ve timed it just right. Or even better, you’ll have time to spare. Can you imagine!?
Here I am in white jeans ignoring my own advice – never again!
- Entertainment, entertainment, entertainment. Games, books, snacks, you name it. I used to frown upon everyone in the family having an iPad…until I became a mum. The rules on-board have been amended recently too which means you can use your devices, safely, during taxi, take-off and landing and it’s a great way to distract a little one who doesn’t like to put on their seatbelt or who has sore ears. Don’t forget the spare battery boost packs!
We had a great book when my son was younger called Going on a Plane which talked through the process of travelling, all the way from leaving home to finally getting to your hotel. It was a really sweet way to encourage children and get them prepared for the journey. All young children hate to be strapped in, but giving them a heads-up through the book really helps – trust me!
Sweets are a great way to help older children clear the pressure in the ears but for the younger ones, encouraging them to drink (preferable from a bottle or similar) during descent can be a good way to help. Lastly, resist temptation. The temptation, that is, to bring hundreds of little pots of healthy snacks in amazing organic, earth mother style that is. Think disposable, think convenient!
- Deep breaths everyone.
Stay calm and remember this is meant to be a holiday! Resist the temptation to yell at your other half before you’ve even entered the terminal. I once heard a couple having a full-on barney over whose fault it was the laptop got dropped in the Long-Stay Carpark…
Try (I said try!) your best to not lose your sense of humour. You know you will get there in the end and by that time tomorrow you’ll be laughing about who left the boarding cards at security. Right?
- Have fun! All dramas aside, enjoy your flight. Play eye-spy, wave to the luggage guys, see if you can spot a jumbo or even the A380! Remember how exciting it was to fly when you were young?
I hope this helps and I hope you have a great time. Post your own tips below!
Happy holidays everyone. Charlotte