Our First Family Holiday. Travelling With A 9 Month Old.
It has taken me so long to publish this that our holiday was now nearly 2 months ago but I am hoping it is of some help to those of you who still have lovely holidays to look forward to!
I have to be honest and say when time drew closer to us going on holiday I began getting nervous and thought it may be a really bad idea! What if it was just really hard work?!
Thankfully the day arrived and we were packed and ready to go on time, for some reason we decided to have the house rewired whilst we were away and so that caused a few last minute hitches but by 10AM we were in the car with all of our luggage and on our way to Bristol!
Rose was 9 and a half months when we went and bum shuffling around the house but not properly on the move and this did make things easier.
Below I have outlined what worked for us and what didn't in the hopes it is of some help, anything we bought which made a real difference I have listed at the bottom.
We made the decision to fly from Bristol instead of Cardiff because of the flight times, it cost us an extra £50 and half an hour in the car but it meant that both flights were when Rose was due to be awake and refreshed and it made a huge difference to our journeys, it also meant that the end of each flight Rose was due a nap and so slept through the transfers, which was a blessing as often she can get very upset in the car.
We also managed to get 3 seats on the way and on the way back (having only paid for 2) which meant Rosie could sit between us and play with her toys and I put my leg across the front of the seat so she couldn't fall off. Apparently on some flights the extra seat can be very cheap and some seats you are more likely to get the third seat than others so it is worth checking with your travel agent.
Was much easier than I expected, I had taken a few pouches with me in case but it quickly became apparent that Rose was happy to eat the children's meals on offer at restaurants, this was a huge leap from how we had gotten on with solids prior to the holiday and I do think a huge part of this was because we were eating as a family every mealtime, which we rarely do at home. Rose is now a huge fan of an all you can eat breakfast buffet, croissants were a big hit!!
I did take bibs and plastic cutlery which I would recommend. I also took lots of wet wipes and still managed to run out so just like at home you can never have enough.
I must say as an aside that the high chairs in the restaurants in Menorca put many of the UK ones to shame, they were spotless every time!
In terms of water, I boiled water in the room every morning or evening and put it in water bottles and kept them in the mini fridge. I then filled Rosie's cups with this water before we left the hotel room each morning and then if she ran out I topped up with bottled water. I couldn't find a definitive answer on bottled water online and so I made the decision that a small amount over a week would be absolutely fine.
One item I went through quite quickly was snacks, as we wanted to delay the time we ate to later than usual so that we could all eat together, the time difference helped but having a small snack for Rose to munch on in the pushchair or high chair definitely helped on occasion, so if you can pack some to keep your little one happy I would definitely recommend this.
We chose to go at the beginning of May as we knew it would be sunny but not too hot, it was actually very hot if you were sunbathing directly in the sunshine and very cool in the shade and the evenings, and so we didn't use many of the dresses and shorts we took for Rose and I, a lot more leggings and cardigans. It was the perfect temperature for Rose to sit in her tent on the beach and us not need to worry about her getting too hot.
We bought a few items to protect Rose from the sun and these are listed further down this post.
It was definitely harder to get Rose to go to sleep in the warmer climate but she had enough sleep across the week to keep her happy and seemed to sense everything was quite exciting and was happy to keep going.
Not knowing how hot our room would be I took a range of pyjama options, our room had the sun in the evening so got very warm and so she often went to bed in a vest and then if the temp had dropped by her nighttime / morning feed I would put her in to her 1 tog bag. I didn't realise you can get 0.5 tog bags and if I had known this prior I would definitely have taken one.
We stayed at the Melia Cala Galdana (approx half an hour from the airport)
The hotel was lovely and very family friendly, it was right on the beach and all restaurants and shops were only a short walk away. It was spotless throughout and we had a travel cot in the room for Rose that was made up beautifully. I was worried about the size of the room and when we got there it wasn't very big, but the only increase in size was if you chose a suite. The main reason the room seemed small was because the bed was absolutely humongous, which worked out well the first two nights when Rose was quite unsettled after her morning feed and would easily fit between us on the bed.
We did pay a little more for a sea view and this was a great decision, it meant that we could sit on the balcony and enjoy the spectacular view once Rose went to bed, which was obviously much earlier than when we would go to bed on holidays pre-baby.
I took lots of swim nappies and enough regular nappies for a couple of days as friends had assured me you could buy pampers in every shop - and you could! We brought back most of the swim nappies as the temperature of the pool and sea were a bit too cold for Rose, however, a friend had a resort with a heated pool and so it's worth checking this before you go.
I took washing powder with me (which I was already using day 2!) and so I could have taken less clothes for Rose. Don't get me wrong, I didn't take loads, but just like us she ended up wearing a few items several times once we realised they were ideal for the temperature / convenience and it was good to be able to get food stains out ASAP rather than bringing them back with us.
I also took the cotbed sheet knowing that Rose had slept in it for 2 nights so I hoped it would bring her some comfort taking a little piece of home with us.
I am a very light packer and so it was frustrating for me taking 2 suitcases (and a buggy) to accommodate the tent, swim ring etc, but it did mean that when we got there I had everything I could possibly need which was quite reassuring.
Next time I would take less clothes and more washing powder and be prepared to spend £20 on a towel and inflatable when I got to my destination if it meant we only needed one case or one case and a hand luggage case. Remember the room wasn't massive so again it would have been easier with less luggage, although I must say the room was perfectly organised with a lot of hidden storage.
What did we take with us that we couldn't live without?
The UV tent
The buggy UV cover
A few downloaded episodes of Peppa Pig so we could play it without wifi
Nappy bags - useful for everything! Nappies obviously, and wet swim clothes, rubbish etc
Johnsons baby bed time bath and a duck puff - we didn't have a bath so I showered Rosie with the Johnsons
Washing powder and washing up liquid
Dummy / toy tags so that you have a hope of keeping things attached where you can
The buggy carry on cover - I didn't actually use this in the end but a friend recently borrowed it and said it was great.
What didn't we take that we would probably take next time?
Who did we book with and would we recommend?
We booked our holiday with Kuoni, this is the third holiday we have booked with them and every holiday has been fantastic. The price included private transfers, including a car seat, and the resorts / hotels are always top notch, we recommend them to everyone!
It was a really fantastic holiday and it was magical watching Rose develop across the week and we will definitely be booking another holiday soon (hopefully!). We made so many incredible memories!