In January we took on the, seemingly, mammoth task of taking Biscuit and Cracker, our two-and-a-half year old twins, on holiday to Rob’s family home in Italy.
This meant that I would have to pack enough clothes, toys and toiletries for the four of us in a mixture of carry on and hand luggage and then we would need to transport said luggage and said children to the airport to catch our flight. Due to this, we also made the decision to leave their buggies at home. We just didn’t have enough hands!
Our journey involved an hour on the London Underground (luckily at 7am on a Saturday when it is relatively empty), a two hour wait at the airport and then a two-and-a-half hour flight to Pisa before being collected by Rob’s family. This is a long day for anyone, but for toddlers who don’t understand what is going on and who are woefully out of routine by this point it could be a recipe for disaster.
We flew British Airways, their luggage allowance means they’re a good choice for people flying with children. It was slightly annoying that now the twins are over two, they have to pay pretty much full price. Obviously this means that they get their own seat, but they most definitely didn’t need the 23kg check-in allowance and the two items of hand luggage! The other irritating thing is that when they’re little you can choose your seats, for free, at time of booking. Now they’re that bit older we would have had to pay to choose our seats or wait until five days before the flight and BA would try to seat us together. Surely it’s more important, if travelling with independently-seated toddlers, that these families should be able to ensure they sit together? On the way out it worked out fine, flying back BA seated Rob, Biscuit and myself in three seats together and Cracker on his own in the row in front…. Sensible? Not in the slightest, especially as they have it noted down in front of them how old he is.
At least our bags made it to Italy with us though (we have experienced our bags going on a far more roundabout journey to our destination than we took and that is not a pleasant thing). Unfortunately on the way home some bright spark took one of our suitcases home and left hers on the carousel instead. Although my nerves took a shredding thinking of all the stuff in that suitcase (like Cracker’s beloved cars and pretty much all their clothes) in case we didn’t get it back, thankfully the very helpful Gary in Customer Services located the bright spark and our suitcase was couriered to us 15 or so hours later. That very same day I went out and purchased a bright neon bag strap and luggage tag to put on our plain suitcase for next time we travel, lesson learned!
Our first challenge was the journey itself. Cracker gets extremely travel-sick. He has thrown up on trains, on five minute car rides, and we knew that we had to plan for this. He wore travel bands (something I have always done on a journey of any length) and he had anti-sickness drugs from the GP. Coupling this with a bland breakfast and restriction of juice, we managed to arrive in Tuscany vomit-free! I did have a large number of sick-bags with me (purchased from Amazon) which we held out to him a lot. We are waiting until he gets old enough to be able to tell us when he’s feeling poorly, hopefully that will make things easier.
Distraction also helps. Rob and I loaded both of our tablets up with children’s films and TV programmes, as well as packing their little bags with favourite toys. A friend of mine gave me the handy hint of “never underestimate the power of food” so we took plenty of little snacks with us (I.e. Breadsticks, raisins, crackers, etc) and offered them these when they were looking particularly fed up. Plus having ‘sucky sweets’ for take-off and landing helps with painful ears. Biscuit and Cracker do not often get sweets, but I figured the benefits outweighed the risks this time!
We were lucky. Both Biscuit and Cracker, on both flying out and back, were very good. We were the only people on board with children, so any noise and disruption would have been easy for people to locate! But they didn’t cry, whinge or (thank goodness) scream! Yes, they fidgeted, played with the tray table and swapped seats a number of times but I know plenty of adults who’d do that too!
So journeying with twin toddlers is possible! Who’d have thought it! Thanks for reading x
Next time: what we took with us (both useful and useless)!