Best Holiday with Kids – Bloggers Tell Us Where and Why

Holidaying with kids can be a daunting affair for some, and something to relish with others. I’ve heard some parents say they dread holidays with their kids. I know others who wouldn’t dream of not going on holiday with their kids. The best holiday with kids can be surprising ones and the worst can come out of something beyond your control. For us, holidays and BattleKid go hand in hand these days and although we’ve had both good and bad, we wouldn’t change them for the world.

best holiday with kids
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As you read this, the Battle Family will be somewhere in North West America on our USA road trip holiday. It’s a holiday we’ve been looking forward to for a while and we’re really hoping it’ll be our best one yet. We’ve done a good bit of travelling with BattleKid, from staycations in the UK, to Europe and beyond. Our best holiday to date has to be our trip to New York last year.

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BattleKid at the World Trade Centre Memorial.

Despite rain on our first full day, it turned out to be our best holiday so far. I wrote all about it in our New York Holiday Diaries and I also showed that New York can be done, even with a toddler in tow. I thought I’d ask some fellow bloggers what have been their best holiday with kids and here’s what they had to say.

Best Holiday with Kids

Lianne from Ankle Biters Adventures says their best holiday with their kids have been a good old British Haven holidays. Her kids loved the caravan and there is so much to do at Haven for little ones.

Emma from Emma Reed said her best holiday was in Zante last year for her sister’s wedding. It was great

Because so many people travelled out for it and that of course gave me a huge help with my two-year-old.

Her son had so many family members to play with and keep him entertained. It was so memorable for her and not stressful at all.

Beth from Twinderelmo says their best holiday was when they took their kids to Disneyland last Christmas.

To see the magic and joy in their eyes was the most amazing feeling ever.

She will never forget their faces during the parades and believes Disneyland really is the best place on earth.

Angela from The Life of Spicers says their best holiday with kids was to Walt Disney World. The reactions and look on her daughters face when she got to see the castle, and meet the princesses, was amazing. It was worth all the saving and going without to get there.

Samantha from North East Family Fun says their best holiday with kids was to Calella de Palafrugell last year. A traditional Spanish resort, which is not very touristy, but hoem to stunning beaches and gorgeous restaurants, she and her husband would

dine in style as the kids played on the sand in front of us.

Jenna from Then There Were Three says her best holiday with her daughter was definitely Bluestone.

It was last minute and we only found out we were going that day, but she absolutely loved it there as there was so much to do.

Debbie from My Boys Club says their best holiday with kids would be their trip to Loch Ness, which I’ve been reading. Debbie said they had a luxury lodge, fab day trips, the weather wasn’t not bad at all and it was really relaxing.

Adventurous and a good time was had by all – you don’t have to go abroad for the best times.

Richard from 2 Bottles of Milk found it hard to pick one best holiday. So, he chose two. The first one was when they took their two boys to Bluestone two Christmases ago. It was just amazing he says. The second was from this year when they went to Disneyland Paris

Although exhausting, the boys faces during our character meal made the cost of that worth it.

Karina from Mum’s the Nerd says their best holiday was booking a villa in Lanzarote with family.

Having your own pool and the relaxed atmosphere was perfect for us.

Maria from Happy Mummy says theirs was to Puerto Pollensa in Majorca. Their daughter Lily had an absolute ball swimming all day and dancing all night at the mini disco.

We still play the songs all the time at home.

Tracey from Pack the PJ’s said her best holiday was only very recently. They spent just under a week in the beautiful Maldives doing things like snorkelling on the reef, kayaking, night fishing, dolphin boat rides. They even had a professional cooking experience. But more than this, it was

An absolutely amazing few days spent as a family

Not only that but they also spent 3 days in Abu Dhadi, with the highlight being a desert safari where they rode camels, experienced falconry, were driven at speed over sand dunes, saw the sun setting over the landscape and the 45 degree heat.

We loved every second!

Jodie from Maidenhead Mum says their best holidays was a Eurocamp trip to the Adriatic Coast in Italy, staying across the lagoon from Venice. The site they stayed on had a water park, direct access to the beach and was just 15 minutes by boat from Venice.

Seeing as my happy place is taking photos there was something for everyone.

They enjoyed it so much they are going back this year! And she says she has not had a ’worst’ holiday as yet, although wonders if returning to Venice with a 5 year-old and two year-old might tip the scales!

Hannah from Travelling with Leo says their best holiday was a three-week trip to America where they travelled by train between Boston – New York (where they spent Christmas) – Philadelphia.

Lisa from Bare Mother said their best holiday to date was a recent trip to Kefalonia in Greece. They had a private villa with pool, were two minutes walk to the beach with a supermarket on the way, and there were lots of great kid-friendly tavernas nearby.

It was perfect because it was so easy to chill. Mister Two had a fab time, and so did we.

Vikki from Family Travel with Ellie said without a doubt their best holiday was their Disney Cruise around the Med.

It was everything we could possibly have hoped for… we did some excellent excursions to Monaco and Pompeii, as well as enjoying a week in Barcelona before we set sail. Whenever I think of it my heart fills with joy. We look at the photos often.

Emma from Our Fairy Tale Adventure recently did a road trip from the North West of England to Copenhagen in Denmark with their two toddlers. People thought they were a bit mad but it was such an amazing trip. They travelled through so many places and got to experience so many things together as a family.

We then ended our trip at Disneyland Paris, which was just the most perfect way to finish our adventure.

Jennifer from My Mummy’s Pennies said their best was their first trip to Cornwall three years ago. Despite being in April, it was a scorching week and they had the most amazing time visiting lots of different places. Their children were four and seven and handled the long car journey really well. They loved it so much they’ve been back each year since!

Cathryn from Cardiff Mummy Says said their best holiday has to be their trip to Rome this May. She and her husband honeymooned in Italy 10 years previously. They visited the Trevi Fountain and, as is custom, threw in a coin so that someday they would return to Rome.

We joked that we should come back for our 10-year wedding anniversary – with our kids – and that’s exactly what we did. It was so amazing being back there with our three children and showing them all the sights that it made us fall in love with Rome.

The weather was perfect during their trip, the campsite they stayed on was amazing and the Italian pizza, pasta and wine was delicious too.

Alice from Living with a Jude has had both her best and worst holiday rolled into one. She went to see family and friends in the states following several years of trying to get her horrid, emotionally abusive ex out of her life. Her friends out there made the visit amazing and she had such sun seeing them all. On the flip side, her (then) seven year-old severely autistic son was (in her words) a bit of a nightmare.

He had meltdowns every day, wouldn’t stay on the beach, wouldn’t go out, freaked out on the plane. It was horrific!

Thankfully her parents were with her were with her so they were able to maintain a sense of normality for her (then) four-year-old daughter. They babysat in the evenings so she was able to go out, stress-free knowing her ex wouldn’t be trying to ruin her life when she got home. It was the worst holiday because of her son’s behaviour but the best because emotionally she was on top of the world (her own words).

And finally, I wanted to highlight one comment that stood out to me. It is from Lisa who blogs at That British Betty and I have not edited her comment in anyway.

Our best holiday was a few months after my fiancé died suddenly from a virus. I was completely reckless, used the money we’d saved for our wedding to take my two girls to Italy (aged 11 and 14 at the time), stayed in beautiful hotels and spent ten days exploring the islands, travelling on boats, eating with the locals and doing things we’d never dared to before. It was incredibly therapeutic and freeing to travel ‘alone’ and gave us some amazing memories in the middle of a horrendous time in our lives.

From the Maldives and Walt Disney World, to Spain, Italy and staycations in Scotland and Cornwall, these bloggers have shown us that the best holiday with kids can be anywhere in the world. What makes great holidays with kids is the fun everyone has while making long-lasting memories. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, so long as you are having fun as a family.

Thanks so much to all the great bloggers who shared with us their best holiday with their kids to date. There were so many different destinations and reasons behind the best holidays. What has been your best holiday to date with your kids? Why not share it with us in the comments below.

Cath x

best holiday with kids best holiday with kids

 

Planning Our First Family Visit to Disneyland Paris

BattleDad and I have been to Disneyland Paris (or EuroDisney as we still refer to it) two times. Each time it was a special anniversary for both Disney and my husband. You see my husband worked at Disneyland Paris for a year as part of the opening crew in 1992. Our two visits coincided with the 15th and 20th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland Paris. Well, this year is the 25th anniversary and so we are due another trip but this time things are a little different. You see it will be our first family visit to Disneyland Paris, as I mentioned in our holiday plans for 2017. Not only is it our first family visit and hubby’s 25th anniversary, but BattleKid will be almost four and my 40th birthday is looming this year too. So how do we even begin planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris?planning our first family visit to disneyland paris

Firstly, we are going with friends so needed to choose a mutually agreed time to go. Personally, we wanted to leave it as late in the year as possible so it would be close to both my birthday (December) and BattleKid’s in January. Late November or December seemed like a good prospect when we started planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris. Plus, my hubby reliably informed us that Disneyland will be decorated for Christmas so there would be just a little extra magic going around. So, we decided on the first week in December.

Next, we are going mid-week rather than at the weekend. Our friends had a quick look on the Disneyland Paris website and saw an “Extra Nights Free” promotion, so both couples were soon checking this out. But planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris is a minefield, so I turned to the blogging community to get their hints and tips to help with our own planning.

Tips for planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris

Where to stay

I never realised there were so many hotels associated with Disneyland Paris. I thought there was the main one, and maybe one or two others, but there are no less than seven Disney hotels, and a host of other partner hotels to choose from. Jennifer from My Mummys Pennies advises to stay somewhere fitting to your budget and you will get out of it what you need. She stayed at both the Santa Fe and Newport Bay Hotels, while Anna from Squats Sass and Saggy Skin has stayed at the Sequoi Lodge. Both Carol from Family Makes and Corrina (my sister-in-law), travel guru at Cherry Sue Doin the Do, have stayed at the Davy Crockett Ranch. Carol says the Davy Crockett Ranch is cheaper than the other hotels, the characters still visit this hotel, and her children are still taking about this accommodation (with its great leisure facilities) to this day!

What to pack

I know for a fact that Paris can be chilly in December. Our first visit as a couple was for my birthday at the end of December and I got very cold waiting in the queue to go up the Eiffel Tower on my 30th birthday, so I know we’re going to need jumpers and coats. I’ll need to fish these out of storage as they’re hardly going to be worn in Portugal. Beth from Twinderelmo has advised taking lip balm too as she found her lips got quite sore when she visited during winter. Lisa from That British Betty says to bring lots of snacks as those in the park are mega bucks. Jennifer from My Mummys Pennies has advised taking layers that are easy to take on and off as you go in and out of places. Janet from Falcondale Life says to pack a cool bag so you can pack it full of snacks and sandwiches form the breakfast buffet as again, lunch and snacks in the park are expensive. Kellie from My Little Babog advises to buy your character costumes, autograph book and pen at home and bring them with you to save spending a fortune in the park. And she also says bring your own raincoat as the ponchos are expensive and aren’t as good as raincoats. To sum up, as we are going in December, we’ll need layers and warm coats, raincoats, character costumes, autograph book and pen, and a cool bag with lots of snacks. Better book two hold bags so!

Where to eat

Quite a few of the bloggers, including Corrina, Kellie, Lisa and Janet have said to raid the breakfast buffet as lunch/snacks are expensive in the park and to bring snacks with you. Up until last year breakfast was included in a Disneyland hotel stay but it is now extra as part of the meal plan. I think we are planning to go with at least breakfast, so I’ll be following their advice and filling a cool bag to bring in with us. I might also pack snacks into our suitcases to bring with us. Kaz from Ickle Pickles Life reiterated this tip about bringing in your own snacks, but also says to bring in your own water bottles and refill them from the water fountains in the parks, saving you loads on drinks inside!

That said I do want to do at least one or two special meals as we have a few celebrations during our stay so we may book breakfast with the characters. Both Jennifer and Kellie have recommended Café Mickey for a meal so I think I’ll be considering that. Kerry from Kerry Louise Norris, who is one of the biggest Disney fans I know, says to ensure you book your table service restaurants well in advance. This will guarantee a reservation plus ensure there is no queuing up and being disappointed when you can’t get in where you want. Point noted Kerry, thank you!

What to see and do

Beth says Christmas is a magical time to visit Disney so to make sure we don’t miss the extra Christmas parade. Sarah from Boo Roo and Tigger Too told us that her favourite ride is the Peter Pan Ride

So magical and you feel as though you are soaring through the skies of Neverland.

Evany Carr, who’s mum Michelle blogs at All Things Baby and Me, has actually been part of a Disney parade. How cool is that! If you’d like to know how that was possible, watch her YouTube video. Lisa also says the parades and fireworks are not to be missed.

Michelle from Playdays and Runways and her family always go to Disneyland in December as she feels it’s the best time of year to go. She has said we must definitely watch the tree lighting ceremony which happens nightly at 6pm in the town square and is simply magical. Mickey and friends gather round to tell a festive story and sing Christmas songs. Then the lights go out in main street before coming back on one-by-one until every light on the Christmas tree has been lit. She said

even after years of watching it I still get goosebumps.

Beth has also said that you can visit Santa when at Disney around Christmas to get you in the mood so that might well be on our to-do list!

Other hints and tips

Nicola from All Things Spliced said that when you go into the park early in the morning you should head left. Most visitors head right and work their way around anti-clockwise. So, by going left and clockwise you should beat most of the crowds. Kellie from My Little Babog went one further and said when queuing for rides, queue on the left. Unusual but great hints to remember. The other big tip from many people was to bring your character costumes from home and dress your little ones in them. Those dressed up get more attention from the characters so it’s worth doing it. Corrina’s daughter got special preferential treatment when she was dressed as Elsa from Frozen, and she also saw a little boy dressed as Darth Vader get special treatment too on the Star Wars ride. Shopping list: must buy character costumes!

I have to thank everyone who has helped us in planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris so far. I’m armed with hints and tips (and a growing shopping list). We are in the final stages of deciding where to stay and whether we stick to a budget or blow it completely as it’s a special occasion.

Corrina wrote a great post, Just Say Yes – The Art of Bagging a Good Travel Deal, which I’m mulling over and I’ve got Kellie’s 30 Awesome Dinseyland Paris Tips and Tricks – EuroDisney post bookmarked! Kerry’s Disneyland Paris Accommodation post is also being read with a fine tooth-comb to help us make a final accommodation decision. And if you’d like to know more hints and tips about doing Disneyland Paris with young children, you must read Kate of Five Little Star’s first post in a new series on her blog dedicated to Disneyland Paris, and also Suzy of Our Bucket List Lives post about doing Disneyland Paris with young kids. I’m eagerly awaiting the next ones!planning our first family visit to disneyland paris

All that’s left to do in planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris is to make a final decision on accommodation, book our flights and start getting excited for an awesome few days!

Is there anything else you could add to the great advice we’ve been given so far?

Cath x

planning our first family visit to disneyland paris planning our first family visit to disneyland paris planning our first family visit to disneyland paris

WANDERLUST KIDS

5 Things To Do in New York with a Toddler In Tow

Last September the Battle Family visited New York for the very first time. BattleKid was 2 years and 8 months old and both BattleDad and I were a bit apprehensive about what we would be able to do with him while there. We also had to be realistic that certain things may be off limits to us due to having a toddler in tow. That said, we never let having a toddler put us off booking New York in the first place. We went and I wrote all about our New York holiday in the New York Holiday Diaries. Today I’d like to share with you our top 5 things to do in New York with a toddler in tow to show you that you should never be afraid to just do it.5 THINGS TO DO IN NEW YORK WITH A TODDLER IN TOW

The Empire State Building.

We weren’t sure if we were going to have time to visit the Empire State Building but we were up quite early on our last morning so decided to get the subway into New York and headed for the Empire State Building after a fab breakfast at a traditional diner around the corner from it. We got there very early, just after it opened at 8am and to our surprise there were absolutely no queues. I had been worried as we didn’t pre-book our tickets but we bought them, strolled up to the elevator and straight up to the 80th floor, the first stop, in an elevator with plenty of room in it.

After strolling around that floor and “ooh-ing” at the views, we then headed up to the 86th floor. This is the open-air observatory used in all the films and TV and we had been advised not to bother going any further. The views were even better from there. We really enjoyed our visit to the Empire State Building, especially as we seemed to pick a great time to go. We visited just after 8am on a Wednesday morning and there were no queues. We have heard last thing at night (it is open from 8am to 2am) is the best time to visit for no queues and for getting snaps of the New York skyline lit up at night.

We got tickets that included the 80th and 86th floors for $32 each (children cost $26 and under 6’s go free). We didn’t bring BattleKid’s buggy and that was a great idea as you need to fold it before getting into elevators. Tickets to include both the 86th and top deck cost $52 for adults and $46 for children, but as we were advised we didn’t bother doing the top deck and certainly didn’t feel like we’d missed out. The views from the open-air observatory deck on the 86th floor are all you need! There are, however, VIP passes that allow you to skip the queues if you plan visiting at busy times but they come at a premium, so be warned.new york day 5

Central Park.

This was one New York attraction that we were not going to miss. Central Park is huge with a zoo, lake and various other areas of interest in it. It is 843 acres or 3.4km2 and we only saw a small fraction of it. Surprisingly it is almost half the size of the Phoenix Park in Dublin! Our main reason for visiting Central Park was to have a photograph taken in Strawberry Fields, to carry on a family tradition. We managed to find the elusive rock with memorial plaque on it and a kind passing tourist took our picture, ensuring the tradition carrys on.

The best part about Central Park is that it’s easy to get to and is free! Attractions inside can cost extra such as the zoo and restaurants but if you are visiting on a sunny summer day, why not take a picnic and enjoy it on one of the many grassy areas. We didn’t get to stop long in Central Park but it will definitely be on our must-return-to list for our future visits to New York. Kids will love it as it’s a great place to run free among a busy bustling city!New york day 4

The World Trade Centre Memorial.

The Twin Towers Memorial park was top of my to-do list and we visited this on our jam-packed second full day in New York (the first being a total washout due to heavy rain). We had breakfast in a traditional diner nearby before heading around to the site. The memorial is both wondrous and humbling and it really hits home what happened on that awful day when you see the two pools and all the names of the people who lost their lives when the two towers fell. Most upsetting for both BattleDad and I was seeing a lady’s name and beside it “And Her Unborn Child”. We both welled up and gave BattleKid’s hand an extra squeeze.

The pools and landscaped gardens around it are stunning and a fitting memorial. There is also a museum at the site but we didn’t visit it as we felt BattleKid would be too bored for us to take our time going around it. We plan to visit it when he is older so that he can understand it more. The memorial park itself is free while the museum costs $24 adults and $15 for children (under 6’s are free) and you can pre-book your tickets up to 6 months in advance. It is advised to allow yourself 2 hours for your visit, particularly if you plan to include the museum in your visit. The memorial is open from 7.30am to 9pm daily and the museum from 9am to 8pm.

The only thing I will advise, especially if you are visiting with a toddler, and you are getting the subway, do not travel during rush hour. We made that mistake and kept trying to get out of the way of commuters and it took us ages to exit the amazing mall and concourse up to street level. So avoid rush hour if you can! But you should definitely put this on your must-see list of places to visit while in New York.New york day 4

Water Ferry.

We did this on the recommendation of my sister-in-law and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a 1 hour boat ride around the tip of Manhattan that takes in Manhattan, Liberty Island and the Brooklyn Bridge, which we would have missed had we not seen it on this trip. We got on the Zephyr, a large ferry type boat, at Pier 16 and headed for the top deck. The weather was lovely and when the sun came out it made our water views of Manhattan very magical. We also managed to get some pictures of the Statue of Liberty without having to step off the boat which we thought was great.

The boat trip is narrated with information from a guide and ours was very funny. There are two cash bars on board, remember cash, and you can buy tickets for this which combine other attractions too. Tickets just for the ferry cost $30 for adults and $19 for children (with under 3’s free) and there are various departure times between 10am and 5pm. This boat trip was thoroughly enjoyed by both us and BattleKid and is definitely one I would recommend you do for a different view of Manhattan.New york day 4

Times Square.

No trip to New York would be complete without a trip to Times Square and having your picture taken with all the lights of the billboards behind you. Times Square was the very first stop during our trip and it is an amazing place to see in the flesh. BattleKid was amazed by all the lights and sounds, although he wasn’t too enamoured with the sirens around us. Times Square is free to visit and there are plenty of shops around if you fancy a bit of shopping or restaurants if you want a bite to eat. We went into the Disney Store and bought BattleKid a t-shirt and Mickey Mouse as it just had to be done.

The only thing I’ll warn you about Times Square and buggies is it gets very, very busy and can be a bit difficult to navigate with a buggy. I’ll be honest and say I took no prisoners on the sidewalk and got through relatively unscathed. For kids on their own two feet, keep a tight grip on their hands and don’t let go as the crowds could easily swallow them up.new york day 2

So there you have it, 5 things to do in New York with a toddler in tow. There are a thing or two to keep in mind with each of them but they can ALL be enjoyed even with a toddler in tow. We had fun at each of them, got plenty of photos and got to tick a few things off our NYC to-do list. There were one or two things we discovered weren’t ideal with BattleKid, such as the National History Museum due to them charging for toddlers, but that won’t put us off visiting when he is older to enjoy them. It will be a few years until we plan our return trip but when we do we already have a to-do list made which includes Madame Tussauds, Grand Central Station and a Helicopter Ride over Manhattan.

Are there any things to do in New York with a toddler in tow that we didn’t do or that you can recommend for my readers?

Cath

Note: all prices were correct at the time of writing this post.

WANDERLUSTKIDS

things to do in new york with a toddler in tow

What to pack for 6 days in Portugal

Easter has been traditionally a time when I’ve gone home to Ireland for the long weekend to visit family. However, this year I’m breaking with tradition and heading to an all-together sunnier climate. My parents have been going to Portugal every year in March but normally around the 11th which is my mum’s birthday. However they decided late last year they’d like to go over Easter in order to bring my nephew with them as he’d be off school on holidays.

With that in mind it threw my usual Easter plans into disarray. If my folks weren’t going to be home then I wouldn’t go myself. I didn’t want to miss them so decided to stay at home this year and just chill out. They then said they’d cancel Portugal but I wouldn’t let them, it wouldn’t be fair on them or my nephew to miss out. That’s when BattleDad recently came up with a brilliant idea. Seeing as he usually does a bike trip while I’m away over Easter, why didn’t I just meet my parents in Portugal instead of staying at home on my own with BattleKid? Genius! I called my parents to ask if that would be ok and proceeded to book flights for myself and BattleKid as my mum had secured a 2 bedroom apartment so there would be room for us. We’re on!

Sunrise

As you read this I’m now there enjoying sunshine (I hope) but the week leading up to it has been a bit hectic for me. Firstly I’ve never been to Portugal, let alone in March, so I’ve had no idea what to pack for myself or BattleKid. Do I pack shorts or should I bring trousers? Will it be hot so we only need t-shirts or do we need cardigans and jumpers as well? I rang my dad earlier in the week but he said he wears light trousers out and about, and shorts by the pool so it sounds like both might be needed.

Also, as I’m flying solo with BattleKid I want to bring just one suitcase and the minimum amount of hand luggage than I might normally do when we’re travelling with BattleDad. That means no Trunki stuffed with toys. They’ll need to go into the main case with a few things in the cabin bag to entertain him during the two hour flight. I’ve loaded up his little tablet with plenty of Curious George and Thomas the Tank Engine episodes so hopefully these will do. I’m also bringing snacks to distract him with on board. I did pick him up a monkey backpack so might be able to put a few toys in that.

As he’s now fully weaned onto cow’s milk it means I don’t have to bring formula nor do I need to bring any food in my case for him like I have done in the past. I also only need to bring the minimum amount of nappies as my mum is planning on buying them and swim nappies the day we arrive so that saves a huge amount of space. However, as BattleKid is too big for travel cots now, I’m bringing a toddler blow-up bed so that needs to go into the case.

But as for clothes I’ve been rightly stumped as to what to pack. Not knowing what the weather will be like has been a bit unnerving for me. So I’ve had to pack a mixture. I don’t need to worry about dressy clothes as we won’t be going out late for dinner with BattleKid in tow. We’ll most likely be eating at our apartment or dining early in nearby restaurants. But I do think I’m still probably bringing more than I need as I normally do! I always over pack.

So here’s what I’m bringing with us, in brief:

Mum: 1 jeans, 1 shorts, 1 capri trousers, 8 t-shirts, 2 dressy tops, 1 dress, flip flops, 1 pair of sandal shoes, 1 bikini, 1 swimsuit, 1 pj’s, 1 hoodie, 1 cardigan, 1 hat.

BattleKid: 3 shorts, 2 trousers, 1 hoodie, 8 t-shirts, 2 swim sets, 1 sandal shoes, 2 shorts pj’s, 2 long pj’s, 2 hats.20160320_214617_001

Hand luggage will consist of  a change bag containing 1 change of clothes for BattleKid, tablet, few toys, George, a beaker and snacks, and travel documents. That’s about all I’ll be able to carry on my own! If I’ve forgotten to pack anything I’ll just have to get it when I’m there. And of course, there will be a holiday diaries series when we come back telling you what we got up to out there. Completely unplanned until this week and exciting all the same.

Wish me luck and have a great Easter!

Cath x

5 Places I’d like to visit with BattleKid

There are some places I’ve been that I want to revisit with BattleKid when he is older and other places we’ve yet to travel to that we would like to share with him. Having been born and raised in Africa until I was 9 years old, and having visited Saudi Arabia when I was 10 for 2 months, travelling has been in my blood since a young age. Thanks Lolo!

While I’ve done plenty of package holidays and weekends away with BattleDad, friends and family, there is still alot more of the world I want to see, with BattleKid along for the ride from now on. So here are the five places I most want to visit with BattleKid. One trip I’ve done with BattleDad before and one is coming up this year, hopefully to be repeated in years to come. The other three are definitely bucket list destinations I want to visit with BattleKid when he’s older. In no particular order:

  1. New York. I’ve never visited New York, ever. I’ve been to Chicago and really liked it but NYC has been on BattleDad’s and my to-do list for a while now. BattleDad was there when he was only a baby but hasn’t been back since. So this year we are heading stateside with BattleKid. Our longest flight to date with BattleKid has been 4 hours so it’s going to be a challenge with a 2 year old for 7 hours but we aren’t going to let it stop us! My sister-in-law ItsCherrySue went with her boys (young men now) last October and she Snapchatted her way through their trip and it was just the incentive BattleDad and I needed to just do it. We booked our flights and just have to sort our accommodation out now. We’re going via Dublin to break up the outbound journey but we’re really looking forward to it. We’re hoping we enjoy it enough to want to return when BattleKid is older so he can gain memories of his own.Central park colors

     

  1. Oregon and Yellowstone. BattleDad and I watched the 3-part documentary “Yellowstone” a number of years ago and have wanted to visit it ever since. I’ve also wanted to visit America in autumn to see the autumn colours and, while people often visit places like Maine, Vermont and New York state, Oregon can be just as spectacular for fall colours as the Eastern states. When I found out that you could do both Yellowstone AND Oregon in one driving trip I knew it was going on my bucket list with BattleKid. We considered it for this year but decided we want to wait until BattleKid is old enough to remember it as it is probably not a trip we’d repeat like New York. Our plan, should we ever do it, is to fly into Yellowstone and drive from there to Portland over about 10 days, taking in a few of the national parks (particularly Lolo National Park, for obvious reasons) before flying back to either Chicago or New York for a day or two to break up the return journey. It’ll be an epic trip if we manage to do it.Abiqua Reflection
  1. Tromso, Norway. BattleDad and I visited Tromso in Norway in 2012 with the sole purpose of seeing the Northern Lights. We had seen a 5 second glance of them in Iceland in 2009 on a long weekend in Reykjavik with friends but I longed for more. So in 2012 we went further north, 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle to be precise to give ourselves the best chance. It was a cold but not unbearable November and on our second night of Northern Lights hunting we saw them for hours and got some amazing photos. This is one place I’m definitely taking BattleKid as soon as he’s old enough to both enjoy and remember it. We’ll do it during a half term and include things like visit reindeer, see the Sami’s, go snowmobiling and maybe even visit an ice hotel. There will be late nights too for hunting the Northern Lights. And while I know it’s going to be an expensive trip (Norway isn’t cheap) I am saving now and know it’ll be so worth it.Northern lights in Tromso
  1. Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan. This is most definitely a bucket list trip, one that’s been on mine for a while, and one I’d love to do but am unsure if it will be achievable. The Tiger’s Nest, or Para Taktsang, is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery situated on the side of a cliff in Bhutan. You have to trek a steep climb to visit the monastery some 3000 feet above the Paro Valley. Also involved are 1000 steps and it can take between 4 and 8 hours to do the complete trip. To do this I think we as a family will need to be used to climbing the likes of Pen-y-Fan! I’d love to visit it though and as a family. Again it is a trip we’ll need to save for but also train for!Taktsang Monastery  \
  1. Last but not least is the country I was born in. I left Botswana before I was 2 years old and it’s my life long dream to return as I have no memories of it. I want to see Orapa, the town where I was born and would love to combine that with a trip to the Okavango Delta to see if we can spot Africa’s Big Five. A safari in Botswana would be amazing to do as a family. One day!DSC_0081

Although they didn’t make it into my top five I’d also like to visit parts of China and return to Iceland (particularly the Blue Lagoon) with BattleKid. There’s a great big world out there and I really hope to discover more of it with BattleKid and share the experience of new places, people and cultures with him.

Where would you like to visit with your children?

Thanks for reading.

Cath x