Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Travelling with a baby and the kitchen sink!

So my baby is racking up the air miles and I love it! I absolutely love travelling with him. Yes, it's a stressful, yes, we have to pack up our whole house each time, yes, it can unsettle his routine but ultimately it gives us a brand new outlook on things and makes us excited to share these wonderful experiences.

At 6 months we took Caleb to South Africa and I was so apprehensive about EVERYTHING. How he would travel, how he would be in a foreign country, how I would be when I was there (would I actually enjoy it or just spend the entire time worrying). Once we arrived, and the journey there was a breeze, I thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. We had quality family time, a chance to explore, better weather and although Caleb won't remember it, we made some unforgettable memories and just got to experience things as a family of three. I will be forever grateful of the time that we have together and I will always look back with such fondness on that trip. 

Fast forward 8 months and we decided we needed another trip away. This time to stay with my bestie, Josie, who is currently living in Istanbul. Again, I had moments where I was pretty apprehensive about taking Caleb away. What if something awful happens, what if he gets ill etc etc etc. The truth is any of that could happen but it's out of my control. I could go and have the time of my life so my husband always tells me that there is no point worrying about things that might not happen. I think he's so right but it's not always so easy. 
However, we booked the tickets and travelled as a family of three and took along our au pair Hattie, just joking, she's my other bestie.
Taking friends with you comes in very handy FYI! Mr Jen and Cub and I even got 30 mins sleep on the plane because the au pair was doing laps in the aisle!

The trip to Istanbul was amazing, we had 2 flights there with a small lay over at Amsterdam. One thing we learned from our last trip was what you are and aren't allowed to travel with for a baby. On this flight with KLM, Caleb was allowed 10 kilos of luggage and we had our 21 kilo allowance too. We only went for 4 nights so all of us were way under. It is unlikely that you will go over 10 kilos for a baby anyway. We took all the essentials with us as well as packets of food for Caleb incase the food there didn't suit him. He also has an egg and peanut allergy so I don't like to risk a thing. We suddenly realised the night before that we hadn't paid for a cot to travel with us as it said it would be extra but as it turned out we just handed it over and they didn't say a thing or charge us (win). 

Last time we travelled we had a cheap stroller which did the job but it was fairly bulky and was just way too basic. This time we opted for the BabyZen YoYo+ which is suitable for 6 months + (it does have an option to attach a car seat for newborns too). When it arrived we had to put it altogether which was straight forward although Tom likes to make it more complicated by doing it without reading instructions!! Straight away we commented and couldn't believe how light weight it was.
It holds up to 18kg and is only 6.6kg itself. It folds small enough to be able to be popped into the bag and carried on your shoulder which also lends itself to being small and light enough for hand luggage on the plane. Something which I was so happy about because it means you can literally use it up to the very last minute and then just collapse it down. You won't have to hand it over at all and risk it being 'placed' (thrown) into the hold. We were able to put it under our seat and then it was ready to take straight off. More hands free for other luggage! In the airport my husband was pretty pleased with himself when he could open the entire stroller one handed, Caleb in the other and it was ready to go. There were a lot of fans of this in the airport too!!

On our first day out in Istanbul we couldn't believe the pavements, my friend had warned us about them but they really have to be the worst ever. I don't think the council would have enough money for claims if they were that bad over here! We were seriously impressed how well the BabyZen coped with the uneven surfaces and high curbs. It was literally a dream to push - so much so my husband wants to use it instead of our pram at home now which feels so bulky and stiff in comparison. Caleb seemed more than happy in it, proof of the pudding was the amount he slept in it! You can drop it down so it's laying near to flat as possible and it has a hood that offers cover.
The only thing I think you compromise on is the storage space. There is an undertray which isn't huge. It is bigger than the one on my current pram and easier to access so I was pretty happy with it but if you are used to larger storage then you might feel it's not a lot of room. However, on our trip we were constantly hopping on and off the metro, jumping in and out of taxis, on trams, in funicular  etc so actually we chose not to use the undertray that much so that we could fold the stroller up really quickly. However it's amazing what you can pack onto a buggy after a trip to the Bazaar where we bought Christmas presents galore, my friend's goodies as well as our coats and baby bag.

I felt it transformed our travel and made it so much easier and accessible for us this time round. I also think it looks good, which isn't my main concern when choosing a travel system but it certainly helps! We chose peppermint and it's a gorgeous colour.

One thing which we didn't have when we were away was a high chair and instead took the insert of a bumberoo. It wasn't ideal and was sooo wobbly, but we could sit Caleb in it on the table (and hold on for dear life) haha. I think our next travel essential will be a portable high chair. 
The cot we took was from mamas and papas and we took this to Cape Town too. It's a really good size and folds away nicely, you just have to put the mattress in a suitcase. We made the au pair carry that ;-) 

I'll pop another blog post together about Istanbul and share some of our photos and the wonderful places we visited, soon. 

Jen and Cub

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