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Airports & Flights Plan & Pre-Travel

Flying with Children – Hygiene and Health Tips.

December 4, 2016

Keeping my kids healthy while travelling is not something I like to leave to chance. Yes, some things are out of our control as parents and sometimes our children will be unwell and pick up bugs. That’s life. That is also why I do everything in my own control before taking my kids on a long haul flight to ensure that their health and hygiene is taken care of and give them the best possible chance of staying healthy and comfortable while flying.

 

Here are my Top Health and Hygiene Tips for Flying with Kids.

 

  1. Check up at the Doctor’s – This will give you the peace of mind to know that your child is fit and healthy to fly. Good chance to check that ears are clear. If there is any sign of an ear infection I would not advise to fly. Also make sure they have had a recent dental check. Just reassuring to know that everything is ok before you go away. Check with your Doctor that your children are immunised specifically for your destination.

 

  1. Book travel insurance – If your child did get sick while you are away the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about the cost of hospital or ambulance.

 

  1. Rest – Ensure your children have rested pre flight, if they are tired and run down they will be more prone to picking up bugs. I know this is easier said than done, but you can only try!

 

  1. Ensure that your children have eaten healthy food and are hydrated pre flight, giving them a head start of vitamins and hydration is a good idea and will help maintain their level of health while flying the long haul.

 

  1. Pack hand sanitiser and ensure your kids use it! Children are naturally curious and like to touch things. I always make sure my kids use hand sanitiser before eating.

 

  1. Personal hygiene can go a long way in keeping kids comfortable and healthy on a flight. Once at the airport I recommend that you take your children to the bathrooms in the terminal pre boarding and assist them with brushing their teeth. I prefer to use an electric toothbrush and my latest discovery is the Colgate Proclinical. It is compact for travel and comes with a usb charging travel case. Often routines can get pushed aside while you travel, it’s important to remember your child’s dental hygiene while you are on the go.

 

Note. This post is sponsored by Colgate, All opinions are my own.

 

Airports & Flights Featured Plan & Pre-Travel

Top Ten Tips for Babies First Flight

August 22, 2016

 

Looking after a baby in your home environment is a juggle, so the thought of being in a confined pressurised metal tube with hundreds of others is a daunting thought. I completely understand that. Even though I am very familiar with being in an aircraft environment and I have assisted thousands of parents flying with babies. The first time I flew as a passenger with my baby I was nervous, anxious and a little worried. I was mainly worried about the people around me. What if my baby was unsettled and cried, disturbing others around me? What if this is the worst idea I have ever had? How will I change my baby in the small aircraft toilet? What if a nappy leaks? It’s natural to worry as a new parent and I would like to share with you “My Top Ten Tips For Babies First Flight” that will hopefully make you feel more relaxed and confident flying with your little ones.

  1. Baby’s First Passport– Organise your baby’s passport well in advance of travel. Getting the passport photo right can be tricky. From personal experience, I found Teds Camera shop the best. You can find everything you need to know about applying for your child’s first passport here.
  2. Request a bassinet – As there is only a limited amount of bassinets available and with so many families travelling these days, they are in high demand, so request one well in advance of travelling. Also, do check with your airline before travel to see if your baby will meet the criteria, as there are weight restrictions. I highly recommend a Fly Babee bassinet cover that blocks out light, giving your baby more chance of a peaceful rest.
  3. Getting through the airport – Allow lots of extra time for nappy changes and feeds. The Ergo baby carrier was so handy as it allowed me to keep my arms free and comfort my baby while we went through the airport process of security, immigration and walking to the gate. I also preferred to ditch the nappy bag and use a backpack, meaning I could be comfortable and balanced, instead of jugging a bulky bag on one shoulder
  4. Try not to worry– if you are doing your best to comfort your child and they are still unsettled, please don’t pay any attention to any eye rolls you get from passengers around you. You and your baby have every right to be traveling and really we all need to be a little tolerant and patient when sharing a space with so many others. It’s not a private jet, it’s a commercial airline and we are all human. So please if you are doing all you can and your baby cries do not feel bad. I’m sure a lot of adults feel like crying when flying too.
  5. Nappies– Pack lots of extra nappies at least 10 more than you think you will need in hand luggage. Invest in good quality ones. Woolworths have recently launched their Little One’s range and they are fantastic quality and reasonably priced. It’s best to stock up before you travel, brands overseas (especially in Asia) don’t compare with our Australian quality. Remember to pack extra in case of delays and diversions. A little trick I did which really helps once on board with nappy changes is to keep a few nappies in a freezer bag with some wipes and keep it in the seat pocket. You don’t want to be rummaging through the overhead locker for nappies and wipes you, want them to be accessible. Wipes are your best friend; they are so handy to have. Not just for nappy changes but also for wiping little faces, wiping tray tables, getting stains out of clothing.
  6. First Aid – Always bring your own baby Panodol, Bonjela, etc. Always handy to have. Also keep hand sanitiser handy and be sure to use throughout the journey.
  7. Ask the crew – The crew are there to help you and they should offer to assist before you have to ask. Some useful questions to ask the crew are: Where is the closest infant change table? How do I use the extension seat belt? Can you please heat up this bottle? Can you please sterilise this dummy?
  8. Little Ears– Please make sure your baby is sucking (milk or dummy) during take off and landing. Little ears are so sensitive to the changes in aircraft pressure. That piercing scream you hear on take off and landing can be avoided if your baby is sucking during this time.
  9. Hydrate- Throw the meal schedule out the window and hydrate your baby with extra feeds. It is so dehydrating up there and it can really help with jetlag and recovery if you are hydrated. If you are breast-feeding make sure you are drinking lots of water.
  10. Clothing- Always dress your baby in layers so you can adjust accordingly as the temperature in the air can fluctuate, usually on the cooler side. Pack spare clothes for you, in case of nappy leaks or some milk comes up. If you want your baby to sleep on board dress them in their pyjamas and bring their sleeping bag and sleepy time toys. Sleep cues can help comfort a baby who is feeling disorientated and over tired during a flight. Finally pack a few wraps, as they are so handy to use during nappy changes, to add extra layers and for privacy when breastfeeding.

 

Hopefully “My Tips for Babies First Flight” can help you have a relaxed stress free flight with your little ones. Safe travels, Jade Szonyi

 

 

Note. This post is sponsored by Woolworths Little Ones Nappies.

My words are my own opinion and 100 per cent true.

Airports & Flights Featured Plan & Pre-Travel

Top Tips – Child’s First Flight

April 6, 2016

A child’s first flight should be an exciting experience as it can set the foundations for a life long love of travel. What a beautiful gift to give our children. However, flying for the first time can be overwhelming and scary for the little ones – let alone us adults! It is for this reason I advise preparing your child for their first flight to reduce their apprehension, hopefully resulting in a more relaxed and happy child and parent.

Here are 5 ways to prepare your child for their first flight:

  • Explain the airport process. There are some great children’s books that explain the whole airport process.  My favourite is the Usborne Wind Up Plane Book. I read this book to my children from a young age. It covers all the steps from bag checking & security, through to take-off and landing and even getting a taxi once you land. I never forget how worried my daughter was as a toddler when we checked in our bags, asking “where are our bags going Mummy?”  I explained remember in your book our bags are going on a special belt to be loaded in the undercarriage of the aircraft. I also loved telling her “that is what mummy does” when they showed the flight attendant doing the safety demo.
  • Explain why the flight attendants do a safety demonstration. It’s nothing to be afraid off and we are very safe in the air, however in the unlikely chance that there was an emergency in-flight it’s important that children know to listen to the flight attendants instructions. I always show my kids the closest emergency exit in case we have to exit in a hurry. This has never scared my children and if anything they are reassured. You know your child and how to best word your safety conversation, I think its very important.
  • Most general Turbulence is normal and safe. Explain to your children that the plane might be going through a few bumpy clouds once are up in the sky. Unexpected turbulence can give any of us a little shock, so best to pre warn your children that if it does happen its normal and we are safe.
  • Following your journey on a map.Showing your child where you are going on a map is a great way for them to visualise the journey before you fly.  Your child’s concept of the world, like travellers of all age, increases with air travel. What a gift to open your child’s perception and teach them about another place beyond their home.
  • Get your child to start a travel journal before you fly. Travel journals are a great keepsake for children. Get your children to write in their travel journal before you leave, or draw some pictures that you can help annotate. Provide them some prompting questions like “how are you feeling about the trip?” or “What do you think the plane journey will be like?” You can also use the journal as a prompt to discuss the up coming flight and allow them to keep filling it in on the rest of their travels.

 

If you are a nervous flyer yourself, try to plan some coping strategies for the flight. For all of you though, I encourage you to take some time before you travel and use my tips to reassure and encourage your child that flying is safe and exciting, hopefully resulting in a relaxed and happy little traveller.

Safe Travels,

Jade

 

Airports & Flights

Inflight Health and Wellness

March 3, 2016

At the end of a long 15 hour international flight passengers have often asked me “How do the crew manage to stay looking fresh till the end?”  I can assure you that we crew are only human and also get tired and crave a shower as much as anyone else. It is really important to be prepared and get off to a good start so I always aim to be well rested and leave plenty of time to avoid feeling rushed and stressed before I fly. For further insight into how us crew look after our health, wellness and vitality during and after a long haul flight, here are some of my Inflight health and wellness industry tips:

 

  • Hydration- Travelling by air is extremely dehydrating for our bodies both internally and externally, as the cabin air at altitude is very low in humidity. To counteract the internal effects, I drink a litre of coconut water before and a minimum of 2 litres of water whilst in the air. To help me externally, the night before I fly always put in a moisturising hair mask and sleep in a moisturising face cream. I can’t stress enough that when you fly frequently, investing in a high quality moisturising cream is a non-negotiable as it can really help reduce the feeling of dehydration.  My favourite face creams are Skin Doctors’ Skin Active Night before I fly and Super Moist for during the flight (and day), as they last and are deeply moisturising. For a quick top-up I also use a hydration spray, which is very refreshing.
  • Sleep- When flying across multiple time zones your biological clock becomes very distorted, therefore getting sleep on board is really important. You might be surprised to know that on most long haul aircraft like the A380 that I fly on, there are crew bunks. I usually get 2-3 hours break to have a sleep.  This sleep breaks up the long flight and definitely recharges me. As a passenger, when I can choose the time to have a rest, I try to sleep based on the time zone I am flying to. I know that seated on an aircraft is a not an ideal place for sleeping, however any rest is better than none, especially if you want to maximise your time at your destination. Utilise nightshades and pillows, as well dress comfortably.
  • Make Up and Grooming – As a passenger I wear very little or no make up to let my skin breathe. When I am working however, I wear long lasting make-up as this definitely helps us crew look fresher.  For foundation I love my Mac BB cream. As dark eye circles are a big sign of fatigue, I use Skin Doctors’ Eye Circle Cream and a concealer from Mac to cover this up. It’s worth applying the cream while you fly and covering up with concealer before you land if you are hitting the ground running. Most of the celebrities I have had on board will spend the last part of a flight changing and putting on make up before they are met by paparazzi in the terminal.
  • Touch up before touch down– This is an old flight attendant industry saying and something that all of the crew does before landing. This might mean just topping up lipstick, changing back into heels, brushing teeth and spraying on perfume (and that’s just the male crew;-). In First and Business class we offer pasengers pyjamas so they change and hang-up their clothes that they wore on board, keeping them fresh for landing, as many business travellers are going straight to meetings.  If you are traveling in economy, consider bringing something loose and comfortable to change into during the flight.  Also, layers are great as temperatures can vary up there (and in the terminals). Finally, flat shoes are a must, with ballet flats being my go to when I am a passenger.
  • Nutrition– I try to eat healthy light meals while I fly. Eating lots of white bread or pasta on board will just make you bloated and sluggish.  There are some beautiful healthy meals that we offer on board, so always choose wisely. I also recommend bringing your own healthy snacks, which can avoid unhealthy purchases in the terminal.
  • Move around– Yes you should stay in your seat with seat belt fastened for safety reasons. However, when it is safe to do so, you should also make sure you are moving around every now and then and keeping active. As a crewmember I move around a lot and I think that it really helps wilth swelling and general wellbeing.  I encourage my passengers on the A380 in Business and First class to visit the on-board lounge and in Economy the self-service bar. It’s a great change of scenery and place to stretch. If you are not able to leave your seat, I suggest ankle circles and neck rolls, also try flexing your major muscles in your legs. All this helps reduce the risk of DVT and muscle tension; which could lead to backaches and a feeling of excessive fatigue during, and even after your flight.

 

Jetlag is unfortunately a very real thing that International travellers have to deal with. Once you arrive at your destination it usually takes a few days to get into the rhythm of the place.  I always have a rest and try to get into the destination time zone as soon as possible. I do listen to my body and try to rest when I need it and eat if I am hungry. Never underestimate the power of the sun; a light walk outdoors is a great way to acclimatise. I hope these In flight Health and Wellness industry tips help you on your journey so that you can maximise your time at your destination. Safe travels!

Note- this post was sponsored by Skin Doctors. My opinions are 100% true

 

Airports & Flights Holidays & Destinations

Interview with Karen Edwards from Travel Mad Mum

February 20, 2016

Hi Karen,

I love your blog and your message. You are a nurse from the UK married to a New Zealander and currently on Maternity leave. Sounds normal. However you are spending your Maternity leave travelling around the world! Not just a holiday here and there for a month or so. You are actually backpacking through Asia and constantly on the go with your bub in tow. You are certainly inspiring parents all over the world that their travelling days do not have to be over just because they have a baby. You have made International headlines all over the world. This is a message I strongly believe in too and I have loved following your journey on your blog and instagram page Travel Mad Mum.

 

What inspired you to do it? To spend your entire maternity leave travelling?

I had travelled extensively before having Esmé and always had this vision of having my baby with me in a backpack exploring the world. Esmé was also a surprise, Shaun and I had travel plans so we just did things a little back to front. Now we are getting married this year.

What is in your carry on luggage for your baby that you just couldn’t live without while you are flying?

Dummy, her cuddly toy, western health conscious baby snacks, tui natural balm for relaxing baby and phone for pics.

 What is your advice to parents thinking of following in your footsteps?

Plan finances well in advance and make the decision early so you have time to work to your goal. It will be tough going through packing up your home with a new born, just need to remember you will reap the rewards very soon.

Research destinations and avoid malarial areas.

Get good travel insurance

Keep packing to a minimum, you don’t need everything with you

The earlier you go the easier it is

Try to breastfeed for immunity and ease of having to sterilise
everything

Bring a baby carrier

What is your top tip for flying with babies and staying sane?

Load the iPad with educational apps and favourite cartoons. Not an ideal way of managing busy baby but it keeps them quiet and that’s the main aim of getting through the flight.

Where is your favourite destination?

When I’ve travelled by myself I would say Croatia

When I’ve been with Esmé
I would say Vietnam

Which is the most child friendly country you have visited? Why?

I have two and for different reasons. The Vietnamese are incredibly friendly and just love western babies. I guess it’s because they don’t see them so much. They are so helpful and caring

In Taiwan, they are not so forward with their affection, however, the infrastructure really supports parents with very well set up nursery rooms just about everywhere. Equally the hotels there really make a big effort with baby cots, baths, pottys and toiletries when you are coming to stay with a little one.

What has been your biggest challenge while travelling with a baby?

Not being able to give Esmé social opportunities with other children regularly. I feel she missed out on that.

What did you learn from that challenge?

I am not sure how we could have got around that. I guess I needed to ensure we were stimulating her enough in other ways which was certainly the case.

Most babies thrive on routine. How does this work when you are constantly travelling and on the go?

We still had a routine we just didn’t have the same room every night. We left London when she was too small to get jet lag. We then slowly skipped back through Asia where the time difference might only be an hour. The baby carrier was the biggest life saviour if we were moving during nap times. She happily slept on me.

What do you have to say to people who say that your baby wont remember any of it?

I’ve had a lot of that. I say we have developed her from a sensory perspective. She is very sociable and adapts well to a changing environment. Baby’s develop the most in their first year of life. The experience of seeing a different sight every day in my eyes must be beneficial in comparison to my alternative choice of sitting in my flat in London during the winter, both of us going stir crazy.

Would you do it all again?

I would love to. Firstly hoping to get married this year and then maybe try to extend our family if we are lucky enough. We would use our mat leave in the same way

Where to next?

This year we have Ireland, Cuba, South Africa and a local holiday in the UK
Sent from my iPhone

Thank you for taking time to answer my questions. You are a very inspirational traveling mother and I hope others are inspired by your story and follow in your footsteps.

Safe travels,

Jade

You can follow Karen and Esme’s adventures  here http://travelmadmum.com/stories/

and on instagram https://www.instagram.com/travelmadmum/

 

 

 

Airports & Flights My Stories

Royal Flying Doctors Kids Club Launch

February 16, 2016

The Flying Doctors has been once again been voted as Australia’s most reputable charity for five years in a row and has been providing aero-medical assistance and primary health care services since 1928. RFDS Victoria delivers air and road patient transport, primary health care programs such as diabetes, mobile eye and dental care and rural women’s GP services, as well as raising funds for emergency retrieval across Australia.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has now launched a traditional Kids Club to connect children with one of Australia’s most iconic organisations – it’s a free club which will feature birthday greetings, regular newsletters in the mail and activities to provide children with an insight into the important work that the Flying Doctors has provided since 1928.

It’s aimed at children aged between 5 – 12 years old, with all registrations before 24th March putting them in the draw to win an iPad and a Pilots pack. They can join here https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/vic/flying-doctor-kids-club

I have just signed my six year old daughter Charlotte up. She knows about the Royal Flying Doctors as we always visit their stand at the Royal Melbourne Show and I have explained the wonderful work they do. It truly is an amazing organisation and we living in urban areas need to always think of those living in remote areas who do not have access to the same things we do. Charlotte is very excited that her membership certificate is on its way and that is exactly what club aims to do, bring back the joy of traditional mail and connection.

THE FLYING DOCTOR KIds Club features INCLUDE:

  • A certificate of membership for all members to show their friends
  • Annual birthday and Christmas cards in the mail from Flynn the Flyer
  • Regular newsletters in the mail featuring fun facts, activities and updates
  • A chance to win an iPad and Pilots Pack for one lucky winner who joins before 24 March 2016

Today the RFDS attends over 295,000 patients annually, or more than 800 every day, performs around 37,000 aeromedical evacuations and conducts about 15,000 healthcare clinics per year.

It took me 2 minutes to sign up Charlotte, If your children love aviation and receiving old fashioned mail  I suggest you sign them up.

Safe travels,

Jade

 

 

Airports & Flights Holidays & Destinations

Bali with Toddlers – My top 10 Tips

February 3, 2016

Bali is the most popular overseas destination for Australian families, the main reason why – it’s so easy. It is in close proximity to us, affordable, has great accommodation and abundance of amazing restaurant options, plus gorgeous weather and people.

We have taken our kids to Bali (at times by myself) since they were babies and now the eldest is six we have tallied up at least half a dozen trips. For those thinking of venturing to this paradise, here are my tips on what to consider.

  • Accommodation– Think about what kind of accommodation will suit your family. A room with balcony that faces onto a pool or garden is a good idea as you can sit outside while your toddler naps and you are not stuck indoors for hours. Trust me I learnt this the hard way. If you have a toddler and are staying at a hotel or villa with a pool, most don’t have pool fences so consider how you can protect your child, e.g. book a room upstairs.  Those with babies requiring a port-a-cot, make sure to request this when you book your accommodation.  I never brought my own and had no problems – one less thing to carry!
  • Area – Choose the area where you stay in Bali carefully. If you want busy and noisy go to Kuta. If you want bigger holiday resorts try Nusa Dua. My preference is Seminyak as it is busy but a lot more relaxed and boutique style, e.g. villas and world class eating. If you want to really escape the hustle and bustle head up to beautiful Ubud for a remote retreat.
  • Travel Stroller – Pack a travel stroller and a baby carrier with you and alternate using them. It does get hot using a carrier but it is easier than dealing with uneven footpaths, although the stroller is great as baby can rest while you walk. I always bring a mosquito net as it also provides shade. Fly babee would be perfect.
  • Insect Repellant and sunscreen –Always bring with you kids rid and sunscreen.  Test this out on your child before you go to make sure they don’t have a reaction. Remember to re-apply throughout the day.
  • Pool Toys – Bring your own pool floatation devices to give you some freedom. Also pack some bath or pool toys to keep them entertained. They are light to pack and you will have hours of fun in between playing with frangipanis that float through the pool and meeting other kids. Bliss. I always bring some other small toys and drawing equipment to give them some inside activities to have a break from the sun or the rain.
  • Nanny – This isn’t for everyone but it is something I highly recommend. On my last trip to Bali I was traveling solo with my 5 and 2 yo and a recommended nanny came to help me for a couple of hours each afternoon. It was the best $AUD 12 I spent. I could go get a massage and pop into the supermarket or Circle K to get some supplies while my son had his afternoon nap and my daughter watched some Indonesian cartoons.
  • Dining– Child friendly dining in Bali is a breeze. The Balinese believe that the younger a child is the closer they are to God. I have found when ever I have gone into a restaurant in Bali the staff of both genders and all ages, always dote and play with my children. It really makes you feel, welcomed, relaxed and happy. My favourite places to dine with toddlers in Seminyak include: La Lucioala which is right on the beach so that toddlers can run and play on the grass in front while you dine.  Motel Mexicola is great if you go early. The design of the place is a sensory overload. Your little one will be amazed by the colours and have a great time dancing, while you enjoy a margarita. Being lively also means your toddler’s noise blends in.
  • Itinerary-There are lots of day trips and adventure parks in Bali including waterbom and bali zoo that you can head out too if you feel up for it. Generally I just like to relax by the pool with my kids. They absolutely love it. We always start our day with breakfast at Sea Circus then we spend the entire morning in the pool. We have some quiet time in the afternoon and head out for an early dinner.
  • Bottles – I sterilise my bottles using boiled bottled water and sterilisation tablets (I recommend Milton brand). I always give extra bottles to my babies and toddlers when we fly or are in warm climate. I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep them hydrated.
  • Nappies– If you can, pack enough nappies from home, including swimming nappies (on the way home you can use the spare space in your suitcase for all your shopping). I liked my certain brands and that way didn’t have to worry about leaking. If running low all Circle K shops sell nappies, that way I could save my trusted brand for the flight home.
  • Denpasar airport –This is a new modern airport and my experience has been that families get fast tracked through. You must purchase a visa on arrival in the terminal. Follow the signs and make sure you have 35 USD each for the visa. I always organise US dollars before I fly out.

 

Bali is a fantastic place for you to start traveling with your child. It’s set up for tourists and your every need as a young family is catered for. I hope my Bali with Toddlers tips provide you some inspiration and confidence to visit this beautiful place.

Airports & Flights Holidays & Destinations My Stories

Darwin

October 13, 2015

I have travelled to many countries outside of work with my family, but over the last couple of years I have got into a bit of a Bali rut, flying at least half a dozen times to this easy to get to, value for money and enchanting place.  However, this time we needed to mix it up a bit, after all, traveling is about experiencing new places,  I booked flights to a destination in my own country – Darwin.  I had never been before and it has always been on my list. After all, if you never never go, you’ll never never know, right? Here is my summary of our travels to our most northern capital:

 

PRE TRAVEL – I spoke to the kids about heading to a tropical destination and showed them Darwin on a map.  They voted for pool time and I wanted relaxation, so we chose Sky City Resort based on its amazing pool areas.  I also reached out to an ex-colleague who is a Darwin local and he gave me some great tips.  With newly purchased sun-smart swimwear for the kids, pool games and some poolside wear for me, we were all packed into one lightweight wheelie bag.  Finally, with flights booked and the car booked in at Andrew’s Airport Parking, we were ready to go.

AT THE AIRPORT – We arrived early (as I like to do) and by instruction of ground staff, we checked in our trusty travel stroller with our bags and swapped it for an airport one.  With time on our hands we were able to stop for a coffee and babycinno at the book shop, which serves the best coffee in Melbourne domestic departures, the give-away being the number of crew there.  One quick toilet stop and it was time to board.

FLIGHT  – The  QANTAS crew were fantastic, we were given pillows and blankets, plus activity packs for my kids.  The food on board included vegemite and cheese scrolls that were a hit with the kids. later into the flight the crew’s walkthrough with juice and biscuits was timed perfectly as the kids were becoming restless.  Content, the kids had a little doze, and before we knew it we were landing in Darwin.  On the return flight my daughter was sick. I had a sick bag ready for this. I always recommend you keep them open and near when you are travelling with kids. There is no warning, Just “mum, I’m going to be…”

TRANSPORT- We claimed our stroller from oversized baggage and our bag from the carousel and headed outside to a taxi rank. Being September, it was hot and dry with a lovely breeze.  When arriving somewhere new I always like to ask locals for tips and taxi drivers are a great source of information, so I asked away.  The driver was really laid back and full of local knowledge.  After I laughed off his first suggestion of the pubs in Mitchell Street he went onto suggest the markets and Crocosaurus Cove.  All up, the drive cost about $25 dollars – the local advice was free!

ACCOMMODATION – When we arrived at SkyCity Darwin, the entrance was very understated and dated, but certainly tropical.  We were assisted with our bags and went to check in, which was manned by polite, but not overly friendly or effective staff, e.g. minimal explanation of the hotel’s facilities.  Fortunately, our experience improved with our room that boasted a view of the stunning beach, although unfortunately it was off-limits due to deadly jellyfish.  Lucky for us we had two amazing pools to choose from, an infinity and lagoon pool –kids were in heaven!  Dining options within the resort were limited to an average buffet (although the kids loved the chocolate fountain) and a really lovely Italian restaurant.  The Pistachio ice cream was delish.

MINDIL MARKET- Everyone tells you to check out Mindil Markets when you go to Darwin.  It certainly is a unique experience, but I am not sure it lived up to my heightened expectations.  The market is right on the beach, where you grab your food from the stalls and find a spot to eat on the sand.  I had fresh oysters and some Chinese food.  I was picturing it to be a bit more theatrical, with people cooking in front of you, flaming woks, multitude of fresh food smells, etc.  Unfortunately, most food was pre-made and sitting in bain-maries.  What was lost in the theatre of food was made up by the patrons who created a relaxed, eclectic vibe, with lots of backpackers intermingling with local, hi-vis wearing workers.  The convenience of being next to our accommodation was also a plus.

SUNSET- I love the sun so much that I named my son Sol (latin for sun).  Sunsets always mesmerise me and Darwin did not disappoint.  I have never seen a sunset so red and then so purple, which put it on par with my previous favourite in Jamaica with its oranges and reds.  Having this view from our hotel, restaurants and pool was pretty special.

CROCOSAURUS COVE – One day we headed into town, Mitchell Street reminded me a lot like Asia.  There were chain coffee shops in between rows of big open bars and pubs.  In the middle of all that was Crocosaurus Cove.  There we saw some of the largest saltwater crocodiles on the planet, with aquarium style viewing enabling you to see them up close, which was pretty mind boggling.  My children also had the unforgettable opportunity to hold a baby croc.  This is a must see and I would recommend going in the morning before it gets too hot.

 

Darwin was a great little holiday and I’m glad we had the chance to experience the Northern Territory and explore more of our wonderful country.  I would have liked to see more of the amazing surroundings, like Litchfield National Park, however traveling solo with the kids this time I opted to stay close to the hotel.  Overall, I believe it’s important to learn about other cultures, but it’s also vital to understand and experience your own country.  Also travelling domestically is so much easier and quicker than going though international procedures.  Although the total cost was a lot more expensive than Bali, I’m glad we did something different this time.

Airports & Flights Plan & Pre-Travel

My Top Ten Tips For Airline Travel During Pregnancy

August 5, 2015

I felt fantastic during my first pregnancy and with my obstetrician’s consent I was able to continue working as an international flight attendant, which included one memorable trip. Whilst stopping over in Frankfurt, Germany, I made the most of the opportunity and took a cruise along the Rhine River, where I visited a traditional riverside town and purchased my un-born daughter a Stieff teddy. She still loves playing with this teddy and hearing stories of all the places I visited, like Hong Kong, London and Singapore, whilst she was “on the inside”.

My second pregnancy unfortunately was a different experience. I was emotional over nothing and dry retching at aircraft smells, which let’s be honest, can be hard to deal with even without being pregnant. This pregnancy I only lasted one flight with work.

In short, every pregnancy experience is different for each of us. With that in mind, here are my top ten tips for airline travel during pregnancy.

  1. Speak with your obstetrician: Have your health checked and assessed before you travel and carry with you a note from your G.P/ obstetrician stating how many weeks pregnant you are and that you are fit to travel. Some airlines will require seeing this before you board and/or ask you to sign a waiver.
  2. Stay hydrated: This is crucial, but keep in mind your restricted bladder volume, so request a seat on the aisle and even near the toilets.
  3. Bring your own cushion or pillow: I learnt this the hard way when I was travelling home from my baby-moon in Europe. Airline pillows are not designed to provide the required support for a pregnant woman’s aching back.
  4. Keep mobile: Move around the cabin as often as possible, including stretching. This helps with the aches and the pregnancy puffiness. Remember though to keep your seatbelt on when seated.
  5. Pack smart: Your ability to lift and twist will be restricted, so travel light and think about investing in lightweight, luggage on wheels. Also, I always used the trolleys (or my husband) at the airport.
  6. Take snacks: Being always hungry is just a reality, after all you are growing a human, so pack snacks and keep them accessible. Try and opt for the nutritious snack varieties, but as you are most likely on holidays, don’t forget to treat yourself (caramel slices were my vice whilst pregnant).
  7. Inform cabin crew: You may think it is completely obvious, as you feel as big as a house, but as a crew member I can assure you if we are uncertain of your pregnancy it makes it difficult to know how to best look after you. When I know I have a pregnant passenger on board, I am empathetic and pay special attention to all of these listed tips.
  8. Book travel insurance: I highly recommend this, as little things can be big things when your pregnant and knowing you are covered is really important. Remember though to check the clauses.
  9. Allow yourself extra time: A last minute run to the gate is not advisable whilst pregnant – trust me. I had to do it on one occasion through Denpasar airport, with my then two year old, and it was not a good way to start a long flight or help with my final tip.
  10. Relax: Make the most of the opportunity and try to enjoy yourself. You will probably be sick of everyone telling you to relax and offering to help you before the baby comes, but I promise if you do, you will not regret it. Also, let’s face it, what better way to get a holiday started (or prolonged), than reading a great book or watching a movie you enjoy, and that is my wish for all my passengers.

If you have any specific questions or suggestions about travelling during pregnancy, please leave them in the comments section below and I will reply.

Safe travels,

Mum With Wings

 

Photo credit: Black and White Image www.anyamaria.com