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Making Spontaneous Travel Plans… And Freaking Out Ever-So-Slightly


n Sunday afternoon, Terry, Max and I went out for lunch, and a quick look around the shops.

When we got home, I was busy taking Max’s coat off, when Terry casually said, “Hey,  I wonder what the last-minute holiday deals are like to the Canaries right now?”

“Dunno,” I said, equally casually. “I might take a look, though, when Max goes down for his nap – just out of curiosity, you know?”

Cut to an hour-and-a-half later: Terry’s printing off our booking confirmation for a week in Tenerife, and I’m hovering outside Max’s room, waiting for him to wake up from his nap, so I can rush in and go, “GUESS WHAT, MAX, YOU’RE GOING ON AN AIRPLANE!”

(He had absolutely no idea what I was talking about, obviously, but he was gratifyingly excited about it, anyway. Babies are great for that.)

So, yeah, we leave in less than two weeks, which means I’ve had to abruptly switch from shopping for winter/Christmas stuff for Max and I, and start wondering where I can buy shorts in November instead. Oh, and frantically researching ways to keep an 11-month-old occupied on a flight, too. Gulp.

To be fair, although the booking of this particular break was uncharacteristically spontaneous of us, it didn’t come completely out of the blue, either. Terry and I have actually spent most of this year telling people – including ourselves – that we’d probably try to take Max on holiday to the Canary Islands in December: in fact, at one point during the summer, I was so sure this would be happening that I might have bought a couple of my favourite little summer baby outfits in a larger size too, just in case. (So, not too panicked about the clothing situation, then, needless to say: just relieved that he’s actually going to get to wear them after all!)

Our thinking here was that, by the end of the year, Max would be old enough to be eating solids, and less reliant on milk, so we wouldn’t need to cart quite so much stuff around with us (I mean, when we went to Kent in August, we took the Perfect Prep AND the steriliser AND the Sleepyhead. Whereas, for this trip, we’re just like, “We’ll order some milk to collect at the airport, yeah?), plus we’d hopefully be sleeping better, and just generally more confident in our role as parents, too. (Which… well, we ARE sleeping better, I guess?) Oh, and we’ve been to Tenerife enough times now to know where everything is, etc, so we figured it might be a good idea to take our first foreign holiday with a baby to a place we’re pretty familiar with, just to make things as easy on ourselves as possible.

So, we thought all of those things… and then, a few weeks ago, we were like, “Actually, you know what? Let’s go to Florida next year instead!”

With that trip booked for May, we assumed winter sun was off the cards for this year, but I managed to find a really good deal online, which suddenly brought it into the realms of possibility again. The hotel we’re going to isn’t one we’ve stayed in before, but it IS one I’d spent quite a bit of time researching before our last trip to Tenerife, so I’m reasonably confident that the trip itself will be absolutely fine. It’s the flight I have my doubts about. Our first flight with a baby. And, OK, it’s only four hours, but, of course, by the time you get to the airport, check in, get through security etc, you can easily add on another couple of hours to that, and with the completely unknown quantity that is Max to deal with, I’m just a little bit apprehensive.

Our main issue here is that Max would generally have a couple of naps in the time we’ll be travelling, BUT he’s currently going through a stage where he will ONLY nap in his cot. In a sleeping bag. In the pitch dark. With a white noise machine going. He used to pretty reliably fall asleep in the car, or in his pram (Which is why we’ve spent so much so much time on late-night drives to the supermarket this year…), but now? Nope.  It’s his own bed, or it’s nothing. Will he sleep on a plane, then? I’m thinking probably not… but also that he’ll kind of HAVE to, so if anyone has suggestions on how to keep an 11-month-old entertained and out of trouble on a short-haul flight, I would love to hear them. And I will read them in between rummaging through that giant bag of baby clothes I’m saving for my cousin’s as-yet-unborn child, to see whether any of Max’s summer things will still fit him…

Oh, and speaking of clothes, DRUMROLL please, because it’s time for the Shopbop sale!

shopbop sale

You’ll find all of the info you need above, and the holiday gift guide is here, if you’re in need of some inspiration. Because I never have the patience to wait for sales, I’ve already ordered these boots (In black, but I now really, really want them in tan, too, so, er, please don’t buy them…) and this jacket, but I also love this dress and this slogan sweatshirt.  I really shouldn’t have mentioned this, should I? DAMMIT.

What do you think?

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  • Alice
    November 20, 2018

    Most likely he will sleep you know. My daughter doesn’t sleep through the night (she is two!), she has never napped more than an hour, she doesn’t nap in a buggy or a car – yet she has slept through most of every flight we have been on (at least 16 possibly more – mostly work conferences I’m not constantly on holiday).

    Otherwise, take a puppet you can play “peekaboo” with, and apparently there is a thing called a buckle toy that keeps them entertained too.

    I’m dreading our next flight though, now she is two she can’t sit on my lap anymore and I don’t think she will like having to sit on her own seat! She will also look ridiculous in a seat by herself, she is still tiny!

  • Lila Athanaselis
    November 20, 2018

    I am pretty sure Max will sleep 💤 for ar least an hour or so. The usual things will do, new toys, favourite toys, just five or so, some snacks. He will see new people on the flight and I am sure they will be smitten with him and he will be entertained by them too 😊 Plan ahead as much as you can but it’s ok to be spontaneous too 👌
    We were going to go to Tenerife in January but it will be a toss up between Fuerteventura and surrounding areas in January/February or Iceland in February for our 25th Anniversary, can’t do both but hopefully can manage 5 days or so in either place.
    I am sure you are all going to have a ball in the air and on land in the sun in winter. I remember ticking off first trip on a boat/ferry/train/plane/bus in the baby books 📚 😁

  • Alice
    November 20, 2018

    That’s true actually, at that age my daughter used to be entranced by people in the seats behind! And as long as you are sensible (and don’t just let your child make a mess everywhere while you have a drink) most people don’t mind smiling and waving at a cute baby!

  • Maria
    November 20, 2018

    Maybe some movie played on a tablet/dvd/phone? If he’s still fond of Moana, that could be an option, especially for the singing parts, and if the audio is not an option, maybe just the images could entertain him for some time?

  • Myra
    November 20, 2018

    Have the bottle of milk handy for take off and landing in case Max has some discomfort at the change in air pressure. Swallowing opens the Eustachian tube in the ear and evens out the air pressure between inner and outer ear.
    New toys are novel and keep them interested. Snacks too and friendly people all help.

  • Emerald
    November 20, 2018

    A nice pad of paper and some wax crayons. How about if you and Terry do some scribbling with Max on the flight when he’s awake? The fatter ones are better so he can get a grip on them.

    My little sister put some beads in different colours and sizes on a string for her Max to play with (before the flight). He was eight months at the time and it was a similar length flight. That amused him for a while and he also played peek-a-boo with the people in the seat behind him.

    • Emerald
      November 20, 2018

      Oh, and introduce him to his creative side before the flight so that he knows what’s happening when he sees the crayons. Hopefully he’ll enjoy scribbling and it’ll keep him occupied.

  • Emma
    November 20, 2018

    The baby in this video is a bit older than Max, but here is a video on “How to fly with a baby” (note, it is comedic, so it’s not really advice, but this dad is hilarious and his daughters are adorable!)


Parenting When You’re Sick
Making Spontaneous Travel Plans… And Freaking Out Ever-So-Slightly