We just returned from a 10 day road trip across Spain. The whole world and their aunt had plenty to comment about how mad we were to attempt such a holiday with two kids under 7 but we pooh-poohed them and with full confidence ploughed ahead with all the arrangements. The thing is that Man of my Dreams and I were great travellers BK (Before Kids). Living in London we took full advantage of all the Bank Holiday weekends and budget airfares to embark on various adventures across different locations. We are not the lying-on-a-beach type of people. We are the lets-not-stop-moving-for-even-a-minute type of people. We like seeing different places, eating different food, experiencing different local lifestyles and for the past 7 years AK (After Kids), our holidays have been restricted to resorts which have beaches, swimming pools and in-room dining; punctuated with theme park based kiddie friendly holidays in between. This year I put my foot down. We work hard all year long which means the least we deserve is a holiday of our choosing once a year. After much deliberation, Man of My Dreams and I narrowed it down to Spain motivated by the fact of course that it was closer than South America which was our top choice, more economically friendly than Fiji and Number One was still reeling from his ‘how cool’ hangover of the flick Zindagi Na Milega Doobara which is what he thought he would replicate on his own trip (even though he was 7 and travelling with his family).
So here is my guide how to survive Delhi-London-Madrid-Seville-Toledo-Cadiz-Sotogrande-Marbella-Rhonda-Cabo De Gata-Valencia in 10 days with 2 kids, the man-of-your-dreams and the-source-of-all-your-wisdom (your mother).
- · Book a night flight so that the bubbas can sleep through the flight and be fresh to face the day
- · Do not watch movies on that flight or the bubbas will be like energiser batteries the next day and you will be forced to cope with it on your lack batteries
- · Take lots of snacks for the long car rides to keep the kids fueled and their mouths busy
- · Ensure they do not eat or drink too much or you will be dealing with many more unscheduled breaks (either inside or outside the car)
- · It would be handy if man-of- your-dreams works out a few weeks before the trip for the emergency bathroom stops where he has to grab a child in rugby hold underarm position and race to the loo
- · Some useful in the car games to keep the kids busy are ‘I Spy’, ‘Name, Place, Animal, Thing’ and ‘Twenty Questions’. Pls note that questions don’t stop at 20 though
- · An educational learning tool which also keeps little hands occupied for hours is creating a scrapbook of the trip which helps them remember places of interest
- · Try and schedule all driving time post lunch which is the best time for kids and their grandmothers to snooze and so allows quiet time for driving parents
- · If you are going to stress about the nutritional content of what your bubbas are consuming during this type of a holiday – don’t. Their diet will most likely comprise of fries and ice cream
- · The best investment made on day 3 of the trip was a second pram – yes, for the 6 year old. It doesn’t matter if you judge me – I was judged all across Spain but my back, my arms and me are better for it
- · A flamenco performance in Spain with kids means that your daughter will dress up in what she calls a ‘Flamingo’ outfit and dance the flamenco on your head
- · Book as many vineyard tours, point to as many landscapes, reserve as many tables at fancy restaurants as you want; your kids will want to be on the beach or in the pool and that is what you will end up doing most of your trip. But you can always try
- · A grandmother is a useful tool on a longish holiday with kids as she ends up diffusing tension (between the kids and more importantly, between man-of-your-dreams and you)
Most importantly, don’t give up trying to have the holiday of your dreams because the kids will learn to do it your way soon enough and you would have exposed them to far more than what you would doing it just their way. Live it up – after all, Zindagi na Milega Doobara.