A few years back we went on an all inclusive holiday to Turkey with our two boys. We had a fantastic time, however there was definitely a big contrast to our holidays pre little poop machines.
Below is a guide to pre and post children holidays.
Pre: Leisurely spend hours perusing through various outfits to take, unable to make a decision, pack suitcase neatly with umpteen outfits, shoes, hair/body products, make up, jewellery, etc., sit on the suitcase to enable it to close and hope it doesn’t go over the weight limit at check in.
Post: Fill suitcase with enough children’s clothes to dress a school, nappies for two children (yes I know, ugh!), various books, toys, and items to keep them entertained in hopefully unlikely case rain should occur. Spend about 30 minutes frantically sifting through a few of your own outfits, shove a few clothes and a limited amount of make up/hair/body products between nappies and wipes and hope desperately nothing has been forgotten.
Pre: Stroll around duty free, treat yourself to some new make up and perhaps a perfume, leisurely enjoy something to eat/drink, read a magazine/book whilst waiting for your gate to be called, saunter to the gate once called, join the queue and get on the plane.
Post: Walk incredibly slowly to check in and then security whilst your toddler casually rides along on his Trunki occasionally bumping into a post or completely falling off.
Once at security, fill box with hand luggage, coats, belts, and any other potentially beep worthy items. Move baby from his buggy desperately trying to collapse it whilst ensuring the toddler doesn’t run off in the opposite direction. Walk through scanner with baby in arms, then collect all belongings and put the buggy back up with free arm whilst more boxes quickly pile up. Get asked by security to open the Trunki along with the usual questions “Madam, did you pack this bag yourself?” (No I dropped it off with the neighbours dog. Baxter just loves packing. Of course I packed it you dimwit), “Madam, are there any dangerous items, aerosols, drugs, etc. in the bag?” Well apart from the machete, hacksaw, and a kilo of cocaine (just kidding), I just remembered I forgot there’s a baby bottle with water in. Balls! Another scan through and we’re good to go. Onwards to duty free.
Quickly pass through duty free hoping the toddler doesn’t knock over a bottle of posh plonk or perfume. Find a seat with a good view of the planes, spend next hour plane spotting and being asked “Where are they going Mummy?”, “Where’s the pilot?”, “Why?”, “But why though?”.
Take turns to peruse the duty free whilst hubby ‘babysits’, only buying the obligatory Boots meal deal just in case the kids get hungry on the flight. Not to forget a pack of chocolate buttons to bribe, sorry occupy the kids into being quiet on the plane. Slowly stroll to the gate carefully balancing everything whilst trying to steady a toddler whizzing down the corridor on their Trunki.
Pick up crying toddler on account of him flying off the Trunki. Remove the baby from his pushchair and collapse whilst you both negotiate a toddler; umpteen bags; a baby; passports; and tickets. Board plane looking slightly stressed and frazzled.
Pre: Sit comfortably reading various magazines, and peruse the in flight food offerings. Enjoy the take off and wave bye to normality for the week. Have a snooze; have a G&T; read a few chapters in your book; eat a sandwich; have a G&T; go for a wee; have a nap; prepare for landing; get hand luggage, and exit the plane. Relaxing holiday here we come.
Post: Spend approximately two minutes discussing the logistics of the seating plan with your other half, all done whilst moving in and out of the aisle to let people pass. Finally decide who has the baby and who sits next to the toddler. Sit down. Realise you left the colouring book and crayons in the hand luggage above, give other half the baby whilst rummaging round the hand luggage. Find the book and crayons. Sit back down.
Take a chewed up sick bag (unused of course) out of the baby’s mouth. Give baby the emergency exit procedure laminate to keep them busy. Open the bag of chocolate buttons early due to the toddlers sniper eyesight, hoping the bag will last until take off.
Once in the air answer all the toddlers questions about what the captain’s called, where he’s from, where we’re going, etc. Hope in vain they’ll both nod off so you can have a G&T, but settle for a cup of tea instead.
Get book out with the intention to read a couple of chapters, give up after the second page due to the baby making it his mission to grab the book and gum it to his hearts content.
Open Boots meal deal and have a mid-air picnic with other half, baby and toddler. Halfway through, smell something rather suspicious, do the ‘oh so attractive’ bum sniff test, sigh, collect nappy changing paraphernalia and head to the loo. Attempt to change baby in the smallest space known to man, all whilst trying not to drop something on the suspiciously wet floor or even worse, down the toilet. Complete mission poo free baby then pat yourself on the back for achieving such a task without any droppages. Hope in vain both the baby and toddler refrain from making any further turds until touch down. Return to seat and eventually get a dead arm due to a very heavy sleepy baby.
Desperate for a pee attempt to pass sleeping baby to husband who is already holding a sleeping toddler on his lap. Give look of appreciation to other half and thank them for allowing you to have this treasured moment of privacy.
Return to seat, and allow other half to regain feeling in his arms by retrieving baby. Ponder how long is left of the flight, assuming there’s only about 45 minutes left. BING BONG “Hello ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. Were currently flying at an altitude of around of 12,000 feet and there’s just over two hours remaining before we land in Antalya” Bollocks!!
Pre: Collect luggage, meet travel representative, walk to coach, put luggage on, sit down on the coach, then take in all the beautiful sights on the way to your hotel.
Post: Once through passport control desperately find a loo to relieve yourself after a relatively loo trip-less flight. Hold baby and occupy toddler whilst the husband goes to collect the luggage and much needed buggy for baby. Happily reacquire the buggy and all luggage, then walk slowly to the transfer coach steadily negotiating all the bags and children. Sit on the coach spending the entire journey listening to “Look a tractor“, “Tractor“, “Look another tractor“, “Tractor!” every time the coach passed a tractor (and believe me there’s a lot of tractors in Turkey).
Pre: Arrive at the hotel, check in, and go up to the room. Empty suitcases in record timing so you can make yourselves at home and take in the atmosphere. Become familiarised with the bar and their extensive range of cocktails and beverages, and eat enough food to feed a small army. Eat; swim; read; eat; drink; relax; bonk; snooze; eat; drink; dance; sleep; repeat for the entirety of the holiday.
Post: Arrive at the hotel, recognise the distinct odour of baby poo, do necessary parental bum sniffing in posh five star surroundings. Discover ‘the poo bomb has landed’. Locate changing facilities, wipe babies bottom (it doesn’t matter how posh the place you’re in, a turds a turd, nothing classy about it). Return to reception acquire key card and retreat to much anticipated home for seven days. Spend ages emptying suitcases whilst the toddler watches the Turkish equivalent of Cbeebies and the baby pulls out the freshly folded clothes from the cupboard.
After packing and freshening up, head to the restaurant to feed the kids and enjoy the first wine of the holiday. Holiday time has officially started. Eat (and feed baby at the same time); swim (a baby or toddler attached with the occasional fun trip down the slide); read (four chapters the entire holiday, just four?); eat (whilst constantly telling the toddler to use his fork); drink (a latte); relax (lay on the bed/sunbed with child poking/slapping/pulling face and hair); snooze (in and out of sleep with child poking/slapping/pulling face and hair); eat (sharing a substantial amount with both the puppy eyed children); Drink (hallelujah a cocktail, although not too many, a hangover does not bode well at 6.30am when the ankle-biters rise); dance (to some dodgy German kids dance song); sleep (exhaustion); repeat for the entirety of the holiday.
Pre: Sit at a table for two in the quiet adults only area, then calmly go to peruse the yummy delights on offer. Spend ages deciding which foods to try, but soon establishing ‘Bugger it we’re on holiday I’ll try it all‘. Slowly devour your selection of delicious food savouring every single mouthful. Drink and eat to your hearts content and enjoy thoroughly for the full week. A date night every night.
Post: Enter the restaurant with ‘the clan’, and execute a first-rate meerkat impersonation, analysing the room for a free table. Notice an available surface then advance towards it in a brisk manner to ensure no one swipes it. Proudly take ownership of the table and then complete the same routine in order to locate a high chair. High chair acquired, then seat both the toddler and baby who are licking their lips in anticipation of being fed. Come to an agreement with the other half who is carrying out the child food run, and who is staying to respond to “I’m hungry!”, “Where’s my food?”, “I’m hungryyyyy!”, “Where’s my fooooooood?”. Search the vast ocean of food for something toddler and baby friendly, settling on some random veggies, meat, and chips (you can always rely on chips). Return to the wide eyed ravenous offspring, taking no time to shovel the food into their mouths. With two little piggies devouring their feed, the other half takes a chance to make a break and get some much needed grub. Like a finely tuned tag team take it in turns to get various courses and spend very little time actually as a family sat together.
Pre: Book into spa for a full day of relaxing treatments including Turkish massage. Spend the rest of the holiday leisurely lazing around the pool sunbathing and reading to your hearts content.
Post: Relax? Sorry what?
I won’t go into great detail with this one, so I’ve done it in a simple format. I’m sure you’ll get the picture.
Pre: Watch and enjoy entertainment shows whilst sampling the entire menu of all inclusive drinks. Go do your thing on the Discotheques dance floor and bust a move with Claude the Tony Manero of Turkey. Hang up the disco shoes and retire to the room to watch a film on the TV with a cheeky nightcap.
Post: Attempt to watch the entertainment whilst chasing after toddler and baby, with the occasional interruption due to nappy changing duties. Have a few too many G&T’s then feel a bit squiffy (very near to crossing the pissed irresponsible parent line). Opt for a more sensible latte or hot chocolate option, then round up the sugar fuelled knee sliding toddler and pram sleeping baby , then retire to the room for the rest of the night. Once the kids are finally in asleep, turn on the TV with the volume so low even a bat would struggle to hear. Think about having a bonk, then decide your both too tired and fall fast asleep.
Packing for home
Pre: Carefully organise used and unused clothing and pack neatly into suitcase. Ensure all passports and documents are to hand and check under every nook and cranny to make sure nothing has been left.
Post: Shove the mountain of used clothing into a plastic Supermercardo bag then bundle everything quickly into the suitcases. Frantically look for the passports and documents. Find, then hide away from little hands (the ones that just love to slot things into small places). Do a super quick check of the room and do the obligatory “Bye bye room” wave for the kids.
The Journey Home
Pre: Have a last all inclusive pig out and drink in the restaurant to ‘stock up’ for the journey. Leisurely wait for the transfer coach, step on the coach with ease and take in the last sites of the land before arriving at the airport where you easily check in and stroll round the duty free treating yourself to a new perfume with the last of your Lira. Embark the plane and homeward bound.
Post: Stock up on food in the restaurant and enjoy the last all inclusive meal you can have without having a pile of dishes and plates to wash. Wait with two very impatient kids in reception whilst keeping track of cases and various bags. Get onto coach balancing a baby, toddler and a number of bags precariously trying to squeeze through the tiny central walkway whilst lots of depressed looking holiday makers look on. Find spare seat and sit ready for the next 45 minutes of tractor spotting. Look over to husband after 5 minutes of been on the coach and see this….…whilst Mastermind the tractor edition is going on in your seat. Arrive at airport and stand in what seems like the M25 of lines. Pacify whinging kids with bread from the all inclusive buffet (shhh everyone does it). Check in, faff with the buggy and juggle the children and hand luggage during the security procedure. Frantically spend the last few Lira in the duty free settling for a shit plastic toy aeroplane, then spend the rest on a soggy toastie and a lukewarm can of Coke on the plane. After 4 hours and 45 minutes of two tired parents trying to entertain two kids, arrive at the airport to be welcomed with a huge queue of passport clutching arrivals and what feels like artic conditions. Spend an age waiting for luggage to arrive at baggage claim whilst preventing toddler from flinging themselves on to said baggage claim. Finally retrieve luggage and venture off to appropriate park and ride pick up area. Try recall which car park you left your car on and get on bus. Arrive at car, make a sigh of relief your homeward bound and spend the rest of the week catching up on washing and longing for the next trip away.