Reading is such a comfort for me. I love fiction for its ability to…
An overseas family holiday had long felt like a pipe dream. With young kids, businesses to run, a new-found travel anxiety that popped up when the kids came along, not to mention the pandemic … it just seemed unachievable for us.
Ryan and I hadn’t been overseas since our honeymoon 10 years ago, and the kids had never been, so when Visit Dubai* and KAYAK Australia* asked us to work with them on a campaign, it was literally a dream come true. We were off-the-charts excited!
I never in a million years would have thought I’d get an opportunity like this; I feel so, so lucky. Please know that it’s because of YOU, my community, who have stuck by me and supported me and my family, that opportunities like this are extended to me, and I’m more grateful than I could ever express to every single one of you.
So, in return, I’d love to share with you my tips, hacks and experiences on this adventure, to help you on your own family holidays in the future.
First up: packing and flying. The boring part (though maybe not so boring if you’re anything like me and find organisation fun!).
Your girl loves a spreadsheet! I just knew I would either overpack or forget something if I didn’t write it all down, so I created a packing checklist. When I shared it on Insta, my comments and DMs went off with you guys asking for a copy! So, here it is: Packing List Master Sheet.
Each family member had a suitcase and a carry-on backpack. These were the ones we used:
Girls’ suitcases: Nere Stori 75cm Suitcase – Strandbags Australia
- Compression packing cubes are brilliant for maximising suitcase space. These are not your regular packing cubes; they have a double zip so squash everything down nicely. Zoomlite Packing Cubes | 3 pc Large Value Bundle
- Roll clothes rather than fold, so they don’t get creased and it’s easier to see everything at a glance.
- Zip-lock bags — just the large ones from the supermarket — are great for things like medication, sunscreen, and anything else that might spill in the suitcase. Also handy to use as wash bags.
- Clear cases work well as toiletry kits, with a different one for each use — hair, body, face, makeup, medication, etc. (I used these Mouv Trio Cosmetic Bag Set | Target Australia)
- Decant skincare products into little cheapy travel bottles and label them (I used these OXX Cosmetics Travel Bag – Purple – Kmart)
- Take a first-aid kit. Murphy’s law says if you take it, you won’t need it, but if you don’t take it… Trafalgar Travel First Aid Kit – 75 Piece – Kmart
- Weigh your bags before you leave home!
- Check in via the app the day before.
- If you have an early flight like we did (2am!), stay at a hotel near the airport. You probably won’t sleep much, but it saves having to drive while tired or risk nasty traffic surprises that could hold you up.
- Wear comfortable clothes — trackies and tees all the way.
- We (Ryan lol) used inflatable footrests and neck pillows (very awkward to blow up with the pump on the plane!). They didn’t help a whole lot sleep-wise, but the footrests were good. Be sure to check with the airline before you go as some don’t allow them.
- Take chewy lollies for the kids during take-off and landing to help their ears (Mentos, Zappos, Skittles are good — also works as an added incentive when they don’t want to get up that early!)
- I drank Hydralite on the plane so I could stay hydrated without a thousand trips to the toilet.
- About seven hours in, my skin felt so dry and crusty, so I did my skincare routine to freshen up. This little LED light-up mirror (Finesse LED Lighted Mirror | Target Australia) was perfect in the low lighting; also good for doing makeup in hotels (or just to put in your handbag any time).
- Pack extra snacks in case you (or the kids) don’t like the plane food.
- Take new activities for the kids (we took dry-erase whiteboards with markers, notebooks and pencils, colouring-in books, travel board games). There will be plenty of movies and games for them on the in-flight entertainment, but be sure to download lots of shows and movies to their iPads too (more than you think you’ll need — trust me, there is a lot of waiting around that comes with international flights!).
- Pack a portable charger. This Snap universal charger was honestly amazing. It comes with lots of different adapters, it plugs into the wall to charge, then it’s wireless and can charge multiple devices at once.
The girls were amazing on the flight, though we were all sleep deprived and exhausted by the time we touched down in Dubai 14 hours later. We got to the hotel about 4pm, checked out the room then went straight to the pool, because we knew we’d fall asleep otherwise. Spent the afternoon exploring the resort, trying to stay awake. Early dinner and bed before the real fun began!
Stay tuned for next week’s instalment, all about our time in Dubai!
* This is a paid partnership with Visit Dubai and KAYAK Australia.