Planes, trains. buses and cars…. how we survived our first trip with a toddler
Before we’d even left the house we had to make a decision that would shape the whole of our trip… which bags should we take! A pushchair was on our list of essentials so that’s one pair of hands gone along with a wheelie cabin bag for the other pair. Next, a toddler hand luggage complete with potty and colouring books, for Mummy’s back and a big bag for our main luggage that would go on Daddy’s back. Toddler in the pushchair and another small rucksack to put underneath. Sorted! (If the toddler wished to walk then whoever had the cabin bag would also have to grab a hand).
In order to keep within a small budget, and being fairly flexible on dates, we booked the cheapest flights we could. This meant that we would leave the UK from Liverpool and would arrive back in Manchester… with this in mind we drove to Manchester and parked up in a pre-booked park and ride at Peter Ashley Car Parks. These guys were brilliant, quickly loaded our bags onto their mini-bus and drove us straight to the train station at Manchester Airport. As we would come to realise, anything that meant we weren’t waiting around with a toddler was amazing.
The train from Manchester Airport to Liverpool Airport involved a change at Manchester and a bus from Liverpool out to the airport. We had taken lots of snacks, a drink and colouring for the train which kept our adventurer on her bottom for this part of the journey.
Once at the airport we checked in our big bag and our wheelie cabin bag (for free, thanks RyanAir) and had labels put on our buggy so we could keep it with us until we got to the plane. We headed through security and had a little wait while Daddy had his bag searched (he forgot to take out liquids and electricals.. distracted by a toddler?!). Mummy thought this would be a good time for a potty stop… so this adventurous toddler had a poo in security! No need to panic as we had our potty bag with all of the essentials in. After having something to eat we were left with a bit of a wait for our flight. Unfortunately our toddler hadn’t read Mummy’s plan for the day – this was where she was supposed to nap… instead she screamed and screamed… being called for our gate was the best news all day!
On the flight we did some more colouring, some more eating and when these things got boring we got out the tablet, pre-loaded with Charlie and Lola. Normally I’m not a fan of too much screen time; but when it comes to getting a toddler to sit in a small space for an unusually long amount of time (this flight was around 2 hours) you just do whatever works… and this worked! The flight was uneventful, toddler was not at all bothered that she was in the sky and had a casual wee on her potty wedged inbetween Mummy and Daddy.
At Porto airport our bags came through quickly but we were left waiting for our buggy. We saw other buggies come around the carousel but when everyone else had left ours still hadn’t arrived. After asking at the desk it turned out our buggy had gone to the oversized baggage area; this seems obvious when we look back. Lesson learnt! Even when other buggies are coming round on the carousel, always check the oversized baggage!
We had booked a shuttle bus through RyanAir to take us directly to where we were staying so, once we had located the driver, we arrived at our destination.