Never in a million years did I ever think I would be in the position where I was planning a beach weekend away with two young children all by myself.
But I did. And I’m here. Obviously having lived to tell the tale.
It was supposed to be a 3-day alcohol fueled trip with friends that I hadn’t seen in 5 years. I was excited, albeit slightly nervous. I can’t handle my drink half as well as I could back in the day. But it was going to be fun. Then my childcare, AKA my husband let me down by going away to work for a while, so I had to reconsider my options.
- Lose my money and not go – even though it was rubbish Ryanair, the flight was pretty expensive
- Find someone else to look after them – not really possible
- Take them
I went for option 3.
The flight was to Alicante so I just decided to use my old favourite; Airbnb, and find a child-friendly apartment in the heart of the Old Town, but very near the beach.
(The photos aren’t great quality. They’re courtesy of the iPhone because the DSLR was too heavy to take!)
It was amazing. With craft supplies, child-sized furniture, a first aid and sewing kit (both of which were used on more than one occasion), a fridge stocked with drinks and cupcakes, a huge kitchen, more than enough room for 5 adults, 2 bathrooms and a lovely balcony where I sipped the beer they left for me each evening after bedtime. If you’re interested here it is.
Alicante itself was a total surprise. A brilliant surprise. We were in the centre of everything; right by the shopping district, tapas bars and restaurants. There were playgrounds everywhere. A beautiful, restaurant-lined promenade ran from the Port all along the play-equipment dotted beach. It was a small child’s heaven. And consequentially it made me very happy.
Probably our favourite thing was Calle San Francisco. A long pedestrianized road, lined with giant toadstools to play in, slides and hopscotch. You have to see it in real life to really believe it, but it was super cool.
The weather was warm. The beach was sandy and clean, and the architecture was quite beautiful in parts. Emmie is hilariously obsessed with Jesus, so I managed, on the promise of seeing lots of Jesuses, to visit the Concatedral. Where I was scared shitless by a priest in a confessional box and screamed way too loudly.
So my Dos and Don’ts…
- Have a plan for the airport. Passing Security is no easy feat normally, let alone with 2 children. I had no liquids, could find the electronics swiftly, broke the pushchair down with one hand and had no jewellery or belt to remove
- And also plan for the flight. One iPad shared doesn’t normally work for us but they fell asleep at different times. Have drinks and all the snacks in the world ready. Feed them through it. I also took a baby carrier so I could wear Joe on and off the plane
- Book the most child-friendly, centrally located accommodation you can find with minimal transfer time. It makes all the difference
- Find somewhere with a washing machine. It massively reduces what you need to take, meaning I could travel with just one small suitcase (that smugly came in under 10Kg on check-in) for all 3 of us
- Take some sort of cross body bag so you have all your valuables on you when running after small children. I didn’t and had to keep my eye on both kids and the pushchair which was hard work
- Drink through it. McDonalds sells beer in Spain so I took full advantage of that at lunchtimes
- Have any expectations whatsoever. Regardless of the facilities, it’s stressful being away from home with 2 young children
- Hesitate to toddler-proof immediately. Joseph broke a glass lamp on the last day. I had fun clearing that up and getting rid of it. Especially with a bleeding hand
- Expect to walk much and see any sights unless you have the most well-behaved children ever
- Have high expectations of mealtimes or sampling the local food. Emmie wanted to eat in the apartment every night
- Refuse the multiple requests for ice cream. They make everyone’s day a little sweeter and quieter for 5 minutes or so
Even though I didn’t speak English to another adult for 3 whole days, ate a load of rubbish food and gave up any hope of doing what I wanted after both children had a major meltdown in Zara, we genuinely did have a lovely weekend together. I’m not sure I’ll be booking another one soon though!