Our second overseas adventure with two children, a six month old baby and a two year old toddler, was to Puglia in Italy. If you read about our first trip with two kids (to Poland) you’ll know that one was nice, but a little challenging!
So how did this trip go?
In short, it was really lovely, apart from the super late flight home. Sightseeing all day then flying at 9pm and getting home at 2am is just not the one with two young kids. However, you can’t control the flight schedules and the happy holiday memories far outweigh that little blip.
I don’t know if it’s because we’re in our groove with having a baby and toddler at home now or this trip just worked well, but it was a really, really lovely holiday.
The Italians or at least the ones we met in Puglia were so, so friendly and welcoming. They all adored our children and fussed over them with Italian words and exaggerated gestures, which led to coy smiles from Nova and bubbly gurgles from Kit.
Our days were mainly sunny and full of blue skies; it wasn’t too hot or too cold. Our two-bedroom villa was the perfect size and well-equipped. A bigger hire car was the right choice. Basically we had all the right ingredients for an easy, happy family holiday. Woohoo!
The Flight With Two Kids
We flew with Ryanair as they offered direct flights and to be honest, we didn’t have much choice as Puglia isn’t mega touristy and we were travelling in the shoulder season. It was the usual experience to be honest; lots of queues in cramped stairwells when waiting to board, no help in carrying our stuff up the stairs and minimal interaction. We paid for a no frills service and that’s what we got.
Boarding a plane with two young kids is tricky, mainly for the shortage of arms. We travel fairly lightly, but trying to carry a rucksack, change bag, suitcase, Trunki, bag of food and two kids is a test. I think next time we’ll leave the Trunki and suitcase at home and instead opt for another rucksack.
This was the first time that Nova had a meltdown on board. He’s been on so many flights during his two years in the world and so we’re kinda lucky that this was the first time that we’ve experienced that. It was on our late flight home, so he was ridiculously tired. He held it together until the last 20 minutes when we began to land. Maybe it was tiredness, maybe it was his ears popping – who knows – but as much as it wasn’t pretty to watch, it wasn’t *that* bad and short lived.
Our baby girl, Kit, has outgrown her colic so we weren’t as worried about flying with her this time round. It also helped that she was a little star on her first flight back when she was three months old. She’s not a cuddly baby and wants to wriggle away at any opportunity, so apart from her activeness she was pretty easy to look after and didn’t make a fuss on either flight.
The Accommodation Set-Up
This worked well. We had a beautiful two-bed villa (through Bookings For You and Raro Villas), so Nova had a double bed in his own room at one end of the villa and we had a room at the other end, with a cot for Kit. We brought our baby monitor with us and planned to use it with Nova but forgot one of the cables. I was a bit apprehensive about him being in an unknown room on his own, especially as it wasn’t next door to us but he was perfectly fine and settled in well.
We had a kitchen and living room in the middle of our villa, which was well used. We cooked all of our dinners in it and had slow mornings on the sofa – it takes me a while to wake up!
Our lovely villa had a private pool, which didn’t have a safety gate but it wasn’t a problem for us. When we were inside we locked the door and put the keys on a shelf so Nova couldn’t get out to it without us knowing. He’s a water baby so I’m sure it must have been inviting for him! When he was outside we were always with him and he seemed to understand not to get too close to the edge.
Nova is 2 years old so he eats the same food as us. We cooked all of our dinners from scratch using ingredients from the nearby supermarket. I say we, but really I mean Jay. As we were in Italy we ate pasta every single day. I’m not going to lie, it was carby heaven!
We’d just started weaning Kit, so we took a few Ella Pouches with us. She has a high gag reflex so it’s a slow process, so we didn’t bother taking tonnes of them.
Now that she has teeth (5 at the time!) she has formula milk, so we just took her formula powder and bottles with us. We also took some of those ready-made formula bottles with us for days when we’d knew we’d be out all day and perhaps not have access to boiling water. We took a few (luggage limitations) and figured we’d buy more in Italy.
The local supermarket was pretty big and had a baby section, but didn’t stock any formula brands that we recognised and the descriptions were obviously in Italian. We managed to find some ready-made bottles that seemed to be similar, but it did make me nervous feeding her something with a label that I couldn’t read.
To steralise her bottles we didn’t bother with those water purification tablets. Instead we just thoroughly cleaned the bottles like we normally would and then soaked them in boiling water.
We took enough of Kit’s nappies (and extras) in our suitcase. Yeah it takes up space, but we prefer to know we’ve got them and not to worry about supermarket opening times, stock etc. It also means that there’s space in the case on the way home for goodies!
The hardest part of this trip was that Kit was almost crawling. We don’t seem to make babies. Instead, they just skip to toddler stage. Within a week or so of returning home Kit nailed crawling, sitting and pulling up to a stand position!
Anyway, this meant that she just wanted to be on the floor practicing her moves. Our villa, like most, had a hard shiny floor and we just couldn’t put her down because she was still in the faceplanting stage. In the end we dragged the travel cot outside and plonked her in that so she could have a little wriggle.
In the past I know I’ve covered how many grows we packed etc but since I’ve written my ultimate family travel packing list that seems a bit pointless.
Nova and Kit were their adorable selves with each other – they absolutely adore being brother and sister! Nova smothers her kisses and cuddles and they’re constantly grinning at each other. When they’re in the car seats they’re both craning their heads out to look at each other and now that Kit’s babbling away Nova can’t help but chuckle and ask ‘what’s sister doing? She’s a funny dinosaur!’.
I think I’ve covered everything, but obviously if you have a question please just get in touch. All in all, a good trip!
Lessons for Next Time
Ditch the Trunki and hand luggage suitcase – replace with rucksack(s) to free up hands!
Avoid late short-haul flights where at all possible.
Take enough formula powder and ready-made bottles for peace of mind
Keep taking enough nappies
What Worked Well
Nice temperature (late teens)
Two-bedrooms and living area
Spacious hire car
Non-touristy destination (partly thanks to shoulder season)
Next up? Kit’s first long-haul flight to Canada!
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