Sunday, 11 March 2018

Travels with my son: Planning a long-haul flight

When you live upside down, on the other side of the world to your family, long haul travel very rapidly becomes one of the realities of life.  We've gone back to the UK twice in the eight years we've lived in New Zealand, in 2011 and 2015 (when our son was 10 months old), and we're incredibly lucky that most years in between we have family able to make the journey here to visit.  This year will be different, though.  I had a huge amount of leave banked in work - only saving it for the proverbial rainy day - so Andy suggested I head back with E, our boy.  Andy can't get away from work at that time of year so it'll just be the two of us.  While the thought of making the trip a year ago made my blood run cold (E was very, very good at being two...), this time round he'll be close to four when we go and while I'm preparing for the worst, I'm also expecting the best.

E is a lucky boy in that he's already got plenty of flights under his belt at the tender age of three, and we live so close to the airport that we can see the runway from our living room, the first flights of the morning our wake-up call, the comings and goings of the airport our ever-changing wallpaper.  He's therefore very familiar with the logistics of air travel, while at the same time it's still enough of a novelty to get him enthusiastic and excited about.

I'm by nature a planner.  Understatement of the year.  I research and organise spreadsheets for just about every event, and holidays are no exception.  Throw a pre-schooler into the mix and my planning reaches peak levels.  The separate elements to plan and book so far have been:

- Packing lists
- The flights
- Stopovers
- Travel insurance
- Itinerary for the UK (including all-important shopping lists)

I'm going to be writing the next few posts about this, and about tips I've picked up in our previous travels with E.