Spring break in Dublin, plus some toddler traveling tips

I’ve always wanted to visit Dublin, I actually applied there for my Erasmus about ten years ago, but ended up in Cyprus. Latest inspiration I got from Lonely Planet’s Food Trails book, which explores more the rural areas of Ireland. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for a road trip, but a long weekend in Dublin did convince me that we have to go back to see more of this country. First thing I heard was that Irish people are very friendly and that was definitely true. Amazing how people care about you, chat with you and your kid, completely different than here in the north. 😀 

Dublin, especially in areas outside the famous Temple Bar (I didn’t quite get what it is famous for), seemed really interesting. Loads of cute coffee places (Irish people apparently love their espresso) and restaurants, a bit rundown British style (?) houses which please me a lot (at least when I’m not living in them), so much green, the canals and river, seaside… Leaves in the trees make such a difference, it felt like summer there, even though temperatures where not very high. We happened to be exceptionally lucky with the weather, as it was full-on sunny for four days straight. What are you people complaining about the Irish weather?? Come to Estonia, and you’ll see yours is just fine. 😉

Dublin surprised me with it’s buzz; I didn’t expect it to be so busy, and I still quite don’t get how it is like that, who are all those people? It seemed more like London than Helsinki to me. Even size wise it is definitely not London 😅

We didn’t plan much, which was a good approach. We also were lucky to have friends with whom we stayed in a nice, exciting neighbourhood. As we were traveling with Leevi it was less partying, more picnics in parks, playground hopping and visiting zoo (which was nice but I felt a bit sad after seeing the animals in their natural environment in Uganda). Dublin was, according to my “extensive” experience, buggy-friendlier than Tallinn, and the playgrounds were fancier, but we did miss play corners in restaurants (supernanny-like waitresses covered for this a bit) and good old sandbox.

(Air)travel with a toddler

What comes to traveling by plane with a 1,5 yo, very energetic toddler, 3 hour flight is manageable. For sure not enjoyable (forget about in-flight entertainment, reading, sleeping and listening music; it’s all about your entertainment skills now), but you shouldn’t be afraid. Just take lots of snacks (rice or corn cakes, apple, raisins, bread, banana, smoothies, apricots, plums etc.), good bib & lots of wet wipes, some cartoons downloaded on your phone, few toys and books and lots of patience, and I guarantee you’ll survive 😉 (Honestly I’d stay away from longer flights for a few more months (years) of anyhow possible.) I think the easiest is if you have a small rucksack or a bag that fits under the seat, then whatever you need is easily reachable. Diaper change is much more enjoyable (is it ever?) at the airport than in the plane so I suggest to do that before boarding. And don’t dress to impress, but in dark not-very-important, comfortable clothes as mess is unavoidable.

On my opinion best time to fly with a toddler who still naps is morning, so that the time you get on your seats all the excitement from the airport and early wake-up starts to kick in and the little one will likely pass out for at least 30 minutes. It is worth of giving couple of thoughts to the napping schedule, especially if there’s time difference, but with us it always worked quite well (we only had -1 or -2 hours) without stressing too much about it. Airlines usually announce that families may go first to the plane but I would avoid it as it means 15 minutes more sitting still.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of buggies, on a big airport it is worth of taking your (travel) buggy all the way to the plane. You don’t want to be running hundreds of meters dragging your hand luggage and a toddler who would rather run anywhere else except the right way. On a small airport like Tallinn, buggy is useless (well ok you can you it as a stroller for your hand luggage) as it’s anyway better to let your kid get the energy out playing and running around before sitting in the plane. For smaller babies I would also recommend a carrier (instead of buggy) but with Leevi it isn’t very handy anymore. Our travel stroller is Recaro Easylife which isn’t perfect but its tiny size is so big plus that I can handle the shitty wheels and few other down sides.

Airlines have different baggage allowances for kids, so you should definitely take a look before the flight or even booking. For example now we were very pleased to notice that Ryanair, even otherwise far from perfect, allows both stroller and a car seat. A lot of airlines only allow one of these. Sometimes infant is allowed to have their own hand luggage, sometimes not. Liquid restrictions don’t count for infants but remember to show your smoothies and milks in the security check.

Soon our air travel will change more or less significantly as Leevi turns 2 and we have to book him his own seat. We will see whether it is a good or a bad thing. Anyway I recommend not to abandon traveling when you have kids, it gives such a nice break from everyday life that it’s totally worth the trouble!

PS. Let me know if you’d be interested of more travel with a kid themed posts, or if you have any questions I might be able to answer. 😊

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