IT’S fair to say that me and Stew love nothing more than travelling. After uni we headed off for a year around the world, visiting some of the most amazing places and having crazy adventures together. We passed driving tests in the Cook Islands, slept under the stars in the Australian outback and waved at the king of Thailand at his birthday parade in Bangkok.
When we got back, the wanderlust set in again, but saving for a house and wedding meant we had to keep our sights a bit closer to home … and the quest to visit every capital city in Europe began!
Within a year of getting married, we welcomed Santi into our world, and of course that put a stop to our travels … or not! Before he was even born we had our first family holiday picked out – an amazing Baltic cruise – and if we hadn’t taken so long to name him, we would probably have booked before we even left the hospital.
And now, as we’re about to meet our second little one, we’re already getting itchy feet and trying to decide where our first adventure as a family of four should take us. Should we stay in the UK? Jump on a ferry and head to France for a couple of weeks? Or should we be bold and visit the United Arab Emirates?!
Dubai might seem like a brave choice for a holiday with a toddler and a newborn. Then again, I don’t think many parents would take their one-year-old to Russia on their first trip abroad – but that’s the fun of travelling! And Dubai really does have something to offer everyone.
Santi is a ridiculously busy two-year-old, and to be honest he is the main person we have to consider when looking for a holiday. He’s the one who will need the most entertaining, and despite having the air of a city of wealth suited to luxury travellers, we would be spoilt for choice when keeping a toddler busy in Dubai.
Two places I would absolutely love to take him are the Aquaventure water park and Dubai Aquarium … although there are so many activities on offer it looks like we could stay for months without running out of things to do.
Since he was three months old, we’ve tried to take Santi swimming as often as we can. He absolutely loves the water, and the little swimming pool on the ship was a highlight of our cruise last year. When we go to the pool he shrieks with laughter in the waves, splashes his way around the lazy river and throws himself down the slides with no fear. Imagine his little face lighting up if he saw the Splashers area at the water park! Slides, climbing frames, water cannons … I don’t think we’d ever get him out of there! I always thought the water park was aimed primarily at older children or even adults, but after seeing the Splashers section it would definitely be at the top of our list of places to go to in Dubai.
The aquarium just looks magical, and would be the perfect place to shelter from the sun when we need to cool down. The closest we’ve come to something like this – and it’s far from it in reality – is being able to watch the penguins underwater at Folly Farm. Even that really captures Santi’s attention – he talks about how he could see them swimming past him for days after. Seeing tropical fish and sharks swimming overhead would give him enough stories to delay bedtime for months after we get home! I can imagine the baby would be captivated by the bright colours, and Stew, who was hooked on snorkeling when we went travelling, would also love it – a definite winner for a family day out.
Living by the sea, we’d obviously have to spend at least half a day at Kite Beach to see how the Dubai coast compares with South Wales … I’d imagine it’s pretty similar, no? Santi loves playing on the sand, and it would be so nice for us all to paddle together in the sea without our feet turning blue in the cold! Our new little one would be a couple of months old by the time we went – how amazing would the sensory experience be of watching kites fly overhead while feeling the sand on his or her tiny hands and feet? And think of the cute little beach outfits … I’m mentally packing little sun hats and rompers (and gallons of sun cream) as I type!
A bit of me time:
I know it’s supposed to be a family holiday, but after nine months of giving up my body to pregnancy, I’m going to factor in a bit of me time here. You can’t possibly go to Dubai without experiencing one of the city’s hundreds of spas … and Stew can cope with two children for a couple of hours, I’m sure. So, book me in at a Turkish hammam please. I won’t be too greedy and go for a 24 carat gold facial – a scrub and massage will do for this tired mama! Oh, and maybe a bit of quiet window shopping at the mall … did I say a couple of hours? Stew will be fine without me for the day…
Travelling is really special to me, and the thought of our first holiday as a family of four fills me with so much excitement. In one fortnight away last year we made so many memories together – Santi toddling around a different city almost every day, picking up new words faster than I could ever imagine, and adding so much more to the holiday than if it was just the two of us.
I was lucky enough to have family adventures as a child, heading off on the plane with my parents and older brother, and those annual trips abroad are something I’ll never forget. Even if Santi and his little brother or sister will be too small to remember our Dubai dream holiday, the memories will be something Stew and I treasure forever.
*This post is my entry into the Tots100 and Dubai Tourism Dubai Dreams blogger competition to win a family holiday of a lifetime. And if I win, you could too! Tots100 and Dubai Tourism will be reading all the comments on the winning blog entry, and the person who writes their favourite will also win a holiday! So what are you waiting for? Share your Dubai Dreams below for a chance to win!