holidays and what-nots: part 1

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two weeks later and I am still reminiscing about my holiday. *wistful* Dunno when I can take another holiday like this again. So nice to meet up with family, travel with family and shop. the last time we went for such a trip, I was moving around solo with Ollie half the time whilst Donald was attending a conference.

this time, it was really a holiday. We were all spending time with each other, and we were taking it super easy, just chill in the apartment, even some cooking! and oh man…the shopping! Haha, umm, I think we probably overdid the shopping (as we always do). This time, we bought enough clothes to last the kids up till they are 7yo. I know I know..but hey, I am not going to be shopping in the USA any time soon, so might as well eh?

Vancouver & Seattle, a summary

Vancouver & Seattle, a summary

We had a crazy start to our holiday. QT was puking the night before the flight, and Donald and I could only look at each other helplessly. Ah wells, we’ll take it as it goes. Woke up the next morning to get a text from our cousin (who flies with Cathay) that our flight was going to be delayed. I quickly checked the schedule on Changi Airport and didn’t see anything about a delay. But well..she was flying on the same flight as us so surely right?

Anyways, we decided that we would go to the airport as planned anyways. Got there at 7.25am only to be told that our flight was going to be delayed till 12noon. Whaaaat, but we’ll miss our connecting flight! And we didn’t receive any notification at all!

“So, would you like to take the 8am flight?”

“Sure, but we still have two others who are not here!”

“Oh.”

Fortunately, my parents were just alighting from the taxi and I got Donald to quickly rush them in so the crew could check us in. Time check: 7.30am. Check in took about 15mins and then we were rushed through immigration and…WAH LIEW. The gate was pretty far but boh bian, we had to run. My mom took QT, I had Ollie on piggy back in the carrier, Donald had the diaper bags (two of it!), my dad took Ollie’s Trunki, the air stewardess took our stroller. What a sight we must have been.

And we ran. OMG. By the time we got on the plane, I was so sweaty! We still had the bassinet row too! Naise. The plane took off quickly after and we got ourselves settled in.

TIP: If you are a parent flying from SG to HKG, then HKG to anywhere else by Cathay Pacific, and have the bassinet row, please get your bassinet set up as quickly as possible. 

Why, you may ask? Cos there were people who were constantly walking across our row to take a short cut to the loo! Call me ah ngiao (particular) but the extra space is for a bassinet and for parents who have kids. I don’t want to have to keep picking my kid up just so you can cut across our row cos you are too lazy to walk around to go to the loo. Urgh. Worse, we had people who still try to cut across our row despite having the bassinet up. We had one guy who tried to push his way through even though Donald had his feet up against the wall.

Like seriously…..I would have be more inclined to allow the passenger across if he had asked!

Having taken the 8am flight, we now had 4 hours in HKG instead of the 2, so we took our time to walk around the airport. Turned out that we had 6 hours in HKG cos of another flight delay. Our plane couldn’t take off in bad weather. Boo.

And then there was a hiccup with the kids’ meal on the second leg of our flight. Urgh. Turns out that both the kids do not have a meal cos it wasn’t on their system. -_-” On the first flight, the kids also didn’t have a meal but I can understand that cos we were added in at the last minute. But second leg…come on.

“Can you show me your confirmation?” Right, like I would lie to you about a kid’s meal. I want a kid’s meal soooo bad that I have to lie about it.

“So if I can show you my confirmation, would you be able to provide me with a kid’s meal?”

“No.” That’s it. Okay….I was about to write CX off my list of planes to fly. A senior stewardess stepped in and apologised and tried to offer an alternative, which was jarred baby food. I mean, Ollie could eat an adult’s meal, but QT, who’s tummy wasn’t still very good (he puked the moment we got off the plane in HKG) probably wasn’t going to have any of that. Never mind, take first, we’ll figure something out.

TIP: If you are flying with kids, always call a couple of days beforehand to confirm their meals. You can confirm again at the checking counter, AND again at the boarding gate. They will still have time to rush a meal in at the boarding gate. 

After that incident, the rest of the flight was pretty uneventful, bar the fussy QT who was overtired plus new environment plus light sleeper who took 2 hours to finally settle down into a deep sleep.

TIP: Where possible, ensure that the longer leg of the flight is during the kids’ night time. They will probably sleep and you will have more rest.

Obviously different kids may react differently. I used this method on our flight to Houston two years back and used it again for this flight to Vancouver. I could handle 4 hours with the kids being awake, a break in between, but 13 hrs of kids being awake in a space constrained environment? I think not.

As a result of the flight delay, we left HKG around 6.30pm. By that time, Ollie who had been awake since 6.30am with NO nap..was ready to crash. In fact, he knocked up 30mins into the flight. Haha. And he slept all the way till it was about 2 hrs before landing! So it worked perfectly, it was bedtime for him in SG time, and when he woke up it was the day in Vancouver! For QT who had another nap at the airport in HKG, it took awhile for him to settle down and by the time he was tired, he was overtired. But still, he slept for a good 6 hours which gave us a break.

The boys were again kept awake when we arrived in Vancouver. The late sunset helped a lot too, and the kids were in bed by 9.30pm and asleep by 10.30pm.

For our flight back to Singapore, I booked the 2am flight, so the boys would sleep and by the time we arrived in HKG, it was early morning at 6.30am. There was another flight delay, and we left HKG only at 9am instead of 8.15am. QT had another nap on the flight, whilst Ollie was too excited to sleep. By the time we arrived in SG, it was about 12.30pm, and again we kept the boys awake the rest of the afternoon. Ollie knocked out by 5.30pm, whilst QT who had another short nap slept at 8pm.

Jet lag? Hardly for all flights! It really worked very well for us so I’m gonna make sure that this is our flight pattern for…like forever. Haha. We could even squeeze in a few movies! Okay lah, I mean I ended up dozing off a couple of times too.

Car Rental: Hertz @ Airport

back row & boot space

back row & boot space

We had 5 adults and 2 kids travelling together, so obviously luggage space was going to be an issue. On top of that we had a stroller with us. Hertz offered us the Chrysler Town and Country which is a huuuuuge car IMO. I loved it cos of the massive bootspace! I mean, look at that! When we picked the car up, we actually could fit 4 large suitcases, and 2 cabin trolleys at the bag. We also fitted the stroller in between the seats (we had an umbrella stroller with us). We managed to nego to have the car seats given to us for free since we were renting from them for nearly 2 weeks. Total cost of the car rental was about CAD1.3k (I think!). This was including excess waiver insurance.

We also grabbed a pocket mobile WIFI for about CAD185 from WifiCube, which allowed us about 5GB a day in Vancouver, but unlimited access in the USA.

Accomodation: airbnb

Come on, I think airbnb has gotta be everyone’s best friend now, when it comes to accommodation. We were going to be in Canada & USA for about 2 weeks, so obviously we needed something more economical for 7 people.

We made a total of 3 bookings, uhh played cheat a little (savings wor) and got credits all over. See, if you know of someone close who has an airbnb account, please get a referral from them. You will get some cash (around SGD60) discount on your booking, and the referrer gets some credits from your booking when you have completed your stay! If you don’t know a referrer, you can click on this link to get a discount from me!

Some of the airbnb hosts do charge according to the number of people staying in the apartment (i.e., more people cost more cos of clean up, utilities..etc). All 3 of our hosts were very kind to discount the kids cos well, they didn’t take up alot of space! So please communicate with your soon-to-be hosts, most of them are really accommodating. There was one who even so kindly stocked up some items in the fridge for us and the kids, like fruits, yoghurt, brownies and even a bottle of wine.

TIP: staying at airbnb accommodation – stuff you should consider bringing

We prepared some stuff to bring along as we weren’t sure if they were provided at the accommodation. Here is a list of items you may wish to consider bringing along just in case:

1) laundry detergent (most places have a washing machine & dryer, so keep your sample sachets!)
2) dishwashing detergent & sponge: we brought a small jar, and a travel sized bottle & utensil cleanser for the kids
3) own towels: some of the accommodations provided towels but some didn’t. and I was particular about the towels as they were washed by regular washing machines. I don’t want to think about how many before me used it….*gross factor*
4) tissue paper: we brought those in plastic wrap rather than box so they take up lesser space, and you don’t have to buy in bulk at the supermarkets! We put one in the car and another in the apartment.
5) toiletries like shampoo, soap..etc. Out of the 3, only one provided these toiletries.
6) toilet paper: seriously. haha. we didn’t want to end up with 12 rolls of TP, so we brought like 3 rolls and it was plenty for the entire trip.

It may sound like a hassle, but it is just minor conveniences which you can forgo having to shop for.

Phew. Will have to take a break for now. Hope the information is useful so far! Next up will be the places we went to!

Category: Special, Travel

19 comments on “holidays and what-nots: part 1

  1. Wow what an ‘exciting’ first leg of flight for your and family! Thankfully your parents made it in the nick of time. We used Airbnb for our Boston and NYC trip too, didn’t know can accumulate credits! Next time we can refer each other. Thanks for this helpful tip!

    • I didn’t know we could refer too! Oh, the credits thing is a hit and miss. Sometimes we would get USD$50, sometimes we’d get USD$25 off. So..we just kept sending out invites to various emails until we got the USD$50 =P

  2. What an eventful flight!! I’d be so pissed with the flight stewardess.. like really? would anyone make a fuss and lie to get a kids meal??

    Anyway I want to see your shopping haul! 😛

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • OMG. the shopping haul. Uhh I need to dig some photos! I know I almost went mad folding and sorting all the clothes for the boys..we bought clothes for up to 7yo. haha.

  3. Okay.. It never occurred to me that I had to bring toilet paper for AirBnb accommodations! Guess I have always been staying in hotels and can call for toilet papers.

    And really? People will walk past your bassinet seats even with the bassinet up? Yeah, I think I would be kind of annoyed too. Luckily that never happened to me.. Coz I was at the window side. HAHAHA…

    • Eh the whole toilet paper, detergent..is auntie mindset haha. Kinda like why you would bring 3-in-1 for some holidays? =P We didn’t know if they replenished mah, so bring in case!

      • So did you actually end up using the toilet paper you brought??

        • yes we did! With 1 roll to spare. haha

  4. Wow what an adventure already!

    • absolutely! Next adventure please! =P (not!!)

  5. Oh my, that CX stewardess is so inflexible. I would have been really pissed off.

    • I did write in to complain about the huge disparity of service between in outgoing and incoming flight! Eh, they followed up with a USD$100 voucher to spend on duty free or laundry haha. Gave it to my MIL who was flying CX on a recent trip..and she bought Godiva chocolates with it. *sobs* (to be fair, we had a quick look through the catalogue and didn’t see anything fancy.

  6. Goodness gracious what a morn! I have never flown anything other than sq after kids… Just in case! I’ve also never encountered people walking past me just to get a shortcut! That’s horrible manners lor. I don’t usually put the bassinet because it’s not use for my kid. If she fell asleep, I’ll probably keep her asleep longer in my arms hhaha

    I’ve also never tried airbnb before! Really? Should be my best friend? Hehhehe

    • I KNOW! SQ absolutely rocks! We flew SQ for our first long haul and it was fantastic. Yummy baby food (kiddo was sleeping so I ate it! haha, tho catering from Moscow was crap, only jarred food). And eh, airbnb is your best friend if you have more people with you. Really more cost effective lar. And you get the amenities too? Not sure how airbnb will be like in SEA..but the apartment we had in Vancouver, OMG. I would buy the flat if I had the money haha

  7. Sounds very happening for a start of a holiday. I will get worried if my flight got delay especially with connecting flights. So far we only experienced one time running to the gate and it scary enough. Nice tips you have there.

    • haha IKR..it’s like whatever can go wrong..will go wrong. My #2 is a high needs baby too..I was expecting the worst. OMG. But fortunately, we survived! =)

  8. Now I know whom I should approach if I book airbnb hehehe! I haven’t brought my children on long haul flight yet, not sure if I can survive it!

    • yesyes, 来来。 I refer you and you get $60! *auntiemode on*. To be honest, I almost wanted to cancel my first long haul flight with a 15mo toddler. But had to really convince myself to give it a go, and wing it. If just hubby and I with two kids, I will definitely think twice!!

  9. Even when my girl was 18 months, I only dared to fly as far as Penang! Salute you for your bravery to go so far. And what an adventurous start to your holidays.

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