Flying to Shanghai from UK with baby and 4 YO(28 Posts)
AIBU to think we will have a fun holiday if I accompany my husband on a work trip to Shanghai, taking my (then) 9 month old and almost 5 year old for 7ish days? Dh will be in meetings mostly for 5 days of that. Then there's the long haul flight (circa 14 hours with 1 stop over) and jetlag. The kids are generally good travellers but we've not been anywhere so far yet. Extra cost for me and the kids will be in the region of £1200, DH costs to be covered by work. I don't mind wandering around the city myself with the kids. They have good public transport there.
Or should I ditch DH and have myself a nice luxury European holiday instead
For that length of time I wouldn't bother..you'll be just over the jet lag and then be leaving. Plus you'll have to deal with all the grumpy jet lag on your own..if you can tack a family holiday on at the end then might be more worth it..
A long haul flight and jet lag? For a week? No.
I'd spend the £1200 taking the kids somewhere else with less travelling and somewhere they would enjoy more.
Weekend @ Disneyland Paris?
I would, but then I only have one DC and have travelled long haul with her a lot so I'm clearly a bit biased! Shanghai is brilliant and one of the more practical cities to visit in China with small children IMO.
Only thing is would you be on separate flights to DH?
... go ... your 5 year old would love Shanghai Disneyland.
City Temple, Yuyuan Gardens, Hongqiao Pearl City Market. There'd be loads to do.
If you're husband is working then that'll include evening meals (expected) as it's part of the working culture so plan to be by yourself with the kids and if he joins you then all the better.
Get good medical cover (including evacuation.) Would little one need hepatitis jabs? Worth asking and sorting before the trip.
I love Shanghai (and could spend a week window shopping for musical instruments in JinLing Lane alone) but I'm not sure I would want to do it alone with 2 small children to be honest. The hosting culture in China means that your DH will be out with his hosts every night, and if they get wind of you being there the invitation will be extended to you, which might not be the fun holiday you are expecting.
The public transport is excellent, but very very busy, and there is a very different attitude to getting on the transport than there is in the UK.
I would absolutely go whilst you be got the chance. Once they're in school it's no where near so easy.
Their ages are fine for planes too, we travel long haul a lot, and the hardest age was 1-2 years. Go for it.
Ooh good point about the jabs!
I feel like this is probably my one and only chance to visit China so I feel I should be brave and go for it. I was thinking maybe we could just semi adapt to the time zone eg waking up midday and the kids staying up until midnight. That would make it easier to recover when we're back too.
The other factor is that I'll have to postpone my work start date by about 3 weeks but it's not a big deal (other than, I suppose, spending a lot money instead of earning it )
DH is attending a bigish conference so you're right, there will probably be a lot of dinners, but (luckily) it's very unlikely that they'll extend the invitation to us. I don't mind having my own little culinary adventure in the evenings though, I'm a bit more adventurous than DH anyway so maybe it's good if we're exploring alone. Kids are def at as good an age as it'll be for this, baby in buggy or sling, older one can walk quite far, I don't need to worry about school holidays or booking time off work. Feels like I should take advantage! I am a bit of an optimist though and there have been occasions when I've lived to regret it!
Shanghai is great but not for kids (I grew up there). There's plenty to do but the pollution is awful and it's very fast-paced. Personally I wouldn't bother with two small kids and only 7 days.
If you can adopt a very relaxed schedule and frame of mind then I'd say go for it. You'll have your dh to help with flights (which are the worst bit) and yy to flexible adaptation to the new time zone.
The worst case scenario is that the kids end up with totally different sleep patterns from each other and you. Can 4 year old quietly self entertain with tv or iPad if needs be?
A nice holiday in the Med is likely to be much more relaxing so it does depend on how adventurous you're feeling.
Good point on pollution: I'd forgotten that depending on the time of year face masks are compulsory for children on certain days because of the smog.
Shanghai is great and you'll love it! However for only 7 days I'm not sure if you'll have good fun with jet lagged kids. I've travelled with my baby/toddler to places with 7/8 hours time difference and she always took a least a week to get over the jetlag. Can you deal with 1 week of constant tantrums?
Yes 4 year old can self entertain for decent periods. Although hmm a relaxing Mediterranean holiday does sound lovely too
The problem is we have family overseas who we visit at least once, sometimes twice a year. That basically sucks up our holiday time and money so we rarely travel anywhere other than that one country. I would've loved to go to Malaysia if I'm flying that far but at the moment I'm thinking I'll happily take China if that's the only option.
Would also consider what time of year you will be there, summer months are very humid with a lot of (very warm) rain, usually in afternoons. Getting out and about would be more comfortable first thing in the morning or later on. Everywhere inside will have air con but can be a bit brutal outdoors, fab city though and well worth the trip.
It'll late May so it shouldn't be too hot but you're right that morning is probably a much pleasanter time to be out. So many factors to consider...
I wouldn't. I went last year for business. It's a great city but I wouldn't want to go with small children. The flight is pretty brutal, as is the time difference. I didn't see much to do for little kids (although to be fair I wasn't looking). The pollution left my eyes and throat stinging. The roads are also pretty hazardous.
I probably wouldn't go. As much as I love Shanghai, it is very crowded and involves a lot of walking up and down stairs, especially to get on the (excellent) metro. With 2 young dcs, it would be challenging.
The queues will be massive at Disney and I think it would be hard to keep a baby entertained, plus how could you go on rides with your 5 year old?
Also May might be very rainy and you could find yourself stuck in a hotel room for a week.
I would plan another trip with the money you saved.
But what if it was my only chance to go to China EVER. It probably is... it's only because DH is going there that I'm thinking of going. We may also be able to stopover in Hong Kong en-route. Obviously you could also argue that if it's not somewhere I wanted to go anyway, I shouldn't go just because DH happens to be going. But the alternative is... going back to work a bit earlier and looking aftwr 2 kods for a weel by myself. Or, having a holiday by ourselves without DH there at all
OP - I guess the question to ask yourself is what do you actually want to get out of the trip and are willing to put up with?
Agree with PP that Shanghai is fab but can be difficult with young kids to go around.
You may find yourself struggling with the kids at night and jet lag irrespective of attempts to keep them awake/asleep (the time difference is significant). Furthermore this may mean you end up on different meal schedule to local restaurants. It also sounds like you might end up struggling with the kids yourself if your OH is busy with work.
BUT, if you are willing to risk the challenges, then consider booking into a really good hotel with excellent concierge service (I really rate Les Suites Orient) where staff can give you decent child-friendly recommendations and help you make arrangements to get around and see/eat with the kids as easily as possible.
Another thing to consider is dealing with your 9MO (read: wriggly and active) on the long haul flight by yourself with 5YO too. I've done 13 hour flights with my DS and by 7-8 months old it was getting difficult (despite it being a night flight) as he did not want to be strapped down/in my lap most of the time, but still couldn't walk/crawl properly by himself.
I think same shit different location and it would probably be helllish with the jet lag. Sorry!
Pikapoo my DH would be with me on both legs of the flight and the baby has always been calm/chilled but granted there us no certainty on that front!
It does sound overwhelmingly like the message is don't do it! Hmm. Maybe I can use the money saved if I don't go to convince DH to do an extra hol to somewhere else I've wanted to go for a while
Maybe I can use the money saved if I don't go to convince DH to do an extra hol to somewhere else I've wanted to go for a while
Now this sounds like MUCH more fun
I do think that you and the DC could end up having a nice and relaxing time in Shanghai, it's just that the potential for things turning out more difficult than hoped is actually quite high, so you'd be taking on a fair bit of risk.
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