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Early flight with children - hotel or not?

(29 Posts)
Misty9 Mon 07-Mar-16 12:04:36

We're flying out of stansted in late April at 6.45 am on a Wednesday and live about 90min drive away. We can't decide whether to get an airport hotel and parking, but still have to get up at 4am, or drive down and have to negotiate dropping the car at a car park and lugging luggage and tired grumpy me dc at stupid o'clock. Dc will be 2 and 4.5 but the 4.5yo has form for being very uncooperative and refusing to move if he's not carried...!

It's £210 for the radisson which is the only on airport hotel. Other hotels are cheaper but there's still the driving to car park bit in the morning with only slightly more sleep.

What have other people done for early morning flights? apart from not booking them

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 07-Mar-16 12:06:11

Where are you going? I think length of the flight is a factor here too.

RubyRo Mon 07-Mar-16 12:09:52

I wouldn't bother personally. My two would sleep better in their own beds.

We book the parking where they meet you in the airport car park and take your car away, then bring it back for when you return. So no messing about with parking/buses to the airport etc.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 07-Mar-16 16:02:17

What time do you need to be in the airport; I note that your flight departs at 6.45am. You may need to be at the airport about 90 minutes before departure anyway particularly if you need to check in any luggage and have printed off your boarding passes beforehand.

In your particular circumstances I would stay at the airport hotel the night before.

noramum Mon 07-Mar-16 16:12:42

Airport hotel wins every time. We did Premier Inn a couple of times, parking + hotel was the same price as parking itself at Heathrow and Gatwick. In Heathrow we had to drive for another 10 minutes to the car park for drop off and then straight into the terminal.

We would otherwise have to leave the house and drag a child out of bed in the middle of the night, a hotel saves us at least 2 hours.

No1HolidayPlanner Mon 07-Mar-16 16:47:09

I would put them to bed early at home.. Pre book meet and greet car parking so just hand over keys of car and walk straight into terminal.. They will catch up with some sleep on plane or in hotel later. Enjoysmileyour hols.

Misty9 Mon 07-Mar-16 21:10:54

We're going to Verona, and it's about 2.5 hrs I think.

That was my thinking, that a hotel would save us 2hrs, but not at £100 per hour! I had also decided on meet and greet, but it seems most involve you parking your own car in a lot then walking miles and handing in the keys to a kiosk? Reviews for meet and greet at stansted are not good.

I'm getting too stressed about this one aspect of the whole holiday!

Misty9 Mon 07-Mar-16 21:11:42

They go to bed at 6.30pm anyway, so couldn't get much earlier. It's us and my last minute packing I'm worried about smile

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 08-Mar-16 08:01:44

I would still book the hotel. Stansted as an airport has a lot of problems nowadays due to overcapacity. You will need time and lots of it to traverse the place as well as get through security. Gates too can be a long distance from airport building.

Ceeceecee Tue 08-Mar-16 08:13:33

I would risk it but leave earlier than 4 if you have a 90-minute journey. But I would get to airport two hours before - which means leaving at 3.15. Really wouldn't cut it fine especially with uncooperative small ones.

lljkk Tue 08-Mar-16 08:15:13

90 minute drive away, I'd stay night in my own home. Pack the car night before & carry the 4yo to car if you have to. Can you check in the night before?

Ceeceecee Tue 08-Mar-16 08:21:04

Also put them to bed in whatever top and pants they are going to wear and maybe tracksuit bottoms or leggings. Wake them up, put them on the loo and then carry them to the car with duvets and pillows (and toy!) and take some croissants or sandwiches (made night before) plus water. They'll go back to sleep. Won't be that bad.

GreenTomatoJam Tue 08-Mar-16 08:22:34

I wouldn't in that case - it's going to be a pain in the bum no matter what you do, but why pack up and move twice rather than stay in your own beds and do it once.

I'm a fan of hotels at the other end though, if you have onward travel - we have a flying visit for a wedding in April, so we're flying in late Friday, staying at a hotel (at the airport, not even a transfer bus - just off the plane and into bed), then we get the hire car the next day, go to the wedding, and drive back to the same airport hotel that weekend. Cost of the hotel offset by carhire savings, and lack of stress getting hire cars/marshalling kids at stupid hours.

GreenTomatoJam Tue 08-Mar-16 08:25:16

Oh, I just read more - I don't know about stanstead, but at heathrow the services where they take your car and park it offsite are awesome (if you ignore the daily mail articles about them taking the cars for joyrides... not that anyone would do that with mine) - and you don't have to park and walk miles, they meet you at drop off, and then you give them a call when you've got your bags and you usually arrive at the pickup the same time as the car - we wouldn't do anything else these days.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 08-Mar-16 08:26:23

Presumably your DH is working the day before?. If so he may already be tired before you set off in the middle of the night. I would personally not countenance a 90 minute or so journey with kids at night in such circumstances; its a false economy.

noramum Tue 08-Mar-16 11:31:37

They'll go back to sleep. Won't be that bad.

Tell that my daughter. We had to take her to a hospital at the other side of London at 5am in the morning for a 7am surgery. She was wide awake and nothing would get her back to sleep.

Then explain to a toddler why she can't eat.

Nothing is worse than a child woken up and brought into a cold car. I always find it amazing when parents say their child will fall asleep everywhere.

Linok Tue 08-Mar-16 13:29:20

if you are planning on spending £210 for the hotel and extra on petrol, can you prebook an airport transfer which will cost you the same? they will pick you up from your house in the morning and drop you off right outside the departures entrance. Saves my sanity every time we travel to the airport with children.

Misty9 Tue 08-Mar-16 21:43:08

Sorry, my op wasn't very clear - I meant that we'd get up at 4am if we were in a hotel. At home we'd leave at 2.30 am latest, and I'm not sure it's even worth us adults going to bed for that time! Plus I'd be worrying about oversleeping. With recalcitrant dc I'm not risking needing to rush and I want to be at the airport by 4am.

I did find a meet and greet which sounds good, but it's £70 and part of me thinks just pay the extra £140 for and bit more sleep... Oh, and our dc are not known for their car sleeping - unless you count staying awake until 5 mins before the destination!

Dh won't be working the day before but I am terrible with too little sleep would probably help if I stayed off mn
Dh is getting so stressed at the thought of the early start that he's suggesting getting new flights from a different airport just to get later ones! I suggested cancelling... grin I looked into taxi transfers but we still have to get up early and car seats could be a pain? Argh!

Ceeceecee Wed 09-Mar-16 18:16:54

Honestly don't worry about it. Yes it'll be hideous and you'll never book early flights again, but you can spend the first day or two of the holidays recovering. And your kids might be better at sleeping in the car than you think if you pull them out of bed at 2.30am!

trilbydoll Wed 09-Mar-16 18:23:18

I wouldn't for the hassle of packing stuff you'll need near the top, then repacking in a hurry in the hotel room.

I always take new toothbrushes etc on holiday so that we can be totally packed and car loaded the night before if we have an early start.

HopIt Wed 09-Mar-16 18:37:25

I did, it was a waste of time. Children couldn't sleep so we had about 2 hrs sleep. No breakfast from the hotel as it was too early. The panic of repacking the hotel bits and holiday bits. All seemed a bit of a waste of money to me.

Misty9 Wed 09-Mar-16 19:15:09

Hmm. I think we'll do meet and greet parking without hotel, based on these responses. We would get tea and toast/cereal at 4am in the hotel, but I'm gluten free anyway and probably wouldn't want anything at that time in the morning! We'd also have to get dinner out the evening before flight so the cost just racks up.

Just tell me to go to sleep if you see me on any threads that night! grin and wish us luck...

Branleuse Wed 09-Mar-16 19:25:11

I would just stay up and drive for the sake of getting an extra 1.5 hours in bed and all be sleeping in one hotel room AND paying out all that extra money. Or try and get a nap the evening before

NotCitrus Wed 09-Mar-16 19:36:35

How much would a minicab be? Shoving the family and bags into a car is the easiest option for us, but it's about £40 for an hours' drive to Heathrow.

RubyRo Wed 09-Mar-16 20:09:31

It'll be fine, hideous grin, but fine!

Get the kids up just before you're ready to leave and put them straight in the car with a blanket. They'll go back to sleep either in the car or on the plane.

We are going away soon with our 1 and 3yo, I'm more worried about our flight home which won't land until 8.30pm. Our kids are usually in bed by 7 and it's going to be hellish.

I don't why we do it to ourselves confused

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