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Forums Other Destination advice Tips please – LHR to Faro with 3 and 1 year olds

  • Tilly 21 posts

    Hello Everyone

    It’s been a while since I’ve travelled abroad (Sept 2019 to be precise). Whilst the husband and I were very used to flying (up to 5 holidays a year pre-pandemic), we’ve since had 2 babies. We haven’t taken either abroad yet (thanks Covid) but have our first family holiday abroad booked soon.

    Flying BA CE from LHR to Faro (1 is a lap infant as will be a few weeks off 2nd birthday)
    Staying at Hilton Vilamoura, I believe approx 25 – 30 mins drive from Faro airport

    We will be taking car seats with us and have 2 travel cabin size strollers (not Yoyos, Roma Capsule2).

    My questions for you lovely knowledgeable HFPers are:

    1. Do any of the BA galleries lounges in T5 have a toddler friendly play area? Been in so many times pre-pandemic but as had no children then paid zero attention to this sort of thing.

    2. Will we have any issue with taking the 2 strollers onboard to put in the overhead lockers?

    3. Best recommendations for compact and lightweight things to take to keep the littlies entertained on the flight please (3.5 years old and will be 23 months old).

    4. Transfers in Faro. I am thinking it would be a good idea to book transfers now so we don’t have issues with getting a large enough taxi to fit 2 car seats in plus 2 adults and all the luggage. Husband doesn’t want to hire a car as doesn’t feel confident about driving over there. Any recommendations for best company to book through? Or I can just ask the hotel to arrange for us.

    5. Any other hints and tips you have for travelling with 2 little ones?


    ZoeB 95 posts

    For toys search ‘suction cup spinners’ on Amazon. They seem to keep small kids very happy.

    Froggee 985 posts

    1. From memory, galleries north and south have rubbish play rooms. Not sure about 5B.

    2. No clue. We always gate checked.

    3. Food, favourite books, more food, flash cards, more food, iPad (but don’t tell @JDB), chocolate buttons being a specific subset of “food”.

    4. Yellowfish Transfers. Very highly rated. I used them for the first time in June and can see why they are highly rated.

    5. Chill. They go off your vibe. And food on take-off and landing. The Portuguese actually like children so good choice there.

    Anna 458 posts

    It’s not a long flight so that’s good and even better if it can coincide with nap time! As suggested, snacks are good. We used to take those little Lego sets you get in individual plastic bags but your kids might be too young for those yet. Playmobil sets are brilliant because you can set up little scenarios on the tray tables. Colouring and story books are also good.

    One thing we found invaluable year after year was to get a big bag of plastic soldiers/tanks/boats etc and take them to the beach. Build a sand “fortress” (elaborate and extended version of the traditional sandcastle), place the plastic toys strategically and our son was occupied for hours – as were lots of other interested children! May need to be adapted if your children don’t play with this kind of stuff (trying to keep it gender neutral here 😂).

    can2 571 posts

    If in Club, you’ll have sufficient overhead room for the compact strollers I believe.

    I’d definitely take Calpol/Nurofen as it is so easy for the little ones to catch fewer. We also always take our ear thermometer. In short take all your baby medicine cabinet, just in case.
    Similarly NHS eu insurance card (forgot the name) and a good travel/health insurance.

    Our kids slept a lot on flights as we timed it based on his sleep schedule and spent a lot of effort to keep him awake at the airport before the flight.

    A lot of food/snacks and his favourite toys and books helped enough for us.

    Pack the car seats with a lot of padding to protect the isofix bits. Have some euro change, just in case to move all that staff off the belt to the taxi. Can’t remember if Faro had carts that required a coin.

    SamG 1,679 posts

    If you can avoid it I wouldn’t take the car seat, they’re a lot of bulk to carry. You should be able to find a transfer that supplies them so it’ll just depend on your plans locally , I’d only take them if I knew I had long trips that required them and there were no options locally. Short hops you can have them in a taxi without.

    The stroller should be fine, just tell them it’s a yoyo type. I’ve taken non yoyo ones on a couple of flights and it’s been fine.

    You can order a child meal for your 3yo if you haven’t already

    Ours have slept a lot, I also take a lot of new little bits and pieces and snacks and bring them out periodically.

    The Savage Squirrel 595 posts

    Algarve all family friendly so a good choice.

    As above; chill and give yourself a day off from being an ideal parent while in transit. If they want to eat only crisps and watch Peppa Pig on iPad until their eyes are square (with headphones 😂) then let them crack on.

    gw57 28 posts

    There are plenty of taxis at the airport so picking up a taxi would not be a problem to fit all your gear in. you can also get an Uber XL from the drop off zone. Have holidayed in the area for 20 years plus with small kids. Look at Fegan Properties for apartments on the Dunas Douradas complex has the biggest and best swimming pool which for watching young children is absolutely superb

    Neil 17 posts

    4. – Another vote for YellowFish – used them a few times and they provided child seats as part of the door to door service when we travelled with grandchildren.

    Calum 14 posts

    1. The play areas in the Galleries lounges are not amazing but can be a good place to burn off a bit of energy before the flight. There is also a soft play area open to all pax tucked away near Gate 2.

    3. I’d suggest taking a couple of small toys and books that they like playing with at home and which will also get used when you’re there and possibly some ‘new’ that then has some novelty value. Just be prepared that they’ll probably be more interested in the menu card and safety card in the seat pocket than anything you bring! And as others have said snacks and an iPad.

    +1 for ordering the child meal. They normally serve it first before the rest of the cabin.

    Tilly 21 posts

    Thanks everyone. Some great advice here.

    I want to take our own car seats as I still rear face only plus most taxi seats/hire seats are in terrible condition, don’t know the history of them and often are expired and Team Tex seats which are very unsafe. Will be taking our 2 spare seats which are ones that can be belted in and recommended for travel.

    Lots of snacks and some new plus favourite toys and books it is.

    Thanks for mentioning the child meal. Anyone know if child meals also have allergy options? I’ll be bringing plenty of things both can eat anyway so no issue if not. I’ve already selected the special meal for the allergies but not a child meal.

    Tilly 21 posts

    Just checked out Yellowfish. Seems very cheap, too good to be true? €65 for a return journey. I thought it’d be at least double that.

    Froggee 985 posts

    I have no affiliation with Yellowfish but was very impressed. Our price was €36 one way for a slightly shorter one-way journey but I’m sure they know their business.

    Double check though that you specified the volume of luggage you have as if you need a larger vehicle the price might be a bit more. And if you do bring your own car seats then make sure they know this as they will supply them for kids (free of charge) so you could end up with boot space being taken up by their ones.

    As someone else suggested I’d be leaving my car seats in the UK but it depends on whether you want to be picking up taxis to go places once there. Unless you prebook a taxi with car seats then you probably won’t get them and I never took a chance (even for a short journey) when my kids were the ages yours are as I would never have forgiven myself if something had happened.

    So it depends what you’ll be doing. If you just want to chill at the Hilton and will be walking to nearby restaurants etc then I wouldn’t bother but if you’re going further then I would bring.

    aseftel 277 posts

    I have a 3 and 1 year old and have done a few trips in CE now (as well as a couple longer ones). It’s a good set-up for a young family, especially if you can open up the middle seat for the lap infant and/or get a whole row to yourselves with an unoccupied fourth seat.

    To your questions:

    1. Yes in South and B. I’m not sure about North. It’s not the most amazing facility but it’ll keep them occupied for a good hour especially if there are other kids around.
    2. Never had an issue saying it’s ‘like a yoyo’. I would consider thinking about whether you need two strollers in the cabin though – could you make the older one walk (what we currently do – helps burn off steam before/after a long sit on a plane too), or put the younger one in a baby carrier?
    3. iPad all the way for the 3 year old (and we are very much not a screen parenting family). Pull it out on the flight after the meal and you’re sorted. The younger one you can try a couple of books but fundamentally you either need to entertain them or get them to nap. Snacks are important but you should have a steady supply between lounges and onboard.


    The key thing is to make everything as smooth and easy as possible. Get to the airport in good time, avoid rushing. Travel light/check as much as you can so you can focus on the children rather than your luggage (backpacks are good as you keep your hands free). If you’re parking, shell out for the short-stay. If you book longer-haul then good flight times become really important.

    It will be a bit of an adventure for the children (especially the older one) so lean into that – tedious airport rituals can be fun and new for them. The first 30 mins of the flight will be exciting because they’re on a plane and taking off etc. With any luck you get a good crew who take the time to make it a fun and special experience for the children too.

    John 1,042 posts

    I don’t know how we would cope with two kids, but when ours was 1 he just stayed in the baby carrier most of the day when we were out. It could do forward-facing as well as facing the parent.

    When he was 2.5yo we got one of these and we are still using it 2 years later.

    It works as a carry on luggage and he can sit on it when he doesn’t want to walk. He can even have a nap on the handlebar as he has learnt how to hold on while asleep

    Nate1309 60 posts

    We did this trip last year. Same flights and hotel. Our kids were 1 & 4.

    I would seriously reconsider hiring a car just for simplicity. The roads are good. Download the google map of the area before you leave. Hire an automatic. There is loads to explore around Villamoura but the Hilton is not very central for grouchy kids. Then I get why you want the rear facing for the young one, maybe take that and hire for the older one. Lugging them round is a pain.

    We took a carry on bag (trunki) full of toys/snacks/colouring/magazines/iPad with downloaded content. That kept them both busy. We also got the littlest to nap on the flight.

    One of the lounges does have a kids area but I can’t remember which. Apart from anything else it’s just an area to let them be noisy without bugging people.

    We put our pushchair in the hold from the gate as it’s massive. But loads of people had small fold up ones on board.

    If you do end up with a car and can get a reservation Parilla Natural restaurant was amazing food and play park for kids. With staff their painting faces etc. my 5 yo absolutely loved it there.

    The Hilton is a lovely hotel, there is a kids area toward the back right that you don’t need to be booked into. It was quiet whenever we went and there was a lot of play type equipment for kids.

    Other tips for kids, swimwear that covers a lot of their body is better than worrying about sun cream all day. Swim toys that float. Equipment to keep kids afloat and not drown. Room service on the balcony after bedtime is almost as good as eating out pre kids……

    Tilly 21 posts

    Amazing. Thank you All for the advice, this is all great stuff.

    Have booked transfers with Yellow Fish (declared more luggage than plan to take just in case). I’ll drop them a note to say we’re bringing our own car seats.

    Thanks for the advice re the a Hilton @Nate1309 and the swimming stuff.

    Feeling more confident now.

    Chabuddy Geezy 34 posts

    Galleries North and T5B have play rooms, the South lounge does not.

    aseftel 277 posts

    the South lounge does not.

    It’s by the Union Coffee bar (runway side, not by the cinema room). This blog has some recent photos:

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