Travel

MEXICO CITY WITH KIDS

I’m typing whilst sitting in bed in an airbnb in Mexico City.  It’s 7:30pm, which my computer tells me is 1:30am back home. Tom is out on a taco tour. Both kids are in bed. I’ve finished my book (The Tattooist of Auschwitz – it was fabulous, definitely recommend) so I thought why not start a blog about our trip, then I can finish it off when I get home.

In the spirit of keeping things snappy and helpful, I thought I’d use headings so you can scroll through to the bits you are interested in, rather than just ramble on about what we have been up to and what a great time we have had but let me know what you think. Is there anything else you would like me to cover?

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Waiting in line for the Frida Kahlo museum

Why Mexico City?

This summer, whilst we were on holiday in France, I got an email from Jack’s Flight Club, headed *price drop* Mexico City in £300/£400s return from all over UK in Oct – March (British Airways).  It went on to say “we thought these were low when they dropped for a few days last month, but they’ve now hit rock bottom! Mexico City flights are hard to come by, usually hovering at around the £700 mark for most of the year – so these are exceptional value”.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for a bargain. I was in the holiday mood. I had some time on my hands for once because we were on holiday and I had fond memories of Mexico City.

Tom and I spent two weeks travelling around Mexico in 2012 (pre children) and really loved it. I recalled all the parks and museums in Mexico City, which made it seem like a great place to bring kids.  I checked the weather for February half term, it looked great. I looked on airbnb and quickly found somewhere that looked perfect. My mind was made up, I’m pretty spontaneous like that. My husband, however, does not like to make quick decisions, quite the opposite, BUT luckily for me he does like to travel to interesting places, he loves a bargain and I can be quite persuasive.

We booked that night 😄

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Enjoying the art in Chapultepec whilst walking to Museo Nacional de Antropologia

Where did we stay?

We stayed at this airbnb in Condesa . It was fantastic. The light that came in at around 9am every morning was just incredible.  It was really spacious, comfortable and had everything we needed and more. I mean who really needs  a roof garden?! It also felt very safe, with a doorman on duty and the owners living nearby.

To be honest, it was finding the airbnb that swung it for me. It seemed ideal for us and thankfully it turned out that it was.

When travelling with the kids I generally prefer an apartment to a hotel. We can never stretch to having a suite or adjoining rooms, so staying in a hotel generally means going to bed at 7pm with the children. Not that much fun, especially when you have to be quiet and keep the lights off!

This place had two bedrooms plus a comfortable living space meaning that we could put the kids to bed and stay up eating, chatting, reading or watching tv and then go to bed at our leisure. I had originally thought we would have the baby in with us but we put her in with her brother and they were fine.

The suggestion that all baby equipment would be available so we could travel light, was also a huge draw. They offered “travel crib, high chair, foam floor, car seat, stroller, etc.” all of which we used. The etc included bikes and scooters! They also said that they could provide a babysitter and although we didn’t use this service it was nice to know that it was an option. 

We also loved the fact that there was a fully equipped kitchen and washing machine. When travelling with young children, I find this super helpful. You never know when the baby is going to vomit on the last clean babygrow and in our house the first words that come out of my son’s mouth when he wakes up are “can we have breakfast now please”. (I am being generous here, he doesn’t always say “please”). It’s nice to eat out when you are away, not least to avoid the clearing up, but it’s also nice not to have to. We ate breakfast at home every day (cereal, pancakes, avocado on toast) and the kids also had their tea at home most days (pasta, salmon, more pasta). There was a supermarket three minutes walk away and it stocked everything we could have asked for. Our baby is pretty adventurous with eating but our son is going through a fussy stage so after a lunch out where he didn’t eat much it was nice to come home and know that he would have a proper meal.

Our hosts could not have been more accommodating. They even did some shopping for us before we arrived so that it was all in the fridge when we got here. They set up a What’s App group a week before we arrived and always answered any questions within an hour. They provided us with a super helpful list of recommended places to eat locally and things to do. They even offered to send in a cleaner mid way through our stay and to change the linen. We graciously accepted, of course!

There really weren’t any downsides to this apartment. The beds were super comfortable. The showers were powerful. It was clean and well equipped. I would highly recommend it.

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The “Rocket” in action

What did we do?

As Tom and I had been before and we had the kids with us this time, we took it fairly easy. We aimed to do one activity per day plus a meal out, which worked really well.

Sunday – We explored the Condesa area. Every Sunday morning a circuit of main roads from Condesa (where we were staying) to Zocalo are closed for cars so that locals can cycle, scoot and skate at leisure. The owners of our airbnb lent us bikes and scooters, including “The Rocket” which was a very cool bike with a cart at the front for the kids and we had a great time joining in with the locals.

Monday – We had a day of parks. Mexico City Park in the morning, which had a great playground, followed by lunch at a smart traditional restaurant and then Chapultepec in the afternoon. Chapultepec is one of the largest city parks in the Western Hemisphere so we only scratched the surface.

Tuesday –  We had a wander through Chapultepec, went to the National Museum of Anthropology, where there was lots of space for running around and huge water features and cacti to see, amongst the more adult focused exhibits, then we went to Polanco for a posh lunch and finished the day in a very well equipped playground in Lincoln Park.

Wednesday – This was my sick day, after a bout what I assume was food poisoning,  so I’m not entirely sure what the others got up to but I mainly migrated between the sofa and my bed feeling sorry for myself. I do know that they had some delicious sounding shrimp tacos that I was sad to miss out on though.

Thursday – Tom and I were both really keen to explore Coyoacan and go to the Museo Frida Khalo as we hadn’t been last time. We had a nice wander round the area,  a good lunch and all really enjoyed the museum.

Friday – We went to the Papalote Museo Del Nino  and it was fabulous. So much to do, both indoors and outdoors. You could easily fill a whole day there.

Saturday – I booked a family art workshop through airbnb for the morning. It was only £8 and was in an area we hadn’t explored yet so I thought, why not? It was a great way to spend our last morning. There was loads for both kids to do and we had a nice walk back, stopping in Mexico City Park where there was trampoline and playground fun to be had.

How did the kids get on?

It is a long flight, around 11 hours but they both coped really well. We had an afternoon flight on the way there and none of us slept, which didn’t seem ideal at the time but I think it really helped with the jet lag. We didn’t hear a peep from our 4 year old who spent most of the time watching movies and the baby was mainly happy, with a few tears here and there.

The flight home, however, was not looking promising. We set off at 9pm with the baby wide awake and the 4 year old suddenly vomiting as we started taxi-ing. Not ideal when you aren’t allowed to take off your seatbelt or move for the next 20 minutes!! I was expecting a very miserable few hours but magically, after the very rocky start, they both slept for pretty much the whole flight 🎉.

Mexico is 6 hours ahead, so jet lag was a factor but I was amazed at how well they adapted. I think it helps that you are all in the same position so it’s not as painful to be up in the middle of the night or early morning as it would be back home. By the third night everyone was pretty well adjusted.

The baby had a great holiday, she loved being out and about, seeing all the different sights. It did take us a couple of days to work out how to avoid constant complaining from the 4 year old (sigh) but we cracked it by day three. It will comes as no surprise that the answer was a combination of distraction and bribes. The secret seemed to be:

  • no screen time at all until the end of the day, using it as a treat provided he was well behaved;
  • have snacks and small toys available at all times;
  • limit walking to 15 minutes max before stopping for a break; and
  • get him involved in planning the day’s activities.

There’s loads for kids to enjoy in Mexico City. I think the key it just not to cram too much in.

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I loved this colourful courtyard cafe in Roma

What were the best bits?

The weather was glorious. I don’t know if we were just lucky but every day the sky was clear and blue and the temperature was in the mid to late 20’s. There’s plenty of shade to be found in Mexico City and it was great just to wander round take it all in.

We went to some great museums and I’m not a big museum person. The Frida Khalo is a must do and if you go with young children, I would really recommend the Papalote Museo del Niño.

Having a great apartment where we could all just hang out together was also a highlight and made for a much more relaxed holiday than it might have been if we were staying somewhere less comfortable and spacious.

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Some elderly Mexican guys sitting near us at lunch offered the lollipop. How could I say no?!

What were the worst bits?

Getting food poising was a definite low. (I’m pretty sure it was from some lettuce in a posh restaurant). Thankfully I was the only one to have a problem and I was completely over it within 24 hours. Be careful though people. Avoid salad, don’t drink tap water or have ice in your drinks etc etc.

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Tri-color tortillas made by hand

How much did it cost?

Flights for 2 adults, 1 child, 1 infant  £1,784.00  (not quite as cheap as Jack suggested but it was half term and it was BA)

Airbnb for 7 nights, including late check out and airport transfers with carseats £950

Spending money  £300. The cost of living is very low in Mexico compared to London, which was great. For example, an Uber taking around half an hour or a simple meal of tacos and a drink cost around £2.50. Our spending can roughly be broken down as follows:

  • Museums/Activities – £60
  • Supermarket shopping – £70
  • Eating out – £150
  • Ubers – £20

 

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So there you have it, a little run down of our trip. I hope that was helpful if you are considering going or at least mildly interesting if you aren’t. It’s always nice to have a quick nose at other people’s trips, I think.

If you have any questions either comment below or DM me on insta and I’ll get back to you. I’d love to hear if you are thinking of going or whether you enjoyed it if you have been before.

About Nikki

Is there anything more angst inducing than writing an "about me" page?! It's like that awkward icebreaker where you have to go round the table and introduce yourself, when all you have to say is "Hi, I'm Nikki, I like chocolate and I used to deliver the milk" but for some reason you break out in a sweat that doesn't subside until you've had your turn. So here goes ... I'm originally from York and now live in Walthamstow, East London with my husband, two kids and two cats. We bought our house in 2015 (after far too many years of lining other people's pockets renting in London) and did a full on renovation. It was pretty stressful and very nearly bankrupted up but we now have a wonderful family home that we all love. This E17 Life started on 1 January 2017 as an instagram account, called E17 Renovations. It was the day that we started renovating the ground floor and I wanted somewhere to keep a record to show the kids when they were older. Who knew that there was such an interiors loving community out there on insta? Not me! By the time the renovation was complete, I had fully embraced Instagram, especially stories and it had become a little peek into my world. My plan is for this blog to be an extension of that. An online scrapbook of things I've been up to, things that I love and things that I care about. Will that do? What else do you want to know?

1 comment on “MEXICO CITY WITH KIDS

  1. Jackie Edwards

    Great to read about the holiday – it sounds like it worked really well for you all! xx

    Like

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