The Travel Tales

New York City Day 1

Kickstarting my NYC entries and hopefully i don’t leave it halfway like my Tokyo posts yang sampai sekarang belum lagi sampai kesudahannya.


Luggage macam nak tinggal sana sebulan. Ni semua Nadya lah ni.

Some of our closest friends sent us off. Or rather i think dorang nak send Nadya off, takut rindu. Hahaha

So we flew by Emirates on 14 October 2016 at 9.50pm. Tak sia-sia we fly with Emirates cos the inflight food is so sedap. Hahaha.

We transit in Dubai Airport after a 7hrs flight. Our 2hrs transit felt so short cos tu Dubai Airport besar gila ke apa. We took more than an hour in total to get off the SIN-DXB flight, walk to the gate, get our baggages checked and then go in for our DXB-JFK flight and tu tempat kecoh macam Bus Interchange Larkin seh. The moment we stepped off the plane, there were so many people at the transfer hall including some of the Airport’s staff shouting “Mumbai.. Bahrain..Milan..New York

Sama macam kat Larkin kau dengar orang2 pekik “Skudai…skudai..Kota Tinggi..Melaka“. Eh samalah. Dah lah land sana pagi buta..then dengar ni semua and u gotta wait for them to usher u to the gates and all. -____-

And then we took the next flight to JFK, 14hrs in total. Dare i say it was  uneventful? Lol. Nadya & me pretty much slept throughout the flight! Waking up just for meals.


We arrived New York at about 9am in the morning. Luckily we got out of the plane fast cos when kita pandang belakang while queueing up at the immigration counters, mak ai punyalah ramai umat2. Waited about 15mins at the immigration lines.. It was pretty smooth since we did our ESTA online prior to arriving but after that, they took Rusly away for further questioning which was kinda expected lah cos i saw few “muslim looking” people taken away as well. So me & Nadya waited near the conveyor belt for our luggage tapi terlupa cos i was babywearing Nadya and she refused to sit in her stroller, terpaksa aku tengok luggage aku merry go round kat belt tu. They released Rusly after 20mins and i asked him what happened in there and he told me they only asked basic questions and kept repeating the questions like “Why is he in NYC” “who is he with” etc.

We head over to the taxi stand where there were plenty Yellow cabs on standby. Anyway JFK airport is quite small so it’s really manageable. Just note that the luggage carts are chargeable at US$6.00 so we just pushed our luggage around on our own cos really tak kuasa nak pay for something so trivial like that. Maybe dah lemak ah kat Changi Airport and all the other airports we’ve been to tak payah bayar for that benda alah.

Yellow cabs from / to JFK Airport to anywhere in Manhattan is a flat rate of US$60.00. You can pay by Cash or Credit Card. Do set aside some tips for them as well because they kinda expect u to tip them. In fact, anywhere in NYC, restaurants especially, the staff would appreciate tips. I usually tip 10% of the amount we’re paying. If you’re paying by CC, you can indicate the tip you wanna pay.

The journey from JFK Airport to Manhattan took us less than 1 hour cos the traffic was really smooth. It was afterall past peak hours.

Upon clearing immigration, i WA my Airbnb host to inform him we’re on the way and oh yes before i forget, i got a WIFI Router from WifiBaby. It’s $12.00 per day and i paid $171.00 in total for 11 days of use, power bank & courier delivery. If you work in the CBD area, you can just pick up at Collyer Quay. I chose them over Changi Recommends because theirs is limited to 500mb per day even though it’s also priced at $12.00. It’s more convenient to pick up from Airport but i rather pay more for Unlimited connections cos previously i used up more than 500mb during my Bandung trip with all the Snapchatting i did. hahahaha.

So anyway, the driver managed to find the apartment and we met Nikolay, our Airbnb Host. A tinggi-gila Russian guy working in NYC. He brought us up the apartment, showed us around the place and left. It was a pleasant experience cos he did not bother us even though he’s staying in the apartment next door but it was easy to reach him when we need to.

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Clean apartment and spacious! Love the space cos Nadya can lari2 the whole house. Lol
Ok, a bit of drama with our AirBNB booking. Remember my last post on the ideal apartment we managed to score? That host cancelled our reservations 7 days before our arrival. Grrrrrrr. So geram seh. We had to quickly find another apartment and luckily this was available. I only had to top up $200+ but AirBNB gave us $120 credit for the cancellation so ok lah!

2016-10-15-14-05-252016-10-15-14-04-56We washed up and then went around the neighbourhood to familiarise ourselves with the train station / grocery store etc and found a Halal Fast food place, Kennedy Fried Chicken. I think we ate there 3 times cos the ayam goreng reminds us of our local Do & Me. Hahahaha.

2016-10-15-14-26-302016-10-15-15-18-06We tried their Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. So nice!
Huge portion but reasonable price. Win!

We got back to the apartment after buying groceries and slept from 4.00pm to 5.00am. Penat gila beb. But i’ve already planned it that way right from the start. Especially because with nadya, we really need to make sure she’s well rested and adjust her to the new timing. So if you’re travelling with kids, don’t be over-ambitious and try to squeeze in an activity on the 1st day. Just rest and get the jetlag done & over with 1st.

The Travel Tales

Surviving a long flight with a baby / toddler

Probably the most requested post the moment i came back & started posting throwback pictures from our NYC trip.

“How do you survive that long flight with Nadya?” 

Before the trip itself, i kinda prepared myself for the long flight. Kept thinking about how we can handle the flight with Nadya around but i always feel that preparation is key especially with a toddler around. You plan nicely and chances are things will go at least 80% right.

Our Carry-on Baggage:

We brought a cabin luggage for all our stuff to be used on board & during transit. This cabin luggage also stored most of the fragile items like urmm makeup. Lol. and also most of her packet milk / drinks & snacks etc. Nadya don’t drink other UHT milk brands except for Marigold. She’s ok with other brands of Fresh Milk but a bit particular with her UHT milk so we brought extras for the trip itself.

*Nadya is on Fresh milk feed. If your toddler is on Formula Milk Feed, i would recommend pre-boiling some waters and storing it in mineral water bottles and just bring it up with you in the cabin luggage. You can always get the Flight Attendants to refill hot water for you during the flight. As long as you have a baby/toddlers, you can bring water along with you. Don’t worry about it being tossed away during baggage checks.

We also brought along a backpack with us. I use a Jujube Be Right Back to put in half of the things we’ll need on board and also cos it’s easier to reach compared to a cabin luggage itself. Obviously the backpack can’t fit everything we need for that 23.5hrs so we replenish the stock from the Cabin Luggage either during transit or in the middle of the flight. But the idea is to have the backpack under our seat after takeoff so everything is within reach because, well if you have toddlers, you’ll know why! Haha.

Here’s a simple packing list of what we brought with us in the flight.

travel-packing-list

Seating Arrangement:
Just before takeoff, i use the Tula to babywear Nadya from the boarding gate and because priority is given to Families with kids, we’ll head over and settle down first before the crowd starts coming in. We did not buy Nadya any seat since she’s below 2 yrs old and we can get away with it. Firstly, the flight bassinet will no longer be suitable for your toddlers. It worked well for her on our Japan trip. She was only 13mths old then. At 21mths old & at 85cm, she’s too tall for the bassinet so don’t bother with it.

We did however choose the Bulkhead Seats which comes with more leg space. These seats run out pretty quickly so book yours asap. The extra leg space comes in handy cos Nadya can still stand and walk around that area. We didn’t have to walk all up & down the aisle throughout the journey. We just let her stand around our seat area.

For all our flights, we somehow managed to get 1 extra seat next to us. The flight from Dubai – JFK, all the seats next to us were full but one of the FA was nice enough to ask our neighbour if he’s ok with switching to another aisle seat so that Nadya can have her own seat and he gladly did. So so thankful for that.

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If you choose the bulkhead seat in the middle section of the plane (4 seats in a row), the armrest can be pulled up for extra space so u can make a makeshift bed. This only applies to the 2 seats in the middle. So be sure to choose that! It was so comfortable for her that she slept a full 6hrs like that. We took the airline blanket to cover the seat, 2 of the airline pillows and just let her sleep. That is also when you should start sleeping as well. Forget inflight entertainment. Go get that sleep.

Getting them comfortable: 
Take-off & Landing can be quite a horror with kids especially with the change of air pressure, resulting in ear pains. But you can prevent that by getting them to drink something during take-off & landing. Timing is crucial here cos you don’t want them to finish drinking before the plane is landing. I usually take a packet drink/milk bottle and place it at the magazine slot where they put all the aircraft menu etc. Only give the drink to them when u hear the Pilot telling the FA to standby for take-off & landing. That way, they’ll be drinking at the right time. If you’re breastfeeding, same thing. Just let them latch. If they are not keen to drink and if they use the pacifier, then let them suck on the pacifier, works the same.

Wear light clothes during the flight. Long sleeved tshirt & leggings or even pyjamas. Bring a jacket as well in case it gets too cold. Work with layers instead of letting them wear a sweater top with jeans cos it restricts their movement. I let Nadya wear her sneakers (use velcro strap ones instead of shoelaces one) so that it’s easier to remove & wear when they need to move around eg head to the toilet.

Keeping them occupied: 
A mother’s woes. How to make sure they keep still?
If you know Nadya personally, you’ll know she cannot keep still. She’s got ants in her pants. Always moving around. Always babbling. So that was one of my worries. How do i get her to sit still? During take-off, i gave her Milo cos it seems like Milo makes her sleepy. Lol. With Milo & her in the carrier, she’ll fall asleep within minutes without me trying. Being in the carrier is her weakness so that helps. After the seatbelt sign is off, i’ll prepare the sleeping area, remove the seatbealts, transfer her to the sleeping area. This is really up to your child cos i know how Nadya is like and how long it’ll take for her to to go Stage 3 during sleep. Transferring her to cots etc has always been pretty easy cos she sleeps like her father. Haha.

When Nadya is awake, i’ll give snacks to her and then we’ll start with an activity. We did a lot of colourings in this flight.

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I prepared some coloured crayons / washable markers, a small notebook and a few A5 Sized Papers for her to doodle on. Make sure bring max A5 size books / papers cos you don’t have space for anything bigger than that. Give them one colours at a time so they’ll get excited again & again. Once they’re bored of the activity, introduce another activity. Say, reading a book / sticker books / toys but the trick is to always introduce one at a time and when u’re introducing the new toy, make sure you keep the old one 1st. We did let her play with the iPad during the flight so if you’re comfortable with that, you can do that too. Load up all your child’s favourite video in the ipad before your flight.

But she was sleeping half the time so it was not as hard as we expected. She only cried once in the flight. From JFK – Dubai and that’s because we didn’t allow her to walk along the aisle. She wanted to say hello to another kid at the seat behind. Lol.It also helps if your neighbours love children. Sometimes Nadya will play peek-a-boo with them so she’s happy most of the time.

Meal Times: 
We flew by Emirates and their Infant meals are limited to Jar Purees. I know Singapore Airlines have weaning meals for toddlers. So do check with your Airline before you fly. I called up Emirates office prior to flying to ask abt their infant meals and found out abt the purees. Nadya is not fussy with food so we end up giving her Adult meals cos there’s no way she’ll eat the purees. But if you have a fussy eater, you might want to prepare their meals before you fly and then ask the FA for help to store / reheat them for you.

Changing Diapers:
Aaahhh.. this one cannot escape with long flights. During our Japan trip, we took a red-eye flight and changed her diapers just before we board and then change her diapers again when we land cos it was only a 6hrs flight and i know Nadya don’t poo at night. But with a long flight, anything above 6hrs, changing diapers on board is inevitable. With a 23.5hrs flight, i know there would be at least 1 poo session.

First find out which toilet has a changing table. They usually have that changing table sign on it. Else, just ask the FA where’s the nearest one. I put in all Nadya’s essentials for diaper change in a small pouch / wristlet. I use the Jujube Quick to store the following:

  • Pull-up diapers
  • Wet wipes stored in Butipod.
  • Minyak Telon
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Diaper cream

I would totally recommend pull-up diapers instead of tape diapers during travelling because diaper changing can be quite a hassle in the plane cos the toilet is really small. Even while travelling, its hard to find a proper diaper changing room or a clean one at least. So with pull up diapers, you don’t need to have a space for your child to lie down.

For wet wipes, i’m used to separating my wet wipes into 2 separate Butipods cos they don’t take up as much space as a huge pack of wet wipes. Be sure to put soiled diapers in ziploc bags 1st before disposing them in the rubbish bin. Let’s be civilised people ok cos the rubbish bin in the aircraft toilet is not sealed.

What if your child gets too noisy?:
You can try walking up & down the aisle and don’t look at your neighbours cos then u’ll panic and get so embarassed, you won’t know what to do next. Just focus on fulfilling your child’s needs 1st and when everything is ok, just smile and if they happen to look your way, say sorry.

Don’t feel like u’re causing a nuisance because just like them, u’re a paying passenger and with a child, it’s expected. As long as u attempt to do something about it. This is not the time for you to let your child “cry it out”.

I also feel that your child will replicate your mood. If you keep calm and happy during the flight, even when she’s being difficult, she’ll cooperate and listen.

If you’re travelling alone with your child, don’t be scared to ask for help from the FA. They’ll usually be glad to help if u need to use the toilet etc. Just avoid busy period like meal times etc.

I hope this entry will somehow help with managing your child during long flights. I worried too much about the flight but it turned out to be easy. Managing the jetlag was harder but that’s another entry for another day! Lol

❤️

The Travel Tales

SG-Bound

We’re back from New York. Both me & Nadya masih suffering from jetlag and i’ve read that West-East jetlag is harder to kick than East-West jetlag. 

I don’t know. We’ll see. Nadya took 3 days to recover from the jetlag when we were in NYC. I just hope she’ll take no more than 4days to go back to her sleeping pattern. 

We both slept at 5.00am yesterday and woke up at 7.00pm. Right now it’s 6.00am and we’re both still very much awake. Die. 

So anyway, i’ll try and write up abt NYC as soon as i can since there were a few who asked me abt travelling long-haul with toddlers lah, getting around NYC & Halal food etc. 

We survived the long flight. It was surprisingly painless. I worried too much for nothing. I should have prepared myself for our jetlag instead actually 😂

But i had a good time in New York! It was a great 5th year Anniversary & Pre-birthday trip! ❤️

Motherhood, The Travel Tales

Long Flight Ahead! 

In preparation for our long flight to New York, i’ve made plans to make that 23.5hr journey bearable for us all 3. I know we’ve got to expect meltdowns cos even adults can’t handle long flights seh. Apa lagi toddlers. 

Babywearing

I plan to babywear Nadya most of the time in the plane. Will probably put her in the bassinet only when she’s asleep or during playtime. 

We survived a 6hrs bus ride with babywearing and if we can do it again, even for 6hrs pun aku bersyukur sangat2 seh. Lol

Essential Oils:

I love using essential oils on Nadya so will definitely resort to oiling her. And me. Hahahaha. Lavender EO for sleeping time. Peace & Calming EO for obvious reasons. 

Will also be bringing other EOs like Lemon, Peppermint, Thieves etc since weather will be quite cooling. 

Activities:

Super excited about this because i bought few stuff for Nadya and i’ve been keeping it aside for the trip cos i want her to be excited cos new things mahh. So hopefully it’ll make her spend more time on it! 


Especially love this Smiggle Casing! It’s so cute with all the cartoon characters and i can already picture Nadya poking the characters and saying “tatik…tatik.” Hahaha.

I’ve filled it up with blank papers, a small notebook and gel crayons so she can do her conteng-conteng. 


Activity Book! Mad expensive but there’s so many things to do and really nice stickers. Nadya loves peeling out stickers and pasting it everywhere. Suspect she’ll paste it all over the plane seat. Lol

I also bought her some new books and small activity toys to play onboard to help keep her occupied.

Videos

This is my last resort. I usually don’t allow Nadya to hold any gadgets on her own. I do allow screen time but most of it strictly through the TV where i still have control over it. When we go out, she only get to watch in the car through the car dvd player. 

I have a spare iphone and i have downloaded all Barney shows on it. This will be the very very last resort and i hope i’ll still get to control it as in i’ll be the one holding it for her or u know i’ll use a monopod or something but i hope this will be the last resort in case she gets really really cranky. But let’s hope she behaves most of the time! 

Cos i really don’t want her to develop the habit of wanting to hold a phone all the time and doing this might just trigger that. Sighhh. 

Let me know if u have any suggestions to keep a toddler occupied during flights! 

The Travel Tales, Uncategorized

New York Planning II

Two more weeks before we head over to my dream city!
Had a stroke of luck yesterday in the wee hours! A friend initially recommended the Airbnb apartment she stayed in when she was there previously. She loved the apartment cos it was further up from city area but 10mins away by Express train to Times Square. Just 3 stops away je. And the subway station is right across the apartment. Best thing is the affordable price of course.

I love the apartment but unfortunately it was snapped up just as i was communicating with the host. Not our rezeki i feel so i looked around for other apartments. So many swanky apartments tapi seriously mengarut cos most of the them are walk-up apartments. As in takde elevator seh. I don’t mean to sound spoilt but there’s no way i’m gonna climb up to 4th or 5th floor with luggage, stroller & a toddler. It was so hard to find an apartment with an elevator. Those with elevator are usually ones with the doormen kind and go for at least $350 per night which is more or less the same as hotels so macam tak masuk akal. Ada satu apartment i like, tapi takde TV. Apa maksud tu. Nak suruh aku buat anak ke? Lol.

The ones that fit my requirements & budget pulak do not allow kids below 12 due to noise etc. Sighhh. So i booked Row NYC but still halfhearted so i booked and chose the option to pay to the Hotel directly just in case i change my mind. It came up to S$2600 for our 7 nights stay which was slightly above my budget cos i only wanted to pay max $2500 for accommodation. But i was halfhearted cos it’s very near Times Square and noise could be a problem for Nadya. I think it’s already hard enough to get her to adjust to the new timing etc abih kalau too noisy for her, i think she also frustrated.

Then on Monday, i emailed them to ask for late check-out and pro-rated hours cos our flight back is at 23:00hrs and i don’t want us to be stranded with our luggage, i also teringat to confirm if they have a fridge in their rooms. Turns out they don’t! Selamat i asked lah cos if not, where am i gonna store fresh milk for Nadya’s consumption kan.

It was then i browsed Airbnb again to see if i can find something this time round and guess what?? The apartment my friend recommended is available. I contacted the host to confirm it’s available and booked it right away! I asked him how come it’s available and he said he just had a cancellation for that date 1 hr before i msg-ed him. That’s really our rezeki lah cos guess what, the total cost of the apartment is only $1160!! I saved $1440 gaissse. That’s shopping money! Weeeee.

ab

It is a simple apartment. No frills but it fits all my requirement.

  • In a quiet but safe building.
  • Near to Subway stations.
  • With elevator.
  • Refrigerator
  • Washer & Dryer available so we don’t have to bring too many clothes.

Most importantly, it has to be clean and based on the 100+ reviews, the place is neat & clean and everybody loved the close proximity to the subway station cos it’s just 10mins away to Times Square. Yayyy.

So glad our accommodation issues worked out in the end.
We’ve applied for the ESTA, settled our travel insurance as well.

I’ve also booked Dubai International Hotel for our 7hrs transit at Dubai Airport because after 14hrs of flight, baring kat lantai dengan toddler for 7hrs tak kelakar seh. We only book for 4hrs though after reading Farhana’s entry on it, i emailed them and ask for a pro-rated rate and they’re charging $220 for it but to be honest, i don’t care lah janji that 4hrs tu kita dapat tido atas katil. The remaining 3hrs, kita can makan Shake Shack and jalan2 around the airport before we take the next flight out!

I have to go book our Mobile WIFI next and then do up the itinerary. Can u believe i have not done up the itinerary yet! lol. We’ve also decided not to get the New York Pass since Farhana said macam tak worth it sangat. Kita pun not really keen in going in and out every museum etc cos i’m not exactly a museum person and i don’t want to feel like i have to go to certain places just because i’ve paid for it anyway. Maybe next entry i’ll list down the places that i really want to go for this trip cos this entry is getting too lengthy! ❤

The Travel Tales

New York Planning I

After getting the tickets and getting a little excited (and even starting to plan what to wear there semua), i stopped planning the New York trip last week cos i was so busy. But this week i’m back to thinking about the trip and i don’t even know where to start. Lol.

Itinerary
I gotta start doing a rough draft based on the number of days we have and the proximity of the places etc. I want to do a rough itinerary 1st before deciding on the New York Pass cos i’m not sure how many days we’ll need to cover the main attractions i wanna see.

Anyway, the New York pass also no hurry sangat cos it’s available all the time. I probably will wait for one of their Holidays cos sure got some promo. They had a Mother’s Day Promo the other time and i’m sure they’ll have another one soon.

Accommodation
Still undecided on Hotels or AirBnb although as usual i’m more inclined towards the latter cos of space issues. To be honest the prices between Hotels & Airbnbs in New York, not much difference cos Airbnb rates are pretty much at the $300+ range. But space wise, a LOT of difference. New York Hotels are really tiny. While i know we can’t afford to have a baby cot in it, we’re hoping for at least a King Bed or a couch in the room. Cos during our trip to Japan, Rusly preferred sleeping on the sofa bed instead cos really korang, Nadya takes up a lot of bed space. I’m not kidding. Then we have two massive luggages and a hand-carry and a stroller. I doubt we’ll have space to move around. Cos even the small studio apartment we had in Japan pun cukup makan. The New York hotels look even tinier! Lol

We kinda set a budget of max S$350 per night for accommodation and i think that’s a decent amount lah. We can get Row NYC with that budget definitely and if we ever decide on hotels, i think Row NYC would be our 1st choice due to it’s price and location.

Location pun satu masalah actually. I really want to be in Times Square cos u know, it’s convenient. (Sephora at my doorstep kind of convenient. Hahaha) but i’m scared of the noise. Not for me & Rusly cos kita memang jenis kebencian mak-mak seluruh dunia. Tido mati, nak bangun pagi pun susah. But Nadya, garbage truck kat bawah rumah kalau pass by, even with windows closed, she will wake up. Or bunyi orang tutup pintu van. So that could pose a problem. I don’t want to handle jet-lag and a baby who can’t sleep at night.

So i’m considering Upper East Side as well which is nearer to Central Park. Also aku leh feeling Gossip Girl cos they’re Upper East Siders. Hahahaha. Although kalau aku berangan nak tinggal macam Penthouse Blair Waldorf or the Palace Hotel, aku anak beranak mengemis tepi jalan after 3 days in NYC. Pretty obvious i’m a GG fan, eh? I’m obsessed over the show. I’m even rewatching it now. You think i can meet Chuck Bass there? Lol

Manhattan-Map

I found this visual Manhattan Map online and thought it’s genius! Great for us to visualise which area to consider staying at and also help us plan our sight-seeing trips better although to be honest i think all the attractions are very close to each other.

So hopefully by the next update, i would have booked the accommodation already and decide on where to go etc!

xoxo
(masih tau nak gossip girl reference. hahahaha)