Age of children for this trip
Joshua 3yrs 2mths, Samuel 1yr 10mths, Esther 6.5 months Time of year Start of June
Travel Destination: Tuscany
Well a few weeks ago I got baited by Ryanair big time. They emailed to say they were offering 20% off flights for travel within June. Twenty minutes later and I had booked flights for five to Pisa. Before I clicked buy i had a quick check that accommodation in the region was reasonable and that car hire wasn’t through the roof.
I like to spend hours and hours and hours pouring over airbnb, booking.com and Tripadvisor searching for accomodation. Long gone are the days where we can realistically stay in a hotel room. The last time we slept four to a room was in New York which was fine but not ideal. I find that Tripadvisor is no longer that useful as the range of apartments on their site is limited and barely reviewed. booking.com is great and airbnb is quite good but still has it’s limitations.
After much deliberation and reading of trip advisor forum threads, I eventually decided to stay up in the mountains in a two bedroom apartment by a town called Lucca. Lucca is around 30 minutes drive from Pisa and 40 minutes drive from the airport. The centre of the town is enclosed by large walls which make the centre predominantly pedestrianised. You can walk along the tops of the walls or hire bikes and there are several children’s playgrounds on the walk round. Lucca is a good option for us as our one year old would like to walk more now and we thought he could do so safely here.
I found the best priced company through travelsupermarket and then checked to see how much it would cost if i booked it directly. This time it was cheaper to book directly with Autoclick. They offered unlimited mileage, standard insurance with full to full petrol and two drivers, all for £72 for the week. We didn’t take their excess insurance which is very expensive but instead bought our own gap insurance from this company… for £13
We flew from Leeds Bradford Airport which is a mere twenty minutes drive from our house. Once upon a time we would have parked on the roadside in a residential area and walked half a mile to the airport. Now we stump up the £45f or the week to park with Sentinal. Sentinal are a couple of minutes on a shuttle bus from the airport. They have very frequent services. Make sure you book well in advance as they have been known to completely sell out of parking space.
We had a brilliant time. And we did loads of stuff, travelling around in our Nissan Juke which we all squeezed in to. We take our own car seats with us which I will write a separate review on. The most important thing to mention is that this was the first time we had seated all our children on the same row. It was brilliant fun, listening to what felt like hours and hours of our two sons playing the ‘poke my eye’ and ‘bite my finger’ games. Joking aside, the juke was absolutely fine for space once we had taken all our luggage out. (We take our holiday pushchairs with us, a double Maclaren and a Quinny buzz. We also had two cabin cases, a handbag and a rucksack to fit in the car.) The man at the car hire company (jokes) yet with a serious face, did you know the Juke has an extra storage space here? and then proceeds to show us the compartment where the tyre would go, if they had actually put a real tyre in there in stead of a little sewing kit.
The apartment, when we arrived, was a two bedroom affair with a kitchen/living area and large bathroom. The best part for us were the black blinds which meant the boys generally slept for 12 hours. The apartment also had two cots which had been placed in the rooms beforehand. The apartment had aircon but was generally cool enough so we didn’t bother using.