Russia for the World Cup 2018

world cup

My Toddler takes on Russia on the World Cup

As a family of some crazy football fanatics, this summer Tessy a team member of Kensington Mums decided to take on an adventure and go to the World Cup with her toddler. She shares with us her adventure with a toddler in tow.

Over to Tessy…

This summer I decided to take on an adventure and go to the World Cup with my toddler. Before you think that I’m crazy, I need to say that my husband’s job required him to be in the Russia for the whole duration of the World Cup. So it was either to be a single mom with a toddler for a whole month, or take advantage of the opportunity and be adventurous. I opted for the second option.

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Traveling with a toddler within Heathrow Airport is quite simple, the airport staff are very friendly and accommodate parents of young children on the fastest lines for security. Once we pass security, my kid loves to go to the Soft Play, I think its a great idea that gets him engaged into the idea of traveling. He gets really excited when I tell him we are going to the airport because he gets one hour on the soft play. This works perfect for me, because once the airplane takes off, my toddler is exhausted and pass out for 2 hours.

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I’m guessing you guys already know pretty well all the travel hacks there are in Heathrow, and if not, please send us a comment and we will make sure to write about it. So enough with airport  travel, lets talk about Russia. I found Russia to be surprisingly beautiful, it is as majestic as Paris and as dynamic as London.

Getting from the airport to the heart of Moscow was a bit tricky. Russia upped their security because of the World Cup, so you have to go through security to go in and out of the airport. Once out of the airport you have two choices to get to the city, either taxi or uber, or the train. Moscow being a big city suffers of crazy traffic, it can take you more or less 2 hours to get from the airport to the city on a taxi. This to me means CAR SICKNESS! so I choose to go on the train. My kid was so exhausted from the air travel that when we got to the train he couldn’t stop crying and telling me he wanted to walk, to be on the street, he really didn’t want to be on another transport.

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When we finally got to our hotel Marriott Novi Arbat, all the fun began. Just as a side note, I was terrified of the idea of this experience with my kid, in my mind the World Cup is for football fans that are drunk on the streets shouting all day. However this was not the case, when we got to our hotel it was completely branded with the World Cup, it was transformed into a Disney like experience. The entrance of the hotel was an arch of footballs, once up the stairs there was Zavivaka (the World Cup mascot) greeting everyone, an ice cream stand that was giving out ice cream and popsicles  throughout the day.

As for Toddler Friendly experience, Moscow has various parks for them to play around. All the restaurant were Kid Friendly, meaning they provided a high chair and kids activities for our toddler to be entertained before our food arrived. Russians were thrilled to play and engage with our son, he was getting gifts from all the waiters in all the restaurants in exchange of a smile and a high five. They even offer a kid friendly Ballet experience which we definitely tried (we only lasted an hour though).

To engage my son into the World Cup fever, all the bars and restaurants were open to receive kids, so most of the games that were taken place we watched in various restaurants. This also gave us the opportunity to introduce our son to new foods and flavors he wasn’t used to. I also decided to be more adventurous took him to the Fan Fest to see the Mexico vs. Brazil game (I’m Mexican so I didn’t want to miss out on this) and he was thrilled. There was music, food, and games. The crowd was very respectful of space and Russians were very attentive to security measures this meant that we had a lot of fun at the same time we felt very secure.

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So if you are ever traveling solo with your kid here are my top five tips to plan around:

1- Plan your flight more or less around nap or sleep time. This will make your life easier on the plane.

2- Always arrive to the airport with time, so that your toddler can explore the airport and walk around.

3- Carry snacks and activities for the plane, our favorites are: pretzel sticks, apples, yogurt and bananas. Stickers, drawing, play dough and as a last resort Paw Patrol.

4- Do some research of where the nearest parks are in the new city you are visiting and try to find a hotel near by. With this you can give your toddler some playtime and they will be perfect for when you want to explore the city.

5- Relax and enjoy, the time with your kids is precious and being fortunate enough to teach them to love and travel the world is a gift. So don’t stress out, relax and enjoy what comes your way.

Read our top tips for travelling with kids.