If you are planning on flying off somewhere exotic this summer then firstly I am jealous and can I come? Secondly don’t panic travelling with babies and toddlers doesn’t have to be a total nightmare. You can still kick back and enjoy the view – well at least at nap time. It might just take a bit more prep and planning than pre kids holidays.
My tips below should help you to have a painless experience when travelling with small children:
Research before going on holiday with babies and toddlers
- Do research about the resort before you go and if you can’t find solid evidence that they sell your brand of formula take your own.
- If your baby is in the process of weaning I would also take some food pouches as many places seem to have different rules on salt and sugar content. In France, for example, I am yet to find something that isn’t super sweet. Otis and Us have some great tips about how to plan a family friendly holiday and pick the destination.
- Think about what you and your family need from a hotel. What does family friendly accommodation mean to you?
- During your research also check out which bottled water will be ok for your baby as many brands have too high a mineral content.
Flying with babies and toddlers
- Plan your flight times to coincide with the little ones usual bedtime if at all possible so that they are tired and more likely to sleep. You can then use your airport time to be going through the bedtime routine as closely as possible and get them ready for bed just prior to boarding so that they can have milk as soon as they are on the plane. I find this really helps with the whole seat belt issue as they are usually happy to sit still if they are drinking milk.
- If you are still breastfeeding do so on take off and landing as it helps with equalising pressure in the ears. A bottle, a dummy or a cup with a straw will do the same thing.
- It isn’t always possible to fly at bedtime or nap time. So in case they won’t sleep or they wake up have some brand new toys or books that they have never seen before at the ready. The poundshop or Wilkinsons are great for this as you don’t need to get expensive stuff it is the new factor that seems to help keep them occupied.
- If you are comfortable with them watching tv you can always load your phone or tablet with sons games or cbeebies episodes. If you keep the sound low no one else will be able to hear it over the engine sounds etc… Just make sure it isn’t annoying anyone.
- I would recommend arranging a private airport transfer, getting a taxi or renting a car. This will reduce time spent hanging around on a coach for the one passenger whose luggage hasn’t arrived. Of course this usually costs more so isn’t always financially viable.
- With small babies and if you are taking your own travel cot get them used to it prior to the trip by using it for nap time. It will help to prevent freak outs. I would always try to take my own as you know it is clean and also it is familiar to your baby or toddler. A great one for air travel is the Baby Bjorn as it is suitcase shaped and you can fit in the bedding and probably all their sleep suits too freeing up space in your actual case.
The carry on bag when flying with babies and toddlers
- Do take some of their toys etc… But not the whole playroom. They are little creatures of habit and can be really unsettled by holidays so seeing familiar items can help. I recommend something like stickers, a small pot of playdoh (tray tables wipe clean easily), colouring or the aqua doodle travel set for the plane. For little babies I recommend a new rattle or squeeze sensory toy but one that doesn’t make too much noise
- Remember that travel sickness means planes too – I discovered this on landing and it wasn’t pretty…. So make sure to take nappy bags in case of illness or any other accidents so that you can keep any yucky clothes away from anything else
- Make sure your nappy bag is well stocked with spare clothes, snacks and wipes. Include a spare set of clothes for you too – if baby is getting messy I shouldn’t think you will escape entirely unscathed!
- If you are arriving during the day I would make sure that the carry on bags contain a change of clothes for you all, sunglasses, suncream, swimsuits and a towel. That way you don’t have to unpack straight away and can start the holiday immediately
Buggies don’t count
- Did you know that a buggy (stroller), travel cot and the car seat don’t count in your weight allowance?
- If you are checking in a buggy make it a cheap one – nothing ruins a holiday like a bent bugaboo! I would also invest in a bag for the buggy. Not only will this help to protect it, but will also be somewhere else you can pack stuff!
- I recommend buying a bag for your car seat as well if you are taking your own. You don’t want this to be broken when you get there. We have often hired car seats for that reason. Lots of airports have companies that rent baby items. It might be worth checking.
- Remember that babies and toddlers can struggle with the heat so do take care. The Mamma Fairy has some great tips from a pharmacist on how you can help your littles to cope: Top tips for dealing with warm weather with babies and children
- Don’t forget the insurance.
So with some or all of those tips on mind remember you are on holiday too! If there are two of you make sure to give one another a little bit of baby free time. That way you both get to relax. Have a lovely time and if you change your mind about bringing me along you know where to find me.