We recently returned from our first holiday abroad. I approached travelling with a baby with a degree of trepidation. There were several concerns such as: What to do with a crying baby on the flight with all other passengers staring at us? What if we forgot an essential item? How do I keep her cool in the heat and stop her from getting sunburn?
So if you are considering travelling with a little one, here are some of the learning curves we experienced. A good overall tip ……. keep things as simple as possible!
- Leave your fancy pushchair at home and buy an inexpensive stroller that reclines and has a sun hood. This is a free piece of baby equipment to take on an aeroplane, its lightweight and if anything happens to it, it doesn’t matter.
- You can take as much baby milk/ food as you need in the change bag. Our airline accepted a baby bag that weighed 5kg, so I packed everything for her holiday in that one bag.
- If you are hiring a car – take your own car seat. We decided it would be ‘easier’ to hire a car seat on arrival. Well, it turned out they didn’t have a car seat suitable for a baby, so that was fairly stressful. We had to try and see whether a forward facing car seat would be suitable for her current weight (I hadn’t researched the forward facing car seat yet, cue panic no 1!). This was not helped by the revelation that the car seat was held together with cello tape. Luckily we managed to find another one, which wasn’t easy to use but did not need cello tape to be kept together and was suitable for a baby – phew!
- Remember when you are hiring a car in a foreign country, it would be best to have some sort of satellite navigation so that you don’t drive out of the airport… and then find yourself driving back into the airport again.
- If you are driving at night, familiarise yourself with your hire car. If all other road users are waving and flashing at you, they may be friendly recognising that you are new to the country, but they are probably warning you that you are driving without any lights on!
- Take your own baby monitor and enough travel adapters for everything that you need so you have the same piece of mind that you have at home.
- If you are going somewhere warm, take suitable clothing for your baby including a hat with neck cover, sun-protecting clothing, sunglasses, factor 50+ sun lotion and a pop-up beach tent. These were used everyday and we couldn’t have enjoyed days out as much without these necessary items.
- If you are bottle-feeding take sterilising tablets as this the easiest way to keep everything sterile.
- Depending on facilities prepare to put your baby to sleep in just a nappy if it is really warm.
- Take a baby carrier such as a BabyBjorn, this enables walking around cobbled streets, places with steps or very busy areas that pushchairs would be difficult to navigate. It was also very good when getting on the plane and 2 hands was necessary.
- You can try and keep a same routine, but be mindful of the time difference. Approach holidays with flexibility. Going out as a family for the warm evenings, makes it an enjoyable holiday and if we were strict with routine we would have missed out on coctails, nibbles and sunsets!
- Finally, most people on the plane have had children or are travelling with their own children. So don’t worry if your baby is unsettled, crying or wanting to look at everyone else. Everyone was very friendly and understanding. So there was no need to worry about that.
We made some wonderful, happy, family memories and I’m pleased we went while I was on maternity leave. So get that passport sorted and take a trip!