It is holiday season and it feels like everyone is jetting off to sunny destinations! Taking a baby on holiday brings a whole new load of anxieties. Don’t rule out taking a holiday because it seems impossible with a young baby. Being prepared and organised can ensure your holiday is still a great time for your family.
Here are my top tips to help make the packing, flight and your holiday run smoothly:
What do I need to pack?
Along with all your usual clothes, sun hats, blankets and toiletries I have compiled a list below of useful extras
- Car seat – Take your own car seat as hire car companies are notorious for ropey looking car seats. It isn’t worth the risk. Pack you own and check the baggage terms of your airline – it may well be free!
- Cot – Depending on the age of your baby you could use your pram carrycot but it must be safe for overnight sleeping (check with the manufacturer). For older babies I generally take my own travel cot so I know the history of the mattress and it is familiar to baby. The travel cot bag makes a handy place to add extra packing too!
- Steriliser – Depending on the amount of sterilising you need to do you might find you get away with sterilising bags providing you have microwave access. . I use these. Each bag can be used twenty times, just mark it off after each use. If you prefer to be able to sterilising more at one go then take Milton sterilising tablets. You can buy a washing up bowl at your destination to use or take a Milton box. The Milton boxes are a little cumbersome but at least you can pack it with all your essentials so it is not wasted space.
- A black out blind – these are a fantastic portable black out blind option
- Nappies – I pack one for each night. It is not always easy to find a nappy that lasts your child all night so I like to be sure I have one per night for the duration of the holiday. Daytime nappies can be bought in most destinations very easily.
- Sun suits – invest in one or two sun suits with 50+ sun protection. They are a huge reassurance in high temperatures – but don’t forget to protect exposed areas!
- Mini medical kit – baby paracetomol sachets, baby Ibuprofen, teething gel, saline drops, baby vapour rub and any routine medicines your child may be on.
- A towelling dressing gown is ideal to dry off after the pool.
- Feeding –If you are not breastfeeding you may be concerned about the best way to buy your milk. I personally take milk with me, as even the same brands can be different in other countries. Boots offer a service where you can order you baby milk in advance and pick it up after security so it doesn’t impact on your baggage allowance. For babies who are weaning I like to take at least some food sachets to mix with food you can buy there so you don’t risk any upset little tummies.
What to pack in your hand luggage:
- Take sachets of Calpol, Ibuprofen and teething gel.
- Put a nappy and wipes inside a nappy bag so when you need to go to the bathroom to change your baby you have got everything to hand and easy to carry.
- Make sure your baby has a change of clothes and also an extra top for you in case of any accidents.
- Antibacterial hand gel and antibacterial wipes – changing tables on planes and highchair in airports can be mucky places!
- Toys to keep baby busy.
Managing at security
It helps significantly to be prepared for security. You won’t have spare hands, as you will need to hold your baby.
- You will need to collapse your pram so don’t overload the shopping basket and seat with random toys otherwise you will be scrambling to get everything packed in a bag at the last minute.
- Pack a clear sandwich bag with your liquids before getting to the airport – Calpol/Ibuprofen sachets, Anbesol for teething and hand gel.
- Food pouches, home made food, bottles and cups with water and ready made formula do not need to go in a clear bag. They have separate trays for this to go in.
- Ipads/laptops/kindles/phones will all need to be taken out at security.
- Ensure your pockets are empty if you have a pocket full of coins and last minute essentials you will need to empty them before going through the scanners. Try to get everything as contained as possible in your bags so you are just taking out liquids, baby food, collapsing pram and popping your bags on the belt.
You never know if you will freeze with over enthusiastic air conditioning or over heat on a plane so put your child in comfortable layers. I usually suggest a short-sleeved vest with a tee-shirt and light joggers. Don’t forget that spare outfit for your baby and a spare top for you too!
What happens to your pram?
Usually you can keep it until the gate. Ask when you board the plane when you will get it back – sometimes it’s on the tarmac as soon as you land, on the baggage carousel or hidden in a quiet corner of the baggage collection hall which will leave you searching for hours!!
If travelling to a destination with a short time difference of an hour or two people often find it more convenient to stick on English times as it often suits a holiday routine better. For example if the time difference is two hours, your 7-7 routine will become 9-9 so easier to manage meals out and even get a “lie in”!
I find the key part of managing travel times and days away when you don’t want to stick to routine is to ensure the last nap is neither too far or too close to bedtime. Sending a baby to bed overtired or not tired enough will have an impact on your nights.
If you spend two weeks away out of routine do not panic that all is lost. You will slip back into routine after a couple of days of being at home providing you stick to your usual timings.
I hope you enjoy your time away with your family.