10 Travel Tips for Family Holidays
Whether you are planning a weekend away in the countryside or travelling abroad, it is important to always be prepared, especially with babies and young children as part of your family.
Here are our top tips for an (almost!) stress-free holiday!
- Always book ahead. Unfortunately with very young children it is almost impossible to spontaneous. You need to make sure that you book somewhere safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, pitching your tent randomly and sleeping in your car are no longer options when you have young children!
- Look for a family-friendly destination. Don’t be too ambitious with your holiday, choose somewhere that caters for families with small children. There are a huge number of hotels and self catering locations worldwide, that can assist with children’s meals, bottle warming, sterilising equipment, cots, highchairs, babysitting services and crèches.
- Always allow for extra time. Whether it is getting through airport security or just sight-seeing, always factor in an extra period of time to allow for an unexpected feed, explosive nappy or full on meltdown! A change of routine can be incredibly upsetting any child and if time is on your side, it will enable you to be more patient and relaxed.
- Dress your baby suitably for the journey. Layering is a no-brainer. Put your baby in a few soft layers that will be easy to put on and take off, for example a vest and sleepsuit so that they are comfortable throughout the journey and don’t forget a change of clothes just in case your child experiences unexpected travel sickness.
- Be prepared. Make sure that you bring everything that your child could possibly need with you on the journey, for example antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser are essentials, whilst bringing medicine with you is also recommended as experience has showed us that children often get ill on holiday! Bags within bags can be a very effective way of making a flight easier. One large cabin bag with smaller bags inside makes it infinitely easier to find what you need mid flight (E.g. A nappy changing bag, a change of clothes bag, an entertainment bag and a snacks and feeding bag etc)
If you are bottle feeding, take double the amount of formula that you expect to need during and before the flight to allow for delays and crankiness. Regardless of whether or not a feed is due, many babies are easily settled with a bottle upon take off and landing.
- Keep you baby cool. Make sure you check you baby does not get too hot throughout the journey in the stuff car or plane. It is a good idea to take a handheld battery-operated fan to help keep your baby cool. After all, a hot baby is generally an irritable baby!
- Think about entertainment. Many parents recommend creating goodie bags for your young children and babies to keep them entertained throughout the flight. For instance include favourite toys, games, with some surprises. Some ideas for toddlers include puzzles, sticker books, fuzzy felt, action figures and coloured paper and crayons for drawing, whilst for babies try shiny new objects like a baby-proof mirror and rattles.
- Check and double-check your documents. Children’s passports run out every 5 years so it is important that you make sure that your child’s passport is still in date. It's also important to make sure that you and your child are both covered by travel insurance and have a European Health Insurance card.
- Pack and unpack strategically. As soon as possible after you arrive in your room unpack and set it up just like home. This way you will stay organised and be able to find everything that you need. Bags within bags can also be useful for suitcases. Popping all of your swimming things into a small bag in your suitcase will enable you to bundle the family off to the beach or pool as soon as you arrive giving you plenty of time to get organised!
- Relax.Travelling with children can be stressful however try and go with the flow. Don’t plan too many activities to do or visit too many places. Too many new sights can over-stimulate your baby and toddlers can get bored having to sit still for long period of times. It won’t be the same as a pre-kids holiday but it doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it!