Travelling with little ones this summer? It needn’t be a hassle. Be prepared and read our top essential travelling tips to avoid last minute panic.
- Manage your expectations and plan. If this is your first trip with little ones don’t expect it to be the same as travelling without children. Don’t expect to be able to do everything on the itinerary and take time to plan, pack and think ahead. Plan for every scenario especially a delayed plane – avoid being stuck at the airport with no nappies and no formula!
- Always pack your essential baby items in your hand baggage. Never just in the hold, be prepared for delays and don’t think that you’ll be able to buy the formula you use when you arrive so pack enough in your hold luggage.
- If you are taking hold luggage then make sure you spread everyone’s clothes amongst all the bags you are checking in; if one bag goes astray you still all have a mix of clothes to choose from.
- If you want to travel light try packing a capsule wardrobe for everyone, and cut down on the shoes most people only ever wear 2 pairs on holiday despite taking more!
- Travelling with toddlers and young children, manage their expectations so they know what to expect. Make it fun at the airport for children; tell them in advance about the journey.
- Let the children help you with their packing, include them in the excitement. Pack plenty to keep them amused and some spare clothes in case of travel disasters!
- Download a couple of films to the tablet for the children to watch if they are sharing get an earphone splitter so that two children can watch with two sets of earphones. Take a portable spare battery pack charger too.
- Take colouring books and travel games, things that can take the place of a tablet in case you don’t have power.
- Take plenty of snacks, many more than you would normally – remember how the default for bored children is food!
- Watch out for sore ears on a flight. Flying can cause air in the middle ear and sinuses to expand which is painful for babies and toddlers as they have smaller ear passages so something to suck or eat (see snacks above!) during take-off and landing will help.
Essential items if travelling with an infant
Nappies plus spares (allow for delays!), baby wipes, change of clothes for baby and for you! Teething ring, playbook or toy depending on the age. Milk/formula. If you are flying check for the most recent limits on carrying liquids here. Although at time of writing the 100ml carry on limit for liquids doesn’t apply to formula milk or sterilized water. Pack several baby bottles of cooled boiled water and pre-measured formula powder. Blanket or throw just in case it’s chilly.
Check what the terrain is like where you are going. If you are going to be on the beach then a normal stroller won’t cope with the sand. So be prepared to lift and carry the buggy, or take an all-terrain buggy. But be aware if it’s going in the airplane hold don’t expect it to come back out looking pristine. If you can, take a light weight stroller where possible and if you think you can do without a buggy then think about using a baby/toddler sling/carrier or backpack instead. Some airlines allow you to take up to 2 bulky baby items free of charge in the hold.
Top tips of travelling with a baby
- If your baby isn’t mobile yet and you need a travel cot that folds up try one of the pop up travel cot pods. They are very light weight and can also act as a play den.
- If your baby is crawling then think about taking a beach blanket or something that they can crawl around on. Be aware that they may not be crawling when you go on holiday but they could start when you are there!
- Take your baby monitor and an adapter then you can relax knowing that you can hear them if they wake up.
- If you need to sterlise bottles or other small items take some cold water sterilising tablets and bags.
- Consider taking wetsuits or UV sun suits as you don’t have to constantly apply sun cream – which does help avoid a lot of tantrums and sun cream in the eyes!
- Take a simple first aid kit and some non-prescription anti-histamine like Piriton for any irritations or bites and a hydrocortisone cream for any skin allergies that may arise. Along with pain relief like infant paracetamol or ibuprofen. This should cover most basic requirements while you are away.
Think about hiring
Check where you are staying what do they have so you don’t need to take it? Most family friendly places that you might be staying at will have most of the items that you may need. Call them before and let them know what you need most are very happy to help. Especially if you need things like bottle warmers, highchairs, travel cots.
Many places now hire out baby gear if you find you really need to take items that you just haven’t got room to take then hire if you can.
Lastly if you are that parent on the plane holding a screaming baby or child try not to get stressed and feel guilty. Everyone has been there at some point in their lives! Remember it will pass! Read our article on travelling long haul with kids here.