Travelling abroad with young children can be daunting and for most parents of babies and toddlers, the idea of stepping on a packed plane before their holidays commence is somewhat of a nightmare. Tired toddlers, travel sickness, boredom and a lack of facilities can be a recipe for disaster, but there are certainly ways to make it easier and if past experiences have taught me anything, it’s to go prepared.
Here are my top tips for travelling abroad with little ones:
1. There is an abundance of toddler-friendly holidays online so do your research and choose a destination that won’t give you a headache. Keep it simple, reduce your journey times and keep transfers at the other end to a minimum – the last thing you want after a long flight is a 2-hour drive to your accommodation.
2. If you have arranged car hire, don’t forget to think ahead about a car seat and bear in mind that you will have to fit in your luggage as well as a pram so make sure that you hire a big enough car.
3. Keep hand luggage to a minimum, but be sure to pack essentials like nappies, wipes, a change of clothes, drinks and plenty of snacks. It’s always wise to pack more food than you think you’ll need for the journey in case of delays and to cover extra travel time after you’ve landed.
4. Try and book flights that are as close to your toddler’s sleep and nap times as possible, sleeping children are much easier to manage in a confined space than hyperactive ‘bundles of energy’. That being said, curious toddlers don’t always want to sleep on flights, so in addition to the hand-luggage essentials mentioned previously make sure you take stickers, crayons, books, favourite toys or whatever else they find familiar and comforting on the plane with you.
5. When travelling with a young baby, never forget the power of milk as it can be a lifesaver if they get fractious or tired. Give them a feed during the flight’s ascent and descent as it will help your little one’s ears adjust to the pressure changes more easily and relieve any ear-popping pain.
6. Load ipads, iphones and any other gadgets with kid-friendly apps and make sure they are all fully charged before leaving. Don’t forget the chargers and travel plugs either.
7. Remember to leave enough time for your journey as everything takes that bit longer with children. Allow for travel sickness, nappy changes, toilet breaks and general loading and unloading of luggage. Running behind schedule adds unnecessary stress which in turn will rub off on your little ones so make a checklist of things to pack ahead of time.
8. Make sure your little ones have had all of their immunizations and check that none of you require any vaccinations prior to travelling abroad. It’s also worthwhile taking a little first aid kit with you and essential medication such as calpol and teething powder.
9. DO NOT go on holiday without the appropriate travel cover – many companies nowadays will offer an incentive or a reward scheme for taking out one of their insurance policies.
10. Do take your pram – it’s the fastest and most efficient way to transport your baby and/or toddler through the airport. Most airlines will allow you to take is straight to the plane and then you will have it waiting for you at the other end. A baby sling can also be an invaluable piece of kit as it keeps young babies protected and you mobile in most situations.
FINALLY – Holidays are made up of lots of lovely moments so don’t forget to take a camera and capture the memories!