Travelling with baby and toddler
There is always an air of excitement in our PlayLabs in June and July as our mums and dads chat about their plans for the summer – where they’re going and what they’ll be doing.
Whether you are going on holidays abroad, planning a staycation or a short trip out of town to visit friends, here are some travel tips that we’ve gathered from ClapHandies parents over the last few years to hopefully help you plan your journey.
Check that your baby’s passport is in date – it may have been a while since you got it and they are valid for a shorter period for children (5 years). It will save you any last-minute panic.
If you’re going on holiday for the first time with baby, think about asking the grandparents along. It’s always good to have an extra pair of hands when juggling all the baby equipment and is a great chance for Grandma and Grandpa to spend time with your little one. They might even babysit and let you have relaxing night out together!
If you’re travelling in Europe make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card for your baby which gives you access to state-provided healthcare. You can apply for the card online.
Baby on the move
A baby sling is a great way to travel with your little one when she’s tiny. Being carried close to you will make her feel secure. Baby carriers also make travelling on trains and buses much easier. And being hands-free means you can quickly search for passports, boarding cards or tickets.
A lightweight, folding pushchair which is suitable from birth is a must, especially at an airport where you can usually push baby to the aircraft door and have the buggy stowed in the hold. Be sure to check your airline’s website in advance of booking tickets for young children to see exactly what their policy is on seating and ticket prices.
Baby on board
Feed your baby during take-off and landing to ease any earache.
Take along a couple of her favourite toys and books. Stacking cups are great as they can double up as bath toys. On a longer flight pack some new toys that will grab her attention and make the trip a happier one.
Make sure you book in advance a baby cot at the hotel or apartment complex where you will be staying.
If you take along your own travel cot, pack a sheet and your baby’s blanket. The familiar smell of your laundry may help settle your baby while you’re away.
If you’re travelling somewhere hot, a little beach tent will keep your baby shielded from the wind and the sun. Make sure your buggy has a parasol.
Start unpacking the minute you arrive at your hotel room or apartment by firstly setting up a baby-changing area. Create a play space by putting toys and books on a low shelf or keep them all in one corner. Establish your mini-kitchen or a spot where you’ll keep bottles, dishes, baby food, snacks and formula.
You can buy handy travel-sized packs of ready-made formula at most supermarkets. It is expensive but can be very convenient when you’re away.
Sterilising bottles may take a little more effort, but travel bottle sterilisers are available in many shops.
It’s a good idea to pack a basic first-aid kit with plasters and infant paracetamol for relieving fever. If you are travelling abroad you could bring other items, such as a colic treatment or a teething remedy.
Toddlers on the go
When your baby is a bit older and more mobile longer journeys may become a bit trickier as she’s eager to move around and explore. She may also find the disruption to her routine more difficult to cope with. Here’s where your careful planning comes in.
A backpack carrier is a good option when you want to get out and see the sights. It’s best to have a dry run at home to see if your little one is comfortable in it and if your back can cope with the extra weight.
Bring enough meals and snacks for the trip. The hand baggage restrictions on fluids and food when flying do not apply to your baby’s milk or food.
It’s a good idea to put some extra favourite snacks in your main luggage. Baby food should be available at your destination but it’s good to have some familiar flavours for your child.
When choosing holiday accommodation look for somewhere child-friendly. On arrival make a check and identify any danger spots. Watch out for steps she could fall down, cables she can grab, curtains she may pull, doors that may trap fingers and cupboards she may open.
If your little one refuses to nap in the travel cot then plan a nice leisurely stroll around her daytime sleep routine. Place her in a lightweight stroller with the reclining seat to encourage slumber.
And remember to bring your smartphone and charger to capture those happy holiday snaps and video clips. Don’t forget that you may also need a plug adapter.
Have a great holiday!