So, you’ve decided to hit the road (or the rails or the skies or the high seas) with one or more of your little bundles of joy. A daunting prospect for many, but far from impossible. There is plenty of advice out there on how to make your journey, and your stays away from home, as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. Who knows? Your holiday meant end up actually feeling like a holiday!
Baby On Board
Whether you’re flying, travelling by road or letting the train take the strain, there is one piece of advice that can be liberally applied to whatever mode of transport you are using: try and make everything as familiar as possible. This might require a bit of imagination, and a lot of preparation, but it is almost guaranteed to make things easier for your baby. And your travelling party will only be as happy as its smallest, cutest member.
If you can arrange for your departure to match up with the usual sleep or nap time, things could go very smoothly indeed. It will help if they can snuggle up to their favourite cuddly bedtime toy too.
The organisation is key here, so if you can start packing a few days before, you can arrange everything so you can quickly get what you need to get your little one(s) settled on arrival.
So, what should you pack?
For the nappy bag, take one nappy for every hour of your journey together with plenty of wipes (more than one pack in case you leave one in the airport toilets), nappy rash cream, hand sanitiser, plastic bags (to handle all the soiled clothes and whatever else needs hiding away), and one more change of clothes than you think you need. When packing up the clothes for your baby, put the outfits together in bags, so that you don’t spend time hunting for their cute little socks.
Keeping your little one fed will obviously depend on what they are already putting in their face. Either it’s formula, extra bottles, teats and maybe a breast pump – if you use one – or water, juice, some energy-boosting snacks (for you too), a plastic feeding set and a few washable bibs. If you’re flying, aeroplanes dehydrate, so bring plenty of liquids. Extra dummies will also come in handy, as they have a remarkable ability to disappear when required, and are very useful to soothe the effects of pressure.
Blankets will help them get comfortable during the journey and get cosy wherever you are hanging your family hat while on holidays. A nightlight might also help them settle down for the night in an unfamiliar place. Don’t forget your first-aid kit either, and make sure it’s stocked up.
What about the bigger items?
A foldaway stroller (Joie Nitro Stroller) will make getting around a new city or village a lot more straightforward, especially if you find one that can be folded away to next to nothing. The Holy Grail of tourist travel systems.
Likewise, if you can get hold of a travel cot (Hauck Sleep n Play Center Travel Cot - Multicolour Black) that’s really compact, then you don’t have to worry about the little one sleeping in an unfamiliar bed. In fact, it’s a good idea to give them a couple of nights in the cot before going away, so that it can become familiar.
If you want your little one to keep their cool at bath time, then a Shnuggle Baby Bath will also keep things homely.
Hire cars should usually have ISO-fix fittings so that you can take your ISOFIX car seat on holiday with you. Taking your own car seat means that you can be sure that it hasn’t been involved in any accidents and you know exactly how to fit it. If you’re planning to travel by taxi, then you can bring a car booster seat for some added peace of mind.
Make sure you sort out your passport in plenty of time. Babies are notoriously difficult to smuggle across international borders.