Going on holiday with a young baby is never going to be easy. You can’t just chuck some clothes in a case, grab your passport and head to the airport like you used to – planning and organisation is essential if you want to make sure your holiday is as relaxing as you hope it will be. It will be hard – but it will be worth it. Don’t panic – we’re with you every step of the way…
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
The first step when booking a holiday abroad with a baby under one is to look at all the documents you’ll need to have secured prior to travelling. A passport is vital for any overseas travel – just remember it can take a few weeks to arrive. Allow plenty of time to fill in the form and get the relevant counter-signatures, and post with lots of time to spare before you depart.
If travelling within the EU, you should also have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for each member of your family that’s travelling. Entitling you to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, this covers treatment that’s medically necessary until your planned return home.
Travel insurance is also vital, while you should also check if any visas or vaccinations are needed for the areas you’re intending to visit. You might also want to check with your airline if travelling with a very young infant, as policies can vary and you may even be
refused to fly.
CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION
Trust us – if this is your first holiday abroad with your baby then you won’t want to sit on
a plane for 18 hours! Instead, it’s much wiser to choose a short-haul beach break, choosing somewhere like the South of France, Spain or even Greece as your ideal destination. You won’t be dramatically far from UK soil, and you should be able to recognise a variety of baby brands in the shops, too. Just bear in mind the time of year you choose to holiday: while you may have always enjoyed Greece in August prior to falling pregnant, the intense heat will make your little one irritable and miserable, so choose a more pleasing month such as May or October instead.
CHOOSE YOUR ACCOMMODATION
Self-catering or all-inclusive – what do you choose when holidaying with a young baby? There’s no right or wrong answer here, and for many parents it’s simply down to preference and what they think will make for a stress-free experience.
Regardless of your accommodation choice make sure it has the right facilities before booking, starting with travel cots and high chairs and moving on to having access to sterilisers and ways of heating up milk or baby food.
Choose ground floor accommodation for ease if possible, and if there isn’t an option make sure there are lifts available for the entirety of the hotel – dragging a buggy up four flights of stairs a few times a day will not a happy holiday make!
A dedicated shallow kids’ pool is ideal for cooling off with baby, while a creche that can help out when you just need an hour to yourself has got to be an added bonus!
CHOOSE YOUR TIMING
Every parent panics to a certain extent that their baby will scream and cry throughout the flight, so start by picking the best time of day to ensure your little one will be at their most content. Try to book flights when you know they’ll be able to sleep – this will give you peace and quiet as much as the other passengers!
Your baby will also pick up on any stress levels you emit, so make sure you leave for the airport with plenty of time to spare. It’s not just about any traffic you may hit on-route, either – having a baby adds a fair amount of extra time to get you through airport security. You’ll need to get them out of their buggy – even if they’re asleep – and you’ll have to wait for any milk to be tested by the team before you’re cleared and allowed through.
Change their nappy right before you board, then settle them with a bottle or your breast while taking off, which will also help their ears adjust to the elevation. It’s then a case of entertaining them during the flight, packing baby books, toys and snacks if weaning, and remembering extra nappies and a spare change of clothes in your in-flight bag. It’s always better to be safer than sorry – especially if you’re travelling at 35,000 feet!
CHOOSE YOUR PACKING
If you’ve chosen your destination and accommodation wisely then it’ll cut down on a lot of packing – always a bonus with many budget airlines imposing fees if you go over your allocated allowance. Here’s what to pack and why…
Keep the sun off little heads with a variety of sunhats, and choose cotton clothing to keep
them cool, too. Baby grows are a winner, as are short-sleeve vests, teaming with cardigans if the weather cools down at night.
You’ll want a baby thermometer, baby paracetamol, insect bite cream, teething gel and plasters in this kit.
Only pack SPF 50 for babies and young children please, and always remember to keep
them in the shade between 11am and 2pm when the sun is at its strongest.
FEEDING AND CLEANING
Pack a portable sterilizer along with plenty of bottles, teats and formula if needed. Even if
you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to offer your baby cool boiled water from a bottle to keep them hydrated. Muslins are always going to be handy, and don’t forget enough nappies, water nappies and baby wipes to get you through the first couple of days.