If you’re planning an overseas holiday with your little one, rest assured that travelling with a baby is not only possible – it can actually be fun. It just takes a little extra preparation.
To help you on your way, we asked some well-travelled families for their best tips, so you can relax and enjoy your holiday.
Prep like a pro
Plan your holiday around your new lifestyle, not your old one
Think carefully about where you go, where you will stay and what you want to do. It helps to ask other parents about their favourite family holiday destinations for inspiration. It’s also a good idea to try to book everything before you go – including transfers with a car seat if possible.
Accommodation is critical
Think about where your baby will sleep. Is there a safe bassinet or cot available, or do you want to bring your own? Is there a separate space for your baby to sleep? You probably don’t want to be going to bed at 7pm with your little one. So if you’re staying in a hotel and can’t get a second bedroom, try to find somewhere that you can squeeze a portacot in a separate space – it might be the bathroom, even a hallway or a walk-in wardrobe.
You can also check out sites like Airbnb for more relaxed, homey options – and lots are geared up for travelling families with high chairs, toys and cots ready and waiting.
Make sure you’re covered
Travel insurance is always a must. But when you’re travelling with a baby that added peace of mind is extra important. Medibank travel insurance gives you hospital, accident and medical evacuation expense cover while you’re travelling.
Don’t over pack
Yes, baby things can take up a lot of room – but pack carefully and try to only take one suitcase. Your baby doesn’t need a pile of toys, and if you can usually buy extra nappies and baby essentials at your destination if you need to. Trust us on this one, it’s hard to lug around two suitcases, carry on, and baby!
A travel pram can be a great buy
A great tip is to go for the lightest, smallest travel pram you can find. It’s also handy if you get one that has a bit of room underneath. Some friends swear by the BABYZEN YOYO. It’s so compact and light that it can be taken on board as cabin luggage, and it’s easy to fold up when you’re in a small restaurant or hotel.
Baby carriers are compact and convenient
Carriers are great for the airport and perfect for places where the footpaths aren’t pram-friendly. Our baby loves his Ergobaby carrier – and for our trip to the tropics we purchased the summer version and carried him on our back so he wouldn’t get too hot. It was so easy to get around with, we didn’t need a pram.
For the plane trip
Research flight options
Seat Guru is great for this. The flight times can work in your favour based on naps, and the plane type and seating options are handy to know in advance when selecting your seats.
Book a bassinet
With infants, always request the bassinet if it’s available, and take some time to read through your airline’s infant policy – it may sound like a bit of a chore, but worth it in the long run as some differ. If you do get a bassinet, one mum swears by the CoziGo – an aeroplane bassinet cover that blocks light and movement, helping your baby sleep better. It can also be used as a cover on your pram while you’re travelling.
Pack your carry on wisely
Prepare snap-lock bags with plenty of nappies, wipes and sanitiser. Changing a baby on a plane can be tricky business, and it can help to have everything together. Take a change of clothes for yourself, and plenty of clothes for your baby. If your baby is on solids, pack plenty of food and snacks in your carry on. Airlines will usually provide baby food if you request it, but it might not always be suitable.
Give your baby time to play before boarding
If your baby is active, make sure it has the chance to burn some energy before boarding. Some airports have kids play areas you might want to check out. It can also help to take your time to board the plane. One mum said when they travelled, they boarded last for every flight. This meant they didn’t have to wait for everyone else to take their seats, and their little one had more time to play.
Time your feeds if possible
Time your breastfeeds, or give your baby a bottle, during take-off and landing. This can help minimise pressure on your little ones ears and if you’re lucky it might even put them to sleep.
Don’t stress if your little one is being difficult during the flight
Other people have been there and understand what you’re dealing with – and stress creates stress – so try to roll with it. If you’re travelling with someone else, share the load so you each get a break and a chance to rest. Some families like to sit in separate rows so each adult gets a little chance to relax while the other is on baby duty. If you’re travelling solo with a little one, don’t hesitate to enlist the help of cabin crew on planes – they’re always happy to help.
During your trip
Don’t pack too much into your schedule
Pace your day and choose a few things to do rather than 20. Parks and gardens are great places to spend time as a family and embrace your new surrounds. It’s also a good idea to schedule some rest days.
Train travel is your friend
Trains are definitely a great way to travel with a baby – there’s a little more room, and it’s a little more relaxed. But do some quick research on the stations you’ll be travelling to and from, as some are great for babies and prams while others can be a little trickier to navigate.
Allow a little more time
For everything! Things take a little longer now you have a baby in tow. Just make sure you plan for it.
Relax your nap routine
While it’s good to give your baby plenty of opportunities to nap and rest, you don’t need to be a slave to your routine while you are on holidays – with long haul flights, different time zones and a new place, it’s pretty difficult anyway. Babies, especially young babies, are pretty good at napping when you’re travelling or walking around.
Don’t stress if your baby stays out late some nights
Of course, babies love routine and a consistent bed time, and it will be easier on everyone if you get your baby to bed at a decent time most nights. But if you’re up for it, take baby out to dinner – let them experience the occasional night out with mum and dad and if you get home a little later, know that everything will be okay.
Times have changed in the way you holiday – embrace it!
Instead of focusing on what you can’t do now you have a baby, look forward to all the things you can do. Splashing around in the pool with a baby can be so much fun. And watching their little face light up as they something new is a real highlight.
Remember to enjoy yourself. It’s understandable that you might be nervous before heading overseas with your little one, and it certainly does take a little more preparation, but it’s worth it. Take lots of photos, create happy memories and enjoy this quality family time together.