The ultimate guide to travelling with a baby.
Image by Наталья Ковалева from Pixabay
Do you dream of wanderlust but feel that you can’t travel with a tot in tow, don’t worry, it’s doable. More and more new parents are bucking the trend of previous generations and taking their babies with them to travel the world. You don’t have to conform to holiday packages and kid clubs, the world is still you and your little one’s oyster. To help make this a less daunting idea, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to travelling with a baby, so you can put your mind to ease and start planning that trip of a lifetime!
Why should I travel with a baby?
Why not? Travelling with a baby can seem daunting, but it is doable. There are so many benefits to travelling with your baby, I mean when will you ever have this much time off work again? You and your partner have time you can use to take a holiday with your new family. Not only that but your baby will travel for free on many airlines and may even stay for free in some hotels. Babies can spend up to 15 hours a day sleeping, so why not pop them in a baby carrier and go explore? The time spent together will create a lasting memory and bond for your first trip together.
Tips for flying with a baby
This is the part that most new parents dread, flying on a plane with their baby. It’s no secret that babies aren’t always welcomed on board a plane by fellow passengers, but this will be flight depending and you’ll find with the support of the cabin crew and other passengers, this can be a stress-free experience. It all depends on how long your flight will be. If it is a short flight, it will be easier than a long-haul.
Be sure to bring enough supplies, in the means of a nappy bag, baby food and bottles if you are formula feeding. If you are breastfeeding and prefer to pump you can bring your breastmilk on board, it will simply be scanned through security. However, if you are happy enough to breastfeed on the plane, there are added benefits, especially during takeoff and landing as this can the babies ears from the painful pressure. If you don’t breastfeed using a dummy or a bottle will do the same trick, just anything that will make the baby suck, in order to protect their eats. If you feel like you need a bit of privacy you can bring a breastfeeding cover or create a makeshift one with your baby blanket. Planes are safe spaces for breastfeeding and your airline should support you in being able to breastfeed your baby.
Decide on the best gear for carrying your baby, their stroller and car seat will get put into the hold free of charge so it might be best to opt for a baby carrier or sling. The benefit of a sling is that your baby will be close to you at all times and will also be comforted and reassured during the flight. You can also breastfeed with ease and won’t have to worry about carrying a bulky, troublesome car seat around.
Do babies get jetlag?
Babies, do indeed get jetlag. However, they have the added benefit of being able to sleep it off, whenever, wherever. If you decided to go on a long-haul flight with your baby consider how you will be able to help them adjust to their new time zone. The main thing to do is to take it slow and easy. Plan for rest and recovery days in your holiday so your little one can get their head around the time difference. The best way to do it is to follow your normal bedtime routine, be that bath, book, bed or something else. This will help your baby acclimatise easier as it will give them something consistent.
What do I need to bring on holiday with my baby?
Even just popping to the shops can be overwhelming with a baby. There are so many things to remember and so many extra things to pack. It can be overwhelming thinking about what to pack for a holiday with your baby, so we’ve put together a checklist below.
- Nappies and baby wipes (cloth, biodegradable or disposable)
- Travel pram
- Travel car seat
- Baby carrier/baby sling (this is extra useful for breastfeeding on the go)
- Travel Cot
- Travel nappy bag which includes nappy cream and nappy bags.
Meal Prep Essentials
- Baby food
- If your baby uses bottles and formula bring plenty of bottle supplies, including a bottle brush for cleaning.
- Non-spill cup, which is great to keep baby hydrated and mess free.
- Breast pump – if you are breastfeeding or pumping, it’s important to remember to bring this with you. You can get travel alternatives.
- High coverage SPF50 sun cream. Your babies skin is extra sensitive so make sure you use a high coverage SPF and keep them out of the sun.
- Sun hat
- Sun parasol for your pram
- Lightweight cotton clothes
- Waterproof nappies.
- All body swimsuit for your baby.
- Hand sanitizers
- Anti-bacterial wipes
- A playmat
- Baby monitor
- Baby bath and body lotion
- Blackout blind
- Portable mobile for crib
- Universal bath plug
Popular destinations to travel to with your baby
Move over package holiday, there are more and more far-flung, exciting destinations that can cater to you and your baby. We’ve outlined some of the most popular destinations below.
Italy is a child-friendly country that will embrace you and your little one. From the Coliseum of Rome to the lavender fields of Tuscany, there is plenty to see and do in this country. Italians will go out of their way to help parents with a baby, so expect warm hospitality. A good thing to remember is to bring a baby sling as in some sites there won’t be pram access.
If you are after two weeks in paradise with your baby then head to Bali. This beautiful region of Indonesia has plenty on offer in its more family-friendly neighbourhoods. If you want to steer clear of party goers do not head to Kuta! You’ve been warned. This tropical paradise offers plenty of activities, sites and relaxation for your family. Spend your day chilling out on the beach, taking in a temple and indulging in some amazing Balinese cuisine.
Spain is another country that is very child-friendly. People will go out of their way to help you and your baby and you will find the late night cafe and restaurant culture is all family friendly and family focussed. This means that even if your little one is tossing and turning in the wee hours you can be sure that when you take them for a walk in the stroller on the Ramblas you won’t be the only parent with a baby in tow. With beautiful sunshine, plenty of high-quality beaches and fine cuisine, you and your little family can have your own fiesta.
South of France
There is nothing more relaxing than unwinding in a chateau in the South of France or staying near the shore of Antibes. France is a family-friendly country that isn’t too far away flight wise and offers everything you could ever want. Tuck into a crepe, take a stroll along the promenade and make memories with your little one. Go in springtime to avoid the summer heat and crowds.
Children are at the heart of the family in Greece and the culture is very family orientated and child-friendly. Because of this, you might find your baby will eat for free in restaurants or can stay for free in some hotels and will also be able to access public transport for free, making it a very cost-effective destination. The summer months can be very hot, so maybe avoid the crowds and high temperatures and go during spring or autumn time.
If a city break is more your thing, then London is the city that has it all. Not only will there be plenty for you to see and do with your little one, but there are also plenty of family-friendly facilities on offer. With free transport for children under 5, you can make good use of the public buses and tubes (although some have no lifts), and see the city.
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When is the best age to travel with my baby?
There is no set answer to this question as everyone will experience childbirth and the new born stages differently. The main thing to remember is to travel with your baby when your body feels ready. If you’ve had a caesarean section or a particularly hard birth, it would be advisable to wait until your body has had enough rest postpartum until pushing yourself unnecessarily. Travelling with a new born 0-3 months is hard and you are just adapting to your role as parents, it can be an extra strain on an already stressful situation, however, if you are travelling to visit relatives, it is still doable, just make sure to check with your doctor to make sure you are okay to travel.
The 3-9-month stage is a better stage to take your little one away. You have hopefully recovered from the birth and as parents, you have started to learn how to meet the needs of your baby. At this age baby’s sleep, most of the time and will be fed regularly, they also aren’t going to crawl away, so you can worry free, strap them into the sling and enjoy your holiday.
Once they hit the 9-12-month age, they are starting to walk and crawl and have very much found their voice! This is a more challenging time as you will have to watch your baby and they may get easily irritated. However, it is still doable to fly with your baby at this age, it will just require more work.
Whatever your babies age, it really is up to you as a parent to decide when is best to take them on a holiday. Take it slow and don’t book any trips in advance so that you won’t feel pressurised or rushed to go away. You will know what is best for you and your family.
(Written by Sarah McCann of MyBaggage.com a luggage delivery service that helps to make travelling a little easier for parents of young children.)