How to travel with a baby…
Having travelled both abroad and at home with our little adventurer from quite early on when she was a baby; I thought it might be useful to get down some top tips to help any other families thinking of getting away with their littles. These key things really helped us and should hopefully get you thinking (not stressing) about how to make things as easy as possible for everyone on your trip.
Book extra-leg room seats on the plane (and try get a bassinet)
When travelling to Canada we were able to travel in BA Club World (Business Class) so had ample room for ourselves and bubs, we still had to pre-book the seats nearest the bassinet however so make sure you do this in whatever class you are staying in if you’re going long-haul. Even if you’re going short-haul I would wholly recommend paying a little extra if you can to try and sit in the extra leg room seats so you have a bit more room to move about.
Pack supplies or plan where you will buy them
Unless you’re travelling to somewhere very remote it’s highly likely you will be able to get most things you need from similar shops to where you would normally shop at home. So things like nappies, wipes and baby food can be bought once you’ve arrived at your destination saving those valuable luggage KGs for other necessities. I’ve done this for everywhere I have travelled with Amelia, including abroad and in the UK. The only thing I took with me from home was formula powder for bottles as I knew changing this could be quite problematic however in hindsight I am sure it would have been fine and I could have got formula powder anywhere it would have just been a different brand.
A massive help for travelling on our outbound journeys was the ability to call and reserve pre-made formula and food to collect airside (past security so you avoid having to wait longer for them to check everything and it’s less stuff to pack!) Boots offer this service at many large airports and can be easily arranged by phoning them a few days of advance of your travel dates or online via the airport website. Just remember you will need to buy once in destination or pack enough in the hold luggage for your return journey.
Prepare for the journey
I can’t stress this tip more than enough, it really will help your stress levels all around if you plan for whatever journey you’re going to have. On our trips around the UK we’ve made use of what we like to call ‘baby business-class’ in the car which is basically a Kindle Fire on an attachment to the back seat of the car so she can watch downloaded episodes of her favourite shows on any long journeys we have. For when we’ve travelled on a plane or by train there’s often enough going on around us to keep bubs occupied for a while but we still need to employ other methods of entertainment and have a few favourite toys and books on standby. For the longer journeys abroad we bought a couple of new toys and books and used these when Amelia’s attention span started to wane to perk her up.
Pre-book your transfers or have a plan for how you’ll get around
If you’re not travelling with a car-seat with you or hiring a car at your destination then pre-booking a transfer with car seats if needed is a great option to avoid the stress of how you will get to your onward destination. You can often add car-seats as an optional extra when pre-booking airport taxis and if you decide to get public transport then this isn’t as much of an issue but make sure you’ve looked at how to get to where you want to be in advance.
Consider hiring bigger items
We debated for a long time on whether to take our own car-seat with us to Canada or not. We knew we would be using our car-hire a lot so wanted bubs to be as comfortable as possible in the seat she had and ultimately for it be safe. In the end I found a great company that we were able to hire both a car-seat and pram from who would deliver these items to the airport for us and then we just return them at the end of our holiday. Amazing! Since doing this with the lovely folk at One Tiny Suitcase for our trip to Banff and Jasper National Parks I’ve found an increasing number of companies that do the same elsewhere so definitely have a Google for where you’re planning on going.
Plan where you are staying
This is not the time in your life to be leaving things to chance, plan where you will be staying to ensure the level of comfort you want. For us things like a kettle in the room were essential as even though I was breast-feeding, Amelia would always have a bottle at night-time. Our most comfortable nights have been in rooms that are just that bit bigger, meaning we had more space to spread out and Amelia has had a place to play on the floor. Also consider apart-hotels or apartment rentals if you’d like kitchen facilities or more of your own space for a longer stay. We also tried to pick places with good access to amenities such as an onsite restaurant or shop and launderette as having these on your doorstep does make things that bit easier. However most of the places we’ve stayed in with Amelia in both the UK and abroad were conveniently located for these amenities anyway. Planning ahead also gives you time to check with your hotel or accommodation that you will definitely have access to a crib or cot-bed if you would like one as it’s a first come first served basis on these and it’s not something you want to leave until the last minute. You will also want to check to see if linen for the cot will be provided as some places don’t offer this and you will need to pack your own.
Take things slowly
This is the best tip and one we’ve really had to grow used to! Take things a bit slower than before you had kids and things will be much more pleasant for everyone. Instead of planning lots of activities for one day try and stick to one major thing and have a back-up plan of something else if that goes really well and you have time or if the first thing goes so wrong you need to change the plan completely! This worked really well for us in Canada as it meant we weren’t rushing around and could take things at a pace more suited to us with a baby in tow, especially important when you’ve got to allow for potential nappy explosions or extended naps.
Change your day around
Pre-baby we were massive fans of a slow and leisurely breakfast, then out for the whole day doing a whole host of activities before getting ready for a lovely evening meal and then maybe a few drinks before hitting the hay.
With baby in tow our days start much earlier and we’re in need of that caffeine kick pretty much as soon as we get up so breakfasts are a bit quicker so that we can be up, out and about. In Canada instead of that long evening meal we opted to head out for our main meal around 4-5pm so that we would be finished in time to get the little one back in bed for 7/8pm, we then had time to relax in our hotel room and maybe have a sneaky drink or watch a film however most nights we were too tired from all the things we’d done in the day we’d end up crashing out too! When I was in France with Amelia and my family our timings ended up all over the place and Amelia was going to bed very late but she actually coped really well, proving that babies are pretty flexible if you do want to stray away from your routine.
It will all be fine, and if it’s not at least your somewhere different, on holiday with the people you love so it can’t be that bad!
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