Flying with a new born can strike fear even into the most adventurous travellers, but with a bit of planning and a few essentials stashed in your hand luggage, the whole process of getting to your holiday destination with your baby can become part of the adventure, not a necessary evil!
Wendy Shand, founder of TotsToTravel.co.uk gives us her top tips to make travelling with a baby a breeze:
1. Plan your time
Decide how long you need for each part of the journey – then add some! Allow for longer than normal feeds (lots of distractions to look at in an airport!), a little exercise if they are crawling (find an empty gate or ask if there’s a play area) and emergency changes before boarding or getting back in the car.
2. Hang on to the buggy
Remember you can usually keep it right to the steps of the plane, a lifesaver if it’s Gate 99 of 100!
3. Seating plan
Unless you are in your own car, getting to the airport can be tricky without your car seat and there’s the onward journey to consider too. Check with your airline well in advance as some will allow you to check in your car seat as luggage.
4. Check in
Do it online or get to the gate early if you can – being forced to sit apart and pass your little bundle back and forth is a hassle you can do without.
Everyone’s appetite seems to increase when travelling so pack extra bottles and healthy snacks (check with the airline for their policies on what you can carry on). If the timing works out, a well placed feed at take-off or landing, or a dummy, will help to protect little ears.
The message here is to be prepared and provide variety – a selection of lightweight, stimulating soft toys or colourful story books won’t take up your baggage allowance and some new ones brought out at strategic moments can work wonders.
Don’t forget any essential comforters and for the sake of the other passengers’ sanity, no squeaks or loud rattles!
For toddlers, colouring books (with magic, mess free pens!) can provide a welcome distraction as can games such as snap or noughts and crosses. Interactive learning systems, such as those by Leapfrog, are brilliant, and portable DVD players are now much more affordable – a new DVD of their favourite TV show makes irresistible viewing if the plane doesn’t have inbuilt TVs.
Call the airline and ask about a bulk head seat where they may be able to provide a small crib. If not, consider taking the mattress from a moses basket or pram to lay them across your lap.
For more tips on travelling with babies and young children, go to www.totstotravel.co.uk. The company provides family friendly self catering holiday properties in Europe, all of which have been visited and vetted to ensure that they’re 100% family friendly.