If you’re a first time mum, the thought of taking a new born baby on holiday can be terrifying. For a start there’s the amount of gear you need to transport, the fear of upsetting an established routine or the anticipation of a long journey.
However, travelling with a young baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding, can often be one of the most relaxing holidays you’ll have as a parent. You don’t need to worry about bottles or boxes of formula, and their lunchtime nap means you’ll get a quiet couple of hours by the pool!
Over the last few years, the travel industry has woken up to the needs of parents travelling with young children. There are now specialist travel firms who cater for families holidaying with pre-school children. They provide properties all over the world with all the baby equipment you could ever need including cots, highchairs, sterilisers, toys, change mats and secure pools.
There are even concierge companies who will send nappies, formula, sun cream, Calpol and whatever you request to your holiday destination, saving hassle, leaking products and excess baggage charges.
Once you’ve booked your perfect holiday, there are a few things to think about. If you’re formula feeding your baby, and you need a specific brand, do some research to see if you can get it where you’re going? If your child is on medication, make sure it’s legal for you to bring it into the country you’re travelling to.
Being stuck on an aeroplane can be testing for most children and whilst you can expect in flight entertainment on a long haul flight, you need to go prepared. In our experience, revealing a new toy, packing paper and pens, colouring books, snap cards and a fun camera and all great for slightly older children. With babies, keep a little bit of milk in a bottle for take-off and landing or a lolly pop for toddlers.
On arrival, split the team so one person goes ahead through passport control to get the hire car whilst the other gets the bags – it can save long queues in humid conditions. If you’re arriving late, pack essentials at the top of your suitcase, and if self catering abroad see if you can pre order a few essentials such as bread and milk (and wine!).
Make sure you familiarise yourself with how to reach the local doctor, you wouldn’t be the first mum to find yourself in the middle of rural France with a sick baby at 3am not knowing how to get medical help.
Something to bear in mind is that in Europe, swimming pools are only really warm enough for children to swim in late June through to early September, unless they’re heated. Buying a little boat in resort is a great idea and will keep children amused for hours on land or on the water.
So enjoy yourselves, go with the flow; travelling with children changes holidays, but you’ll find yourself enjoying a wide range of activities you’d never have experienced pre children. And the best thing about holidaying with children, the smile on their faces as you enjoy quality time together as a family.