Travelling alone or as a couple is stressful enough without adding a baby into the mix. Whilst the basic checklist will still be the same, e.g. passport, tickets, and travel money, there are some other things you should consider adding to this list to make sure that your first family holiday with your little one goes off without a hitch.
Pack the Essentials in Your Hand Luggage
Rather than taking your handbag on as hand luggage, opt for a small backpack instead. This will keep you hands-free so that you can still carry and tend to your baby whilst giving you more space to fit in everything that your baby needs. Obviously, you will need to stay within the airline’s baggage size limits, but try and find a big enough bag to fit all the essentials in. You can pack an empty handbag into your check-in baggage so that you can still use it when you get to your destination whilst keeping your purse and passport in a side pocket of the backpack. In the main compartment, you will want spare nappies, a change of clothes, wipes, a bottle, and perhaps some Calpol just in case. If you use formula milk, it would be a good idea to purchase ready-made cartons once you have passed through security to avoid confusion over liquid allowances.
Stay in a Hotel the Day Before Departure
Usually, when you shop around for the cheapest flight, you will find that the departure times are often in the early hours of the morning. If you are planning on taking the car and parking at Birmingham airport, for example, a good idea would be to pre-book a Hotel Park and Fly stay online via Birmingham Parking. If you try and make the drive on the day of the flight, you may have to make more stops than you have planned for. Even if you have made sure baby is fed, changed and on time for their nap, we all know this does not guarantee for a non-eventful journey. If you have to make an extra stop, you are adding extra stress to the journey by trying to make up for lost time. By staying in a hotel near to the airport the night before your flight, you will only need to factor in a short walk or shuttle bus journey to the terminal. If your budget won’t stretch to a hotel stay, you may benefit from pre-booking a Meet and Greet service where you can leave your car with a valet driver and walk straight to the check-in desk without wasting time looking for a car parking space once you get there.
Opt for a Self-Catering Apartment
All-inclusive hotels are a great option for some people, but if you are travelling with a baby who is not quite on solid food yet, an all you can eat buffet can seem a bit redundant. There is also the fact that breakfast and dinner times are usually restricted, and when you are still trying to establish a routine, this doesn’t always work in your favour. Rather than booking a hotel with a meal package, shop around for a self-catering apartment that can provide you with all the amenities that you would find back at home. When you know that you have a fully equipped kitchen and perhaps a washing machine at hand, you can also start to enjoy your holiday that little bit more. With an apartment, you will also have the added bonus of a living area that is separate to the bedroom, so when baby goes to sleep you can still enjoy the evening without disturbing them.
Consider a Sling Rather Than a Pushchair
When you take a pushchair on holiday with you, you have to consider the space it will take up in the boot of the car next to all the suitcases. Once you get to the airport, you will also need to keep disturbing your baby to collapse it both through security and at the gate so that it can be put into the luggage hold last minute. If you opt for a sling, however, you can carry baby both through security and onto the plane without having to wake them up from their slumber. Once you get to your destination, it is one less thing to have to worry about when waiting for your bags at the luggage carousel. You may also find that some of the places you wish to visit at your destination are not pushchair friendly, so carrying baby in a sling is the perfect solution.
Taking a family holiday is a great experience, so these tips should take away some of the unnecessary stress and make it one to remember.