Before we had children, Mr U and I had lived in the US for 3 months doing lots of traveling, as well as taking regular holidays and weekends away. Travel is something that we both really enjoy and love to do.
Obviously, when kids come along it can slow things like that down, cost-wise especially, but if you can afford it (and babies don’t cost much to travel until they’re two), then having a baby shouldn’t stop you from visiting where you want to visit. I’m a big believer in making kids fit around you, rather than the other way around.
I have had quite a bit of experience with taking babies on holiday as I’ve even travelled on a 10 hour flight with a 10 month old, by myself. I will be making another solo flight next week with 6 month old Chloe and you know what, if you’re prepared and have everything you need, it really isn’t that bad.
- Be Prepared – Have all documents printed out ready and put in a folder. I find that if e-tickets, visas and passports are all over the place, in amongst all sorts of baby things in your bag, it gets stressful. For travel to the US, as I will be doing next week, it’s also so helpful to have a pen in the folder and the address of where you are staying hand, if you don’t know it off the top of your head). Then when you need to fill out the customs form, you again won’t have to rummage through your bag trying to find different bits of paper or a pen. A small thing that for me (OCD queen), reduces stress.
- Remember it is different – Realise that travel with a baby is different than you were use to as a single person or in a couple. My hubby struggled with this as he enjoyed flying as he could relax and watch films or read a book and would get frustrated when he couldn’t do those things. I have found that if I go into the flight (or train journey etc) with the mind-set that I’m there to entertain the baby for how ever many hours, it really helps. If they are settled or sleeping, then is when you might even think about reading a book (if you didn’t want to just sit there in silence, ha). If there are two of you then you could take it turns as to when each other can chill out for a little bit, but that should be discussed prior to travel. Airports etc seem to stress everyone so you don’t want to add disagreeing to the equation.
- Get a New Toy – a new book or toy (or new to them) will really be a distraction for a little bit of time. Especially if it is perhaps wrapped up. This obvisouly will only work for slightly older babies but I tried it with Max when we flew to Florida with him and it worked a treat.
- Food, Glorious Food – I don’t think you can ever have too much in the way of snacks, food and drink. You can take leftovers with you but it will be a big deal if you have too little food! If they are little and still on milk, make sure you have enough powdered formula with you (or the pre made milk, but make sure it’s one with a screw cap as they’ll make you test it at security). If you’re breastfeeding then nothing to worry about, just have a muslin or nursing cover with you, if you use one. Depending on your babies age, finger foods and little pots of food, with spoons etc are all good. Again, just make sure they are the type with a screw lid so it can be resealed after being tested at security.
- Calpol – call me a bad parent but as I rarely give my children calpol, on the rare occasion that I do, you can really tell the difference! It makes them sleepier which I think can only be a good thing. Just trying to encourage them to take that nap that I know they need 😉
- Ask for help when I flew to Las Vegas by myself, to see my sister, with Max, I asked the staff to hold him while I went to the loo etc – turned out most of them were mums anyway and wanted to help me and brought some extra biscuits and drinks. You can also ask them for things like plastic cups and straws, just to use as a ‘toy’. Max loved (and still does like) playing with straws.
- Chill – It will go a lot better than you think it will. Do they just constantly cream when they’re at home? No. So why would they when travelling? And lets face it, they’ll eventually fall asleep 😉
What are your tips for travel with babies? You can read some more travel advice here: http://www.purpleparking.com/travel-advice