The holiday season is the perfect time for a family vacay, whether that’s escaping to the beach or celebrating with your extended family. Understandably, travelling with a baby during this hectic period can seem a bit daunting. However, with careful planning and the right gear, your holiday with your little one will be an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Here are 10 essential tips for travelling over the holidays with a baby or toddler.
1. Start Planning Early
Don’t leave your planning to the last minute. By getting it done early, you’ll be able to plan what to bring, make any necessary reservations and be prepared for any surprises along the way.
Make a checklist of items you’ll need, such as nappies, baby food, and all your baby travel essentials. Be prepared for various weather conditions at your destination and include appropriate clothing, blankets, or sunscreen on your packing list.
2. Take Advantage of Baby-Friendly Accommodations
When booking accommodations, look for family-friendly options. Many hotels offer cribs, and vacation rentals may come with baby-proofed spaces. A comfortable and safe environment can make your stay more pleasant for both you and your baby.
3. Travel During Off-Peak Times
The holidays are a busy travel season, so aim to travel during off-peak times to avoid overcrowded airports and roads. Early morning or late evening flights might be less congested, and you can find quieter times to hit the road.
Whenever possible, book direct flights to reduce the stress of connecting flights and layovers. Airports are extremely busy this time of year and you can reduce the possibility of missed flights by keeping them direct. Dealing with long delays while travelling with a baby or toddler is not fun.
4. Choose the Right Travel Essentials
One of the keys to a successful trip with a baby is having the right gear on hand. A baby carrier is a versatile and invaluable baby travel essential that allows you to keep your little one close, which can be especially comforting during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
Additionally, consider a travel stroller that can be folded compactly and fits in the overheads on some airplanes. This eliminates the need to check it at the gate, saving you precious time and preventing potential damage or loss of your stroller.
5. Check Airline Policies
If you plan to bring a stroller on the plane, check the airline’s policies regarding stroller sizes and carry-on items. Make sure it meets their requirements for overhead storage. It’s also a good idea to contact the airline in advance to confirm their policies and any special provisions for families traveling with babies. Some airlines even have bassinets for babies on long haul flights.
6. Pack Lightly
Travelling with a baby often means packing more items but strive to pack as lightly as possible. Bring only what’s necessary and consider what you can purchase or rent at your destination.
While you don’t want to overpack a well-organised nappy bag with essentials such as nappies, wipes, changing mat, baby food, and toys is a must. Throw in some extras in case of any delays!
7. Be Ready for Security at Airports
Keep your baby essentials well-organised in your nappy bag, and use clear, resealable bags for items like baby food and formula. This will make security checks at the airport easier and help you quickly access what you need during the journey.
You may need to fold your stroller to put it through the x-ray machine, so make sure you have everything out of the pockets. Sometimes you can get through security with your baby in a baby carrier but be prepared if you are asked to remove your baby.
8. Plan Around Your Baby’s Schedule
While it’s not always possible to stick to your baby’s routine during travel, try to plan your flights and activities around their schedule. If your baby does better in the morning, that’s a better time to fly. If you think your baby will sleep well on the airplane, you can try to get a flight during nap time.
At your destination, don’t completely throw out your baby’s schedule. Babies thrive on routine. You can bring items to keep a familiar sleep environment and a consistent bedtime routine (books, pjs, bath).
For outings, some babies will do great napping on-the-go in a baby carrier or stroller. You can plan quiet activities at the times you want your baby to sleep.
9. Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Travelling with a baby can be unpredictable, so be prepared for delays and changes in your plans. Allow for extra time in your schedule to accommodate your baby’s needs and any unexpected situations that may arise.
10. Enjoy the Time Together
The holidays are about spending time with loved ones and creating lasting memories. Take time to savor the little moments with your baby, whether it’s their excitement during the flight or their wonder at the holiday lights and decorations.
If you can stay calm and patient, it will help your baby feel more at ease.