Many of us love travelling. And before children, we are often savvy when packing and we are used to being able to work – or even relax – when travelling.
However, travelling with a baby or child (from the baby stage until around 5 years or so) takes on a very different level where patience and the ability to be practical are key. Even so, for many parents, travelling suddenly becomes quite anxiety ridden and challenging to say the least.
Below are some tips on how to make travelling that little less stressful. However, our first tip is that you need to survive the journey and, if your child is no longer a baby, don’t worry about being healthy and not giving them snacks. You have all the time in the world to be healthy when not confined in a small space.
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- Bring changes of clothes not just for your baby, but also for you and your husband. It is amazing how much ‘explosives’ can come out in all directions and you never know when or how many times. Karin has sometimes gone through a change of tops twice on a long-haul journey. Her daughter had to change outfits three times on their first flight to New York when she was 5 months old.
- Pack extra things in your hand luggage in case of delays. Not just nappies, but extra formula, food – anything in case of delays or luggage getting lost.
- Karin used to pack the baby monitor in her hand luggage together with the Braun thermometer (which is still going strong 12 years later!), calpol etc and especially after one journey when their luggage got lost and they ended up quite stuck for some things they desperately needed and initially couldn’t get.
- In her hand luggage Karin also has different little bags for everyone with various extras. These bags by Ow-Travel are great for being organised.
- For your checked in luggage, split the packing up so that should a suitcase get lost, you don’t end up losing everything for one person.
- For travelling with babies, Karin recommends always having a sling with you as it is likely you will need to walk that aisle a lot with your baby. Having a sling makes it so much easier. You might not always get to bring the buggy all the way to the gate, or sometimes when you disembark, you might have to collect the buggy with the rest of the luggage or at the bulky/outsized luggage area, so there are several reasons why a sling is great to have to hand.
- There are bags by Gate Check that you can use for car seats and other things. Bear in mind that both car seats and buggies can frequently arrived in the oversized luggage area and not on the conveyer belt where the suitcases arrive. You may also not be able to pick your buggy up at the gate even if you were able to drop it there when boarding.
- When travelling (and flying in particular) with babies and very young children, Karin’s mantra is to always expect the worst and you might actually find that it is much easier than expected.
- For take-off and landing, it is great for the baby to nurse or drink from a bottle in order to help alleviate with potential ear pressure pain. Using a dummy can also work.
- Karin’s second mantra is: ‘I will never see these people again!’ It is good to repeat as you are bound to have some flights that are just unbearable when your child is unwell or unhappy and screaming the flight down (that has happened so many times to us), they don’t want to do what you want them to do etc.
- For anyone whose little one gets motion sickness, Karin feels for you. Both she and her daughter suffer from it very badly. They both have to get seriously drugged up before they go on any journey with movement. How you manage it is very individual and you usually find a system that works for you, eventually. Until you get there, it can be quite challenging though.
- If you are going somewhere with a time difference, Karin has found that the younger your child is, the better and more easily they cope with the time changes. However, regardless of their age, she would always go straight into the local time and follow your regular timings at home. You may all be more tired in the first few days, but Karin has found that works better than trying to do it gradually. The same applies upon returning to home.
- If you go somewhere frequently, it can be worth getting a cheap high-chair and cot to keep there so you don’t have to think about that every time.
- When Karin’s children were little, she always brought their used bedding and sleeping bag (i.e. she brought these items unwashed) with her so that when they went to bed for the first time in a new place, at least they could recognise some of the usual smells and everything was more familiar to them.
- If you go on frequent long-haul journeys, it might be worth investing in something like the Stokke JetKids or similar. However, do note that some airlines won’t accept them.
- Keep Em Quiet have travel packs that are great. Karin also used to get her children to pick a kiddy magazine at the airport which they were only allowed to open once they were airborne and that used to keep them happy and occupied a lot.
- Lastly, travelling with little ones is all about surviving the journey. And when they get older, keep those snacks coming. You can eat healthily when you have arrived.
Buggy & Car Seat Cleaning
You can easily clean your car seat and buggy in the washing machine and bathtub. However, if you are unable or unwilling to do so, these companies offer various cleaning services.
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