It’s natural to worry about taking your baby on holiday with you. However, you might be surprised to learn that they can be pretty chilled out travellers in the right circumstances. Maintain your usual sleeping and feeding routine if you can (or make sure they have a regular routine if you can’t) and it’ll go a long way to helping you have a relaxed family holiday. Here are five things you need to know before taking your baby away with you.
1. Your baby needs a passport
Yes, really — even if they’re only days old. You can apply for one on their behalf as long as you have parental responsibility. As well as filling in the application form, you need to provide your little one’s original birth certificate and two photographs in the usual passport size. You can pay a local photographer to get the appropriate shots or take them yourself. We’ve got some tips on passports here.
Note: It’s important to make sure your baby has a visa, if necessary, and they also should be covered by your travel insurance policy.
2. Your accommodation should be child-friendly
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about safety and security when you’re looking for somewhere to stay — the more considerate your accommodation is of families with young children, the happier you’ll all be.
What you look for will depend on what your home arrangements are like. If your baby sleeps in a cot, then book a room or villa with a cot, or ask for one to be provided. Alternatively, you could bring a travel cot and some of your baby’s bed linen from home, if you have room.
If they don’t have an item, it’s worth seeing if you can request it for your stay.
3. It’s important to get the right transportation
Some babies will like to be carried close, in which case a sling will suit you (and means you can keep your hands free). If your baby isn’t so bothered about being held, a car seat is also a practical option, especially since it’s less likely to disrupt their sleeping pattern.
If you’d prefer to use a pushchair, buy the foldaway variety. They take up minimal space and are easy for the plane crew to store in hold (if you’re flying) or for you to put in a car boot on road trips. Here are some we’ve compared.
4. You’ll need to leave more time for everything
According to Travel Insurance New Zealand, 25% of travellers admit to missing a flight (head to their website for more fascinating travel facts and stats). The risk of missing your transport connections only increases when you have children, mostly because you have so much more to think about.
To save yourself the stress, leave plenty more time than you think you need to reach the airport (or the train station, or wherever you need to be).
5. You need to make a list of extra essentials
Last-minute packing is a no-no when you’re travelling with babies. Pack their things in your suitcase at least a week in advance, including sun protection, hats, and sunglasses if you’re going somewhere hot, and set aside a bag to take with you in transit.
Everything you’ll need in your bag when travelling with a baby:
- Some favourite toys
- A couple of new toys
- A dummy
- Milk/formula (if you’re not breastfeeding)
- Pre-sterilised bottles
- Sachets or pouches of food (if your baby is eating solids)
- A change of clothes for you and your baby (in case of accidents)
- A basic first aid kit
For more packing tips, you might enjoy this post.
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