Holiday With Baby - What You Really Need To Take

30 April 2012

If two weeks of rain haven't done it for you then perhaps the fast approaching summer school holidays will. If your children are under school age then you really want to make most of that fact now. Especially as the government is getting even tighter about taking term time holidays.

Travelling with children, particularly babies, isn't unfortunately all about which resort you're going to. You also have to figure out what you're going to take. When I first travelled with my son he was just two months old. I had a huge wheelie suitcase, almost entirely filled with things for him. Going on the plane I had a change bag, and another wheelie cabin bag. Again entirely filled with things for baby.

There's some law of physics in there I'm sure. The smaller the baby, the more you have to take on an airplane. Fast forward to the same child aged two, and all I had to take was a drawstring bag with some toys, snacks, and a change of clothes. One single change of clothes.

I was totally flummoxed though. Really, what DO you need to take?

Sleeping

At the age of two months, and again at three months, I found the Samsonite Pop-Up bassinet was perfect. It was tiny, light, and so easy to set up. As I was staying in a mix of places - hotels, friends, family - it was also adaptable to my needs.

Kerry-Anne however took her 3 month old baby off to Malta and just adapted a drawer from the hotel's dresser. "I took it out, and had a large fleece that I used for his naps at home. I put towels underneath to add a bit more softness".

On the other hand, Tom and Cherie asked me "why not just pop baby in the bed with you? It isn't like you're going to be getting up to anything with the baby in the room with you anyway."

Hotels generally provide travel cots, but it is a good idea to call ahead. Linda told us that "we were staying at quite an expensive hotel in Malta. Even so I checked the hotel's website and saw a note that travel cots were limited and must be booked in advance. So we did that, and when we arrived there was a couple very upset at reception as they hadn't done this, and there was no cot for their toddler."

Feeding

If you're still sterilising bottles, take a few disposable ones with you. These can be bought from places like the larger Boots stores. Handy if you get stuck in an airport without feeding facilities, or on an airplane.

I bought a travel steam steriliser when son was little. It was just big enough for two bottles. We were going to Canada and it was utterly useless. I hadn't thought to take into account the difference in voltage!

I did have Lindam steam steriliser microwave bags. Now, these are a godsend. But if you're going to be staying in hotels you'll have to hand them over to staff to put in the microwave for you. This involves a little bit of trust that they'll follow the instructions!

If you're using formula, see if your baby will drink the pre-made cartons. This will save you having to fuss about with finding sterilised water etc.

Getting about

You really don't need to bring absolutely everything that you would have at home. For just a two week or less you will be surprised at what you can do without.

A stroller probably isn't one of them though. If this is the first of the folding ones you're buying (sometimes they're called umbrella style strollers) then consider whether or not you really want to take it on holiday with you.

It might get bashed about in the hold, for example. And what if the airline loses it?

Rachel opted to buy a new, cheap stroller when they went to Morocco for a 5 day break. "We picked up a stroller for £30 in a sale, and took that with us. It got a bit bashed about negotiating the bazaars in Morocco, but it didn't matter."

What travel tips do you have for parents with babies?

TOPICS:   Nursery Furniture   Newborn

5 comments

  • Emma Kelly EDITOR
    Depending on the age of the child, reins / harnesses can be very useful. We went on a cruise when my little girl was just learning how to walk. We did laps of the cruise ship with her on the harness to entertain her, and it prevented her from about 50 falls aloing the way :) And always pack their favourite teddy bear :)
  • flyingirl
    An additional consideration for taking a stroller (defo not one's expensive pram system) - on a recent Easy Jet flight, I was made to sign a disclaimer that they would not be held accountable for any damage to my pushchair or car seat. On the previous flight with Thomas Cook, our old travel system's umbrella fold pushchair went into the hold without any protection and came out battered. I mean the plastic bits were shattered, fabric was in tatters, metal frame all scratched up, the hood torn off and the foam on the handles had a big bit gouged out of it. It must have been caught in some machinery somewhere. We got some compensation but had this have happened on the EasyJet flight, that would have been buy buy another £100 to replace.
  • TamsinOxford
    This is a great feature!
  • LynleyOram
    good tip Flyingirl. I was really worried about that happening too. I had a stroller bag, which I bought from Mothercare, but I don't know if that would have helped if it got caught in machinery! On one trip, early on, we had no choice but to take the travel system with us. I got a big roll of plastic wrap, the kind they use on furniture (you can buy it from places like Staples), and a roll of bubble wrap. Wrapped the bubble wrap around it and then did it up with the plastic wrap. On the return journey, we found some plastic wrap at our destination and used it. In some countries, like Australia, there are kiosks in the airports that will do this for you. People get their suitcases wrapped up partly for protection from damage but mostly so that no-one can slip anything in there (there were some cases in Australia where drug runners were doing this by bribing baggage handlers). Would be good to have this in other aiports though too.
  • LuschkaPP
    I took a really expensive travel system to South Africa for my sister to use and it was in it's travel bag and everything, and when I got there bit had been stolen out of it - a clock and temperature gauge out of the handle bit - I was furious!! I had arranged to take it for her, but if I was ever flying anywhere and needed to take wheels, I'd buy a cheap stroller too! And I'd disagree about not being able to get about without a stroller. My oldest at 2 years old had been to 18 countries and seen every one of them from a sling in either a back, side or front carry! My biggest tip would be a variety pack of things to keep toddlers occupied in transit. That and plenty of snacks!

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment