Holidays don’t have to be a thing of the past when you’ve become a parent, but many parents feel nervous about the practicalities of travelling overseas, especially by plane, when they have small children. It really doesn’t have to be traumatic though, as long as you take some time to prepare before heading off to the airport.
If you are flying long haul, ask about bulkhead cot seats when booking. Many airlines carry small cots which attach on to the walls of planes and mean you’re not stuck with a baby on your lap all the way to Florida. Children under the age of 2 are generally expected not to have their own seat and to travel with a parent, but there is nothing stopping a parent buying an extra seat if they wish. Most airlines, the budget airlines included, will let parents and small children board first so they can get settled. They will also provide a special extension seatbelt for children travelling on an adult’s lap.
Rules about what you can and cannot take through airport security confuse many parents, especially when it comes to baby food and milk. You are allowed to take a small quantity of sterilized water or ready-made milk through security, but be prepared for security to inspect it, and they may ask you to drink a little to prove it really is milk. You can also take pureed foods, yoghurts and other food you will need for the flight through security, but as most airports have chemists selling cartons of formula or other food after you have passed security, it may be easier to buy them before you board the plane.
What to Take With You?
Most holiday accommodation will be able to provide you with a travel cot and high chair, and many may also have strollers and changing mats available. Make sure you mention when booking that you are travelling with a child. Airlines will generally carry one piece of equipment such as car seat or pushchair free of charge, but again, you have to let them know what you will be bringing. Depending on where you are travelling, it may be unnecessary to take a fortnight’s supply of nappies, milk and food with you. Many of the familiar brands from home are available overseas, so take a few nappies to do the first 24 hours and buy the rest when you get to your destination. This can also work out considerably cheaper than paying baggage charges to take heavy cans of formula or packs of nappies with you.
Small babies burn easily, and it is wise to keep your baby out of the sun as much as possible. Small UV tents can be easily packed in your case and used to protect your baby on the beach, and a parasol for the pushchair is a wise investment too. Special baby sunblock cream with a factor of at least 50 is also recommended for Mediterranean or tropical destinations.
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Morag P writes for a large range of blogs and websites on subjects as diverse as family and music. Read here her great guide to travelling with a baby! To find out more, go to Morag Peers’ Google+ page.