We are a family who loves a good old weekend away. We can’t afford to go on one big holiday during the summer, so instead we take our holidays as and when we can get them. We love a good camping trip or Groupon hotel deal and enjoy breaks away both in the UK and in Europe. If we can drive there, we’ll go there!
Having a new baby presents a whole new set of challenges though. Whether we have bagged ourselves a cheeky staycation deal or we’re off on an exciting weekend of exploring Europe, we will need to pack a tonne of items and clothes for baby Oscar.
This prompted me to do a little research into the most efficient ways to pack for a holiday with a baby. I’ve compiled this list not only for myself, but also with the intention of helping other parents who might be wondering where to start!
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Top Tips For Going On Holiday With A Baby
It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared so make sure you pack plenty of spare clothes. With a baby you have all sorts of potential accidents, including sick ups and poonamis, so don’t get caught short!
Pack outfits in ziplock bags – include everything you need for the outfit, including socks and add a little label so you know what you’re looking at. When you’re packing your bag, this will save space but it also makes it so much easier once you’re at your holiday destination to find clothes without digging through your suitcase for ages. The ziplock bags can also be used to store dirty washing!
Buy yourself a cheap stroller from a second hand site such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or Shpock. The chances are that this stroller/buggy will be knocked around a fair bit and could end up being scratched or dented.
Consider a wrap or carrier. These will make getting on and off the plane a lot easier and you’ll still have your hands free. I use the Baby Bjorn Classic carrier for our travels as it’s handy for travel but also for adventuring – you can’t go on a hike with a buggy!
Make sure you’ve read up on baby bassinet restrictions and know the weight of your baby. Most aeroplane companies provide bassinets for your baby if you’re on a long haul flight, but do check beforehand. There’s also a great guide to the best travel car seats for 2018 which you can view here if you’re after a portable car seat for air travel.
It’s handy if you have a bottle ready to feed during take-off and landing as it will help settle your baby and prevent their ears from popping.
Do Your Research
Find out ahead of time where you can find and buy nappies, formula and other essentials. That way, you don’t have to pack these bulky items in your luggage and you’ll also know where to get more if you run out.
If you are bottle feeding, take more formula than you think you’ll need, even if you’re picking some up when you get to your holiday destination. Again: be over prepared, not under prepared. If you’re traveling by plane, you can pre-order formula that can be picked up at the airport; just check the airport’s website for details on what stores will do this.
When breastfeeding, make sure you’ve researched the laws regarding public breastfeeding before you go!
Don’t forget to take out travel insurance if you need it with a trusted insurance company such as Bupa Global.
Coping With Long Journeys
Whether you’re flying, driving or taking a ferry, the journey may be long and tedious for your baby. Make sure you take entertainment along with you. For flights, it may be handy to take a toy/activity with you for every hour of the journey. If you’re planning on flying with your child’s car seat, a car seat for air travel carry bag is a great idea. I would struggle with a good 16 hour long flight, so it’s no wonder the kids get bored.
If you have a newborn baby who is still napping, consider setting off on your trip at the same time they usually nap. When we go on long drives, we have always changed and fed Oscar just before leaving and left just before his nap time. That way he is settled and asleep within minutes.
Download a white noise app on your phone, or pack along a small white noise toy to help drown out noise and help your baby sleep.
If you’re staying in a hotel or rental cottage, phone ahead to see if they provide cots/travel cots for your baby to sleep in. If not, you’ll need to pack a lightweight travel cot but make sure you take something along to pad out the bottom of the cot.
It may be worth taking some blackout blinds with you too. I’ve stayed in places that don’t even have curtains!
Try and stick to your normal routine as much as possible! Babies and kids thrive on routine, so sticking to what they know and what they’re expecting is best for everyone!
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