Planning a holiday with your young baby? Or does the idea make you nervous? Read on for everything we know about travelling abroad with babies and some of our favourite tips to ensure you have a wonderful holiday.
How Soon Can My Baby Travel Abroad?
Babies can travel by aeroplane from birth, but most airlines prefer that the tot be at least a couple of days old. There is no firm do’s and don’ts when it comes to the perfect age to travel – go with what feels right for you and your baby.
Your baby will need their own passport right from birth and depending on your destination, a visa. You will also need to make sure that your travel insurance policy is updated to include your baby.
Of course, there is no need to take your baby on holiday the first year of their life and some parents feel more comfortable waiting until children are older. If your baby is your first, you may prefer to stay at home where you know you will have access to support and care.
Alternatively, you may feel comfortable travelling yourself and want to continue with this after your baby is born and get them accustomed to travelling from an early age. There is no right and wrong way to do this as each family and baby is unique.
When making travel decisions, consider the stages of development a baby will go through in the first years of their lives and plan accordingly.
For example, if your baby is younger than 4 months old it is likely that they won’t mind where their bed is – a hotel, your home or their travel cot. Babies at this age also tend to travel better when they are held and feel secure.
Once your baby is a little bit older, more aware of their surroundings and settled into a routine (usually after 7 months), travelling can start to become a little bit more difficult. But, with proper planning and care, there is still no reason travelling can’t be made easier.
Keep in mind though, that babies can be unpredictable and no matter how meticulously you plan a holiday, an unexpected bout of colic or a tummy bug could lay waste to your careful plans. Always be prepared for everything!
How Should My Baby Travel?
Equipping your family with a great travel system can take a lot of the hassle out of travelling and there are strollers available for all sorts of travel scenarios – we will delve into other areas in another blog post but for now, we are talking specifically about air travel.
One of the easiest ways to fly with a young baby is by using a baby sling or front carrier, this means that once you are seated on the aircraft both you and baby will be comfortable, and you will have your hands free. Although convenient for the flight, you will still need a stroller for your holiday.
Choose a travel stroller from a reputable brand and look for one that is compact enough to be taken on flights. You can travel right up to the boarding gate with most strollers where the cabin crew will take the stroller and store it with luggage. There are now strollers available that are small enough to be taken on board with you and stored in the overhead storage – this makes things much easier when getting off your flight at the other end.
When shopping for a travel stroller, you must also ensure that your baby is old enough for the model you choose. For newborn babies, you will need a travel stroller suitable from birth and lies flat.
Tips for Travelling On Flights With Babies
As mentioned, if your baby is younger than 7 months it is likely that they won’t notice they are on an aeroplane but there are things you can do to minimise the chances of your baby becoming grumpy or unsettled.
If you are breastfeeding, then you will be sorted with travel meals! It certainly makes feeding your baby easier whilst you are away. If you’re using the formula you should find most countries have the same facilities for warming up milk and even if a sign isn’t displayed, most places will be happy to do so. Bottles can be warmed on flights by air stewards and it is said that feeding your baby during take-off and landing can help with any ear discomfort your baby might experience.
Ensure baby drinks water during your flight too – it’s much easier to become dehydrated when flying.
If your baby becomes unsettled during the flight, don’t be afraid to get up and walk about (so long as the seat belt light is off of course!). Giving your baby a change of scenery and holding them in a different position can help distract them or settle them, depending on the reason they’re grizzling.
You can keep handy items in your hand luggage to distract your baby with too – a baby mirror or keys or their soft toy can all come in handy when you need to entertain your baby.