Travelling with children can be great fun if everything goes well, but can quickly degenerate into a stressful disaster if things don’t go according to plan. As long as you’re realistic, and spend a bit of time making plans, you should be on for a good time.
Firstly, try to fit your travel plans in with your baby’s routine if that’s possible. When babies and small children get hungry, they don’t understand the concept of ‘waiting’. And if they’ve missed a nap, chances are they’ll get grumpy. If it means leaving extra time, it’s better to be waiting happily, than in a rush with a tired, hungry baby. If you’re in the car, you should aim to stop frequently, every 2 hours or so. Babies don’t like being in the car seat for long periods. Be prepared to stop sooner (if they need their nappy changed or are generally unhappy.)
Make sure you have everything you need with you and have extras (clothes, food, nappies). And when you arrive at your destination have you got everything you need? Car seat, travel cot, equipment
to make bottles or for food. The list is really long and it often feels like you’re travelling with an entourage when you’re with kids. Did you remember their favourite teddy? And the kitchen sink?
Making sure you have everything accessible and leaving lots of time to get to the gate are the keys with air travel. If your baby is breast fed, you might find it an idea to feed them whilst taking off and landing as this can help their ears ‘pop’. (If the airline will let you.)
Make sure you have travel insurance. If you’re going to Europe you’ll need your EHIC card. If you’re going somewhere further afield, check with your doctor before whether you need vaccinations. Being abroad with a sick child is a stressful situation to be in, only made worse by not having insurance. Travelling with children is hard work and it pays to think ahead and make plans. But it’s also great fun, so remember to enjoy yourselves.