© 2019 The Real Mumma

TIPS

FOR TRAVELLING WITH KIDS

I have done my fair share of travelling. I'm the person that chose travel over career and got it out of my system in my 20s. I've been a tour guide in Europe, worked in hotels, a travel agent in both business and leisure and helped people grow their travel franchises. Now that we have the kids, the way we travel has completely changed.

When Harvey was just 8 weeks old, we took him to America and then as a 1 year old he went to Europe and Dubai too. It can be difficult if you are not organised and there is a lot to consider! Even a domestic trip, which we often do to see the grandparents can be a test! And now that we have a 2 month old and a 2 year old, we have just done our first trip as a foursome to Broome.

I've put together some of my travel tips for anyone that is travelling with babies or toddlers soon. Please tag a friend if you know anyone that might find it useful xxx

 

FLIGHTS

 

  • Passports- make sure they have at least 6 months validity. Any less, you will not be allowed on an international flight. Allow a couple of weeks to get one or renew one. Remember that babies need a passport too for long haul. A Medicare care will suffice for domestic. 

  • Fly to suit when they usually sleep.

  • Flying direct is great to get it over and done with but for long haul flights, have a look into different stop over options with different airlines. A stop in Singapore, Dubai or Auckland can be fun for a night or two for example! 

  • Bassinets- call the airline and book the seats with the bassinet option on the flight if your child is younger than 11 months.

  • Wraps-if you have a newborn or baby, a stretchy wrap or carrier can be handy for navigating around the airport and on the flight. You can have them sleep in it and still use your hands and sleep too. Some security check will make you take it off though, depends who you get. If bub is sleeping, make sure you give the look of ‘please, don’t make me wake them’.

  • Seats- if you don’t want a bassinet, stay away from the bulk head seats (front row seats) if they are older than 1 year old. You can't raise the arm rests, which means you can't allow your toddler to lay their head on your lap, stretch out legs and go to sleep, plus, this is where they put most of the babies on long haul flights too and you don't want babies keeping toddlers awake. Stay away from the toilets and where they prepare meals when you have older kids. There is a travel site called seat guru which will let you see the seating map by putting in flight number. 

  • Frequent flyer points- we purposely pay for everything with our credit cards to accumulate points for our travel. From our groceries, to our bills. These points are used for all of our flights and then it doesn't seem like that expensive a holiday! Or we use the points to upgrade to business for a treat every now and then.

  • Ears- feed on the way up and on the way down to help their ears to adjust. With toddlers, make sure they are eating and drinking so they are swallowing and chewing. Do this until they turn off the seatbelt sign. You want to reach altitude. It’s not just the take off. 

  • Time of year- avoid school holidays and peak seasons. The shoulder seasons will be much cheaper to fly- and less crowds!

  • Entertainment- have a special pack for your kids that has new games, activities, food etc they have never seen before. This will keep them engaged longer. If you don’t have time to put a bag of fun together, Very Busy Bags is a company that makes them for you. Keep the activities coming and the healthy new snacks.

  • iPad- have this loaded with all new episodes of their fav tv shows or movie. 

  • Essentials-have baby panadol etc on your flight, bonjella or anything that may ease usually baby upsets 

  • Say hello- introduce your little one to your neighbouring jet setters. They will be a lot kinder if bub cracks it. You could even warm them with some chocolates or a little gift from your kids! Like ear plugs hahah

  • Meet the cabin crew- on our last flight we asked the cabin crew if Harvey could meet the pilot at the end of the flight and it was the highlight of his day! Most airlines will do this for your kids. If you are travelling as a solo parent, tell the cabin crew and they will help you along the way. 

  • Sleep- There are devices that converts the seat to a bed for them. Just check the airline allows them. 

  • Bottles- if you are using formula, have it measured and ready in a bottle and then ask for warm water for take off and landing. Or for milk, just as for some warm milk. Please note that some budget airlines will not provide milk even if you want to buy it. 

  • Walks. I take Chloe especially for a little walk up and down to stretch her legs. She hates sitting for an hour and she gets a little energetic out. 

  • Food- avoid sweets. Nutritious snacks will keep them feeling good. Have a look at the Health Lab range for kids. Sugar highs and flights are evil!

  • Disembarking- before you get off, make sure every nappy is changed and every adult has been to the toilet. Trust me. You don't want to be trying to do any of that while in customs lines or while trying to get to your destination.

  • Most of all, try keep calm. If I get anxious, the kids then gets all revved up so I try and be really chilled and make light of it with the passengers around me. 
     

ACCOMODATION

  • View- Get a room with a view, you may spend a lot of time in it for their naps. If you can splash out and have a great balcony or even your own pool, you won't feel like you are missing out on your holiday. 

  • Hotels- pick a good location so it's a easy walk to family restaurants, beach and activities. So many hotels have kid areas now, kids club and sitters. 

  • Get on good terms- you will need favours. Can you heat up this dinner? Can we have this, can we have that? I would suggest emailing the hotel and telling them you are excited to come. Ask them to have a quiet room that is away from any maintenance works during your stay. When you go for breakfast, be the most lovely couple ever and they will bend over backwards to help you. And there is nothing like a little tip to ensure you get great service next time you go. Consider your room configuration so you can still live when they go to bed at night. 

  • Air Bnb- sometimes we chose apartments or homes on airbnb. If they have good ratings you can't go wrong. Apartments often have a communal pool and homes make everything easy!

 

EATING OUT

  • High chairs- A lot of restaurants don't like babies, especially in Europe! We had a hard time finding a place with a high chair. So, we often fed Harvey before we went out and then just gave him a snack there. 'The Pod' by mountain buggy is a portable high chair. It weighs 1kg and it fits in your luggage. (It's the one I have on my kitchen table for those that have seen)

  • Dinner time- strip them down and feed the kids in the hotel bath. Honestly, this is a huge time saver.

HIRE

  • You can hire just about anything you want while you are on holidays, from cots to strollers or even pool fencing! If you can afford it, hire it. Save lugging it everywhere!

OTHER STUFF

  • Bottles- If you have moved on from breastfeeding, you can use a kettle to warm bottles and even sterilise them. Simply put the bottle of milk inside a freshly boiled kettle to warm it. Or take microwave steriliser bags if you have one in your room. 

  • Disposable bibs- save on washing and get these. Made life easy. 

  • Babysitter- if you have a reputable hotel and a baby sitting service, treat yourself and enjoy a night a exploring and a dinner without poopy nappies and bags of baby stuff. 

  • Baby wipes and sanitiser- I squeeze the sanitiser on a wipe for a sure way to clean a surface when out and about.

  • Don't lose them- in all seriousness, write your mobile on your child's arm if they are older kids that stray. Big crowds can be difficult to navigate.

  • Travel appreciation- give older kids a camera too. A disposable one will teach them to appreciate new surrounds and the joy of travel!