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Tips for booking a holiday & travelling with a little one!

Winter may be fast approaching but that doesn't necessarily mean you can't still enjoy a little sunshine! Many people choose to jet off on last minute holidays to beat the dreaded winter blues. Of course, when you've got a baby or young child, doing anything spontaneous can be pretty darn difficult but not entirely impossible! Whilst I'm yet to take Arthur abroad, we have been on a few rather spontaneous UK holidays this year, so I thought I'd share some of my top tips for booking a holiday and travelling with a baby. Whether you plan on jetting off somewhere before the season ends, enjoying a staycation or are thinking of booking your summer holiday early, I hope you'll find some of these useful...

Ask for a travel cot and highchair
Most family friendly holiday accommodation will give you the option of using a travel cot and highchair, so make sure you request them. Thankfully all the places I've stayed at have had travel cots but one didn't have a highchair, which wasn't ideal at meal times. Luckily I had the Totseat with me! Keep in mind that not all holiday homes will have stair gates either.

Extra Note: Booking with a website like Tots to Travel will make finding the perfect family acommodation easy. You'll easily find a place with everything you need for your little one from cots and highchairs to sterilisers, baby monitors, changing mats and more!

Get a passport for your baby
Your baby will need their own passport if you're holidaying abroad. Sometimes they can take a few weeks to get, so make sure you send off the paperwork in good time. If your little one already has a passport, check that it hasn't expired prior to booking your holiday.

Check the baby / child seating requirements with your airline
If you're travelling by plane, it's a good idea to check the seating arrangements. Firstly, make sure you reserve seats as soon as possible, so you have the peace of mind that you'll all be sat together. Babies under two years old can often share a parent's seat, using an extended seat belt provided by the airline. However, over the age of six months, they can have their own seat if you're prepared to pay for it. They are likely to need their car seat to sit in, so check the airline's requirements. If you're going on a long-haul flight, you may also be able to request a carry cot for a young baby.

Pushchair or no pushchair?
Something else you need to consider is how you will carry your baby on holiday. If you're going on a plane, you'll need to check that they will take your pushchair or buggy and whether they charge extra. When looking for holidays, I've come across family accommodation that actually includes a pushchair for you to borrow while you're there, saving you from having to take one with you. It's definitely worth enquiring, before making your decision. Of course, there's always the option to take a baby carrier, particularly if you're going on a beach holiday, as pushchairs aren't so practical on sand!

Buy a bath plug
It's a good idea to invest in a universal bath plug - not all holiday accommodation has a bath but one of these can turn a shower into one. The alternative is to buy a travel-friendly baby bath like the Munchkin duck bath we used.

Dress your baby in comfortable clothing
You wouldn't wear something uncomfortable or restricting to travel in, so why should your baby? I tend to put Arthur in something like a vest and sleepsuit  if we're travelling a long distance by car. Tops and dresses (I imagine) can bunch up in car seats, which may be pretty uncomfortable. Remember to pack at least one outfit change in your bag or hand luggage, just in case.

Buy removable window shades
These will help to protect your baby from the sun. Even in winter time the sun can be pretty bright and obviously, it's UV rays can still cause damage.

Check your baby car seat
Make sure that your baby's car seat has been installed properly. If you're using seat belts - are they threaded around the seat correctly? If you're using an isofix base, have you got it correctly installed? Make sure you also secure all luggage down in the boot of your car to help prevent accidents.

Plan plenty of stops
It's important to make sure your baby isn't sat in their car seat for extended periods of time. Whether you're travelling a long distance to the airport or you are going by car to your holiday destination, it's important to plan plenty of stops. Be realistic - your journey is going to take you longer than it would have done before you had a baby. That's just how it goes!

Extra Note:It may be worth planning your journey so that you're travelling when your baby usually sleeps - so through the night (I'm laughing to myself as I write this, as Arthur still wakes up through the night) and early morning. Obviously it's important to make sure you're not tired yourself.

Don't forget their toys
Toys obviously provide a great distraction on journeys, so don't forget to pack their favourites. If you have a young child, it's likely they might be a little nervous going on a plane, so I imagine having their favourite toy (or dummy) with them will provide some comfort.

Make sure you pack enough food, drinks and snacks
Whether you're travelling by car or plane, it's good to stock up on plenty of food, drinks and snacks for your baby or young child. Hand luggage restrictions on liquids don't tend to apply to baby food and drink, so you'll be able to take your baby's milk, whether it's expressed breast milk (obviously you can breastfeed on a plane too), formula or cow's milk. You can also take baby food in your hand luggage. If you're travelling by car it's good to have ready-made snacks for your baby as I've found there isn't always a great deal of choice at service stations. If you're exclusively breastfeeding, make sure you pack enough snacks for yourself!

Extra note: I've read that feeding your baby (breast or bottle) can actually help to distract them from the discomfort of their ears popping during take-off and landing when travelling by plane.

Baby wipes are your best friend
I think this is something you learn within days of becoming a mummy anyway but when you're travelling with a little one, baby wipes are the answer to everything. Make sure you pack plenty, wherever you're going and however you're travelling. 

Pack a baby first aid kit
If you're travelling abroad, check to make sure your baby doesn't need any jabs before they go. It's also worth packing a baby first-aid kit, whether you're going on a staycation or abroad. This should include general first-aid items (like plasters), as well as infant paracetamol (Calpol) and other supplies like teething powder.

Enjoy yourself!
Booking a family holiday and travelling with a baby may feel daunting but it doesn't have to be as stressful as it seems. With a little extra planning, you can have the peace of mind that you will survive the journey with your little one and have a wonderful time once you get to your family-friendly destination!

What tips do you have for parents booking holidays and travelling with babies?
Post in collaboration with Tots to Travel.
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