Holidays with kids are often referred to as "parenting in a different location." But the memories will last forever! They can be tricky, but it's amazing to watch your little one experience new places. And the photos will be worth looking back on years later.
If you're travelling with a little one for the first time, either by road, plane or train, we've compiled the Alf Community's top travel tips for babies and children.
- Time travel for nap times, so they sleep on the journey. Our Founder Sophie often sets off on long car rides at bedtime so she doesn't have to listen to "are we there yet" 400 times between destinations.
- Pack in advance, and make a list so you don't forget anything. Particularly those last-minute items. Have a basic "travel" list which you keep handy which has the essentials listed, then customise that list depending on your destination. This is much easier than writing your list from scratch every single time.
- Take along the "just in case" items you might not be able to easily access at your destination, like formula, a thermometer and baby pain relief. Believe us, you don't want to be waiting around in ED at a regional hospital at 10pm just because you need baby Panadol and the shops are closed.
- If you'll be doing a lot of walking consider hiring a travel pram or baby carrier. Prams that can be packed into overhead storage are great for airports, too.
- Count out how many nappies and changes of clothes you'll need each day. Then add more!
- Have "ready-made" packs of spare clothes (complete with nappy and socks). Pack in a waterproof bag so they remain safe from any spills.
- Don't forget a baby bag for when you are out and about. A maximum capacity backpack, like our Luxe Ari or Luca Backpack, will be essential for long day trips.
- Try and break up the drive and stop frequently (unless they are asleep).
- Have emergency toys close to hand for when they inevitably drop theirs.
- Have extra snacks and drinks available (for you, too).
- For toddlers, a Car Organiser can be a lifesaver.
- Check in with your airline to ask about things like carry-ons, seat requirements, car seats, check-in priority, checked baggage and more. Usually your essentials like pram, car seat and cot can be additional checked baggage. They may even have hire strollers to use while you are waiting within the airport. Make sure you have ample sanitizing wipes in our handy wipes pouch on hand to clean shared items.
- Call your airline in advance and request a bassinet seat. These are usually not guaranteed as they are generally given to the youngest babies as a priority.
- Alternatively, ask about seating arrangements. Does baby need their own seat? A spare seat between you? Exit row for additional leg room?
- Long flight? Try to choose an overnight trip so baby can sleep for most of it.
- Take extra nappies, wipes and snacks / bottles.
- Pack a changing kit for quick access to nappies, wipes, cream and bags.
- Have something on hand for take-off and landing; breastfeeding, a dummy or a milk bottle to help unblock their ears.
- Transport to and from the airport can be tricky. Either bring your own car seat or locate a pre-book a car ride service with one.
- Unpack a suitcase and use it as a makeshift "toy box" to reduce clutter.
- Find a safe space for your baby's cot, and try and replicate their home space like darkened room or white noise.
- If you can, try a few "practice" sleeps in a portacot or in a different location, like the grandparent's house.
Some tips from Mums in our Alf Community
"Recently did first plane trip with my 2.5yo toddler - pack lots of snacks, fill a drawstring bag of mini play dough, stickers, impulse stuff (fidget spinners, pop its), squishy balls, water magic art / magic ink - mess free drawing is a massive hit! Let natural inquisition kill time (think clicking seat belt and pushing window shade up/down gazillion times). Basically hold out on iPad as long as possible and have chocolate for last resort bribery (like putting seat belt on for landing)! My daughter was also toilet training and 'Baby U Potette Plus' is so compact to fit in back pack." - Siobhan
"One piece of advice I was given was to wrap small items/toys in paper and at different intervals, bring one out so they can unwrap it and play with it for a while, and when boredom strikes, bring out another one, and so on." - Kim-Ling
"Take a spare set of clothes for the adults travelling with the child/children on a long haul plane trip; especially for when the 2 year old accident knocks your drink into your lap. Also 'Fly Babee' for babies and 'Plane Pal' for toddlers make the plane trip so much more comfier (note, check with your airline to ensure these are allowed). I also baby carried at the airports too, and then an easy to fold stroller for my toddler. Triangle crayons are best as they don't roll off the airplane tables as easily as the round ones." - Amy
What are your top travel tips? Share them with us below!