For many, the idea of heading abroad on your first family holiday with a little baby or toddler can be somewhat of a daunting idea. There are so many things to remember, take into account and plan for, that some new parents give up on the whole thing before really giving it much thought.
Well, I thought I’d try and give you a bit of gentle encouragement by giving you a few things to consider before booking your family holiday. Hopefully you’ll see that it doesn’t have to be as stressful as you imagined.
1) Interconnecting rooms
Maybe you’re travelling in a big family group, or you have older children who you’re worried won’t want to be woken up by your baby during the night? Interconnecting rooms are perfect for opening up your living space for everyone during the day and then providing a bit more peace and privacy at night time. Many hotels have these, so it’s worth checking when booking.
2) Kids’ clubs
Obviously, family holidays are all about spending quality time together. But sometimes either the kids may get bored or you and your other half might find yourselves in desperate need of a bit of peace and quiet; it’s fine to admit that. In which case, choosing a hotel with a kids’ club is almost vital to a fun-filled and stress-free holiday. Your kids will love our Lollo & Bernie Kids’ Clubs, which cater for children aged 3-7 years. Then there are the Junior Clubs and Teen Clubs for the bigger ones too.
You have a couple of options here. If you’re travelling with your little one on your lap during the flight, then a travel cot is one of the four items that you can choose to check into the hold free of charge. If you’ve booked a seat for your infant, then you’ll need to pay for the travel cot to be taken with you. However, another alternative is to book a hotel that can provide cots for your use. You may want to check the measurements of hotel cots abroad though, as they can differ from ones in the UK.
4) Flight times
An important thing to bear in mind before you book your holiday is the flight times. Certain (but not all) destinations have some pretty unsociable outbound or return times, so it’s worth checking these before getting your heart set on a holiday. If possible, you want to try and book a holiday where the flights won’t affect your baby’s sleep pattern. If your child’s a little bit older, have plenty of things packed in your hand luggage to keep them entertained. But if it’s crying that you’re worried about (which can’t be helped), some parents have taken to leaving little notes ‘from the baby’ for neighbouring passengers, sometimes even accompanied by some sweets or earplugs.
5) Car seats
Like cots; car seats are another item you can take on holiday free of charge, if you’re travelling with an infant. They’re definitely worth considering, even if you’re not planning on hiring a car when you go away. This is because often, people suddenly think about their resort transfer and don’t realise that most destinations won’t provide a car seat, as the laws differ from over here. So if you’d feel more comfortable with your child using a car seat (and who wouldn’t?), don’t hesitate in taking one with you.
And again, like cots and car seats; push chairs can easily be taken on holiday with you. Just because they’re big, doesn’t mean you have to immediately dismiss the idea of having yours with you. They’re yet another item that families with infants can take on the airplane free of charge. If it’ll make things easier having it with you, then don’t leave it at home.
7) Baggage allowance
Okay, this is a biggy but, as explained in more detail on our Flying with Children page, your baggage allowance does differ when travelling with small children. If your baby or toddler is travelling on your lap during the flight, then you can choose three of the following four items to take with you free of charge for your child: 10kg of hold baggage, a travel cot, a car seat or a pushchair. If you need to take all four, then one must be part of your pre-purchased hold baggage weight allowance.
If you’re paying for a seat on the flight for your child, then the 10kg free luggage allowance no longer applies and a travel cot must also be part of your pre-purchased hold baggage allowance. You can still take a pushchair and car seat free of charge though, if your child is under the age of two.
Infants sat on your lap don’t have a hand luggage allowance; anything such as toys and blankets etc. should be in your own bag. However, you as a parent or guardian are allowed to carry baby food on board in addition to your own hand luggage. Making sense?
This one, I’m sure, is common sense to all, but is still worth a mention. Even if you love the sun and don’t think somewhere is too hot, chances are it still might be for your baby. There are, of course, the obvious risks that getting too much sun can bring. But also, too much heat can make for very tired and grumpy children, and no one wants children to be grumpy on holiday. So be sure to check the average temperatures for any destination you’re thinking of going to.
9) Board basis
Keeping things simple is the key when taking young children away on holiday; it’s all about spending less time stressing and more time having fun. Picking the right board basis is really important when planning your holiday. If you’re keen on something like Self Catering so you can get out and explore more, then make sure your hotel is in a really good location in the heart of a resort. Alternatively, All Inclusive is a great option for families. That way, everything is taken care of for you and you can just sit back an relax.
What have I missed? What top tips would you give to help parents plan for travelling with little ones? Let me know in the comments below.