Top Tips for Travelling with Children Under 2 Years Old
The little things...
Some people are scared of travelling with children, especially babies. Truth be told I am a little too, but to me it is 100% worth it. When you arrive at your destination the weight will lift and you'll know straight away that you have done the best thing.
I have a few tips to make it a little easier. Things I have found that make it a much easier experience, I am not saying it will be stress free because with kids is anything 100% stress free? Doubt it.
1. Always book and plan as much in advance as you can.
Know where you are going, where you are parking, how long the journey is and where you need to be well in advance. I was a pro at doing all of these the night before or not at all before kids, it didn't bother me. But now, I need to be prepared, the least number of things whizzing about my head on the day of the travel the better. This could be whether you're flying off somewhere nice and hot or camping in wales. Same same.
2. Check all documentation, passports, the lot.
First up remember children's passports don't last as long as ours so check those. Have you got holiday insurance sorted? Have you printed off boarding passes etc and directions for when you get somewhere? Put them all in a nice folder (Ben will smirk here, I don't do this part, he does!) and to hand when you should need them. You don't want to be scratting about for things or scrolling through your millions of emails on your iphone late at night or after a long flight.
3. Leave extra time. FOR EVERYTHING.
Always build in extra time with children than compared with travelling alone, children don't do anything quickly. They wander about, explore, are interested in EVERYTHING! I always try to get my head around this and remind myself this is why we are on holiday, to make memories and spend time exploring. They just take a little longer about it than us. This starts even before you fly – allow extra time for things like going to the loo, sick stops (yes it happened to us on the way to Manchester airport once - delightful) when travelling to the airport to make sure you’ve built in enough time to make it to your flight on time. We once had to race to our gate to go to Italy because our parking bus didn't come on time - we won't be parking off site again - lesson learnt - money saved but brain mushed and tears almost running by the time I sat on the plane!
4. Packing - This is a tricky one for anyone.
Ben is a light traveller, small bag with the necessities in and he is done. I have never been brilliant a at this, until I had to share my case with a small human who certainly doesn't travel light. Remember clothes can be rinsed and washed easily, put in a tube of travel wash and you'll be sorted. You may think you'll need to pack for all eventualities but in reality you won't need a smuch as you think you do. Lay outfits out, mix and match things, think about how quickly they'll dry, that kind of thing. You'll be fine. And hey if you miss anything it won't matter, you will make do or as long as you aren't in the middle of nowhere then you will be able to get hold of most things in other places.
5. Nappies, Food, Medicine.
I ALWAYS take calpol - in my hand luggage. Just in case. You can never be too sure with children. I also take a thermometer in my case, I am a bit neurotic when it comes to illness, I like to know when they have a temperature and like to watch how it is effected when calpol has been taken. It helps put your mind at ease. I don't think I have ever used it when away but it is good to know it is there if I should need it. With babies I always take nappies, not too many, enough to get me through a few days until I find a shop to stock up a little more. The same principle goes for food.
You might cringe when you read this - the iPad is a little safety net. For those times when you're sat in the airport waiting and you don't want your toddler whizzing about getting lost. For those early evenings when it has been a long day and you just want some peace, with a glass of wine and the toddler is tired and grouchy and not even a walk will do. But obviously pack a few books, Daisy loves her little dolls, anything to keep them busy for a few hours when needed.