We are very lucky to have family in France and Spain and at 7 months old Freddie has already been on an aeroplane to France and Spain twice. On this occasion, just last week, I even did the trip on my own. It was a little more tricky getting bags into the overhead lockers, carrying baby and bags onto the plane and putting on the baby seat-belt on without my man to help. Going to the toilet was also a challenge, as was getting toys/books etc out of my very organised rucksack, but it can be done. A little quirk you need to know about me is even when I travel on my own, I pack 3 times. The first time I pack is like I vomit up all my favourite holiday clothes on the bed. During the second packing session, I sort through my clothes thinking about the weather forecast, colours that blend well and shoes that will probably be inappropriate for a trip k, going on. The final packing stint sees me layout all my narrowed down outfits in concession, ensuring I have enough to wear and then add the toiletries. O how times have changed…now all I think about is the baby and I just hope I have enough knickers to see me through!
I hope this blog helps those families off on holiday with babes this Easter, who like me, like to plan for every eventuality, but hate the burden of carrying lots of bags and just want a zen experience when travelling with children.
My top travel tips
Be organised – this is essential if you want to remain smiley, just at your own smugness if nothing else, for not having to empty all the contents of your bag out for the dummy. My advice is get a rucksack. I have a Land Bag, which I bought on Amazon and for me it was perfect. The best bit is there are compartments in the bag perfect for baby things such as: nappies, bottles, toys and you can see everything. This is essential for that face to stay smiley!
Go hands-free – when travelling on your own this is a must and also helps when you need to hold little hands. The bum bag is your freidns and you can find some cool ones out there so don’t be out off. You can access the main essentials: keys, money, phone and passports, car park ticket with the pull of a zip and they will always be close by and accessible even if you have a baby on your hip. The bonus is you can use this on holiday too!
Pack a bag- within a bag. I take a little foldable rucksack because trust me, you won’t want to carry a big nappy bag around on holiday with you. It also gives you permission to take only the bare necessities.
️Take toys and books – when travelling with any children one should always provide entertainment, for some it could be the digital nanny (ipad) for others it might be a good old colouring book and crayons. For littlies I suggest small things to chew and a book to read. but what I found out recently is that my little man loves an old magazine page (quality thick paper) and an empty wet wipe packet – he is mesmerised by the noise. But whatever you decide make is accessible and age appropriate. You will thank me. O and take spares for the nights you might be out….new toys/ activities will give you, at the very least, 30 minutes of quite time.
Find Substitutes abroad – I found an amazing website that helps you know what to buy for your babies when you arrive at your destination. It gives you the names of brands you might use at home and tells you the equivalent of what to buy on your hols. By buying abroad it will give you heaps more space in your bags and will stop mamas like me worrying about what to get in the super market when faced with a mix of foreign options. I bought nappies and milk. check out babies abroad
Smuggle your scent – babies like to smell you and smell things from home so make sure you pack his/hers favourite blanket, his cuddle toy and a few other familiar things like his dummy, toys books or anything you think might make him/ her feel secure. Sometimes even a piece of clothing that smells like you could work. It also helps to have an opaque blanket that you can use to block out the horrible strip lighting and subdue the other stimuli on the plane.
Ask for help – there are nice people out there and if you don’t ask sometimes people will assume you are OK. Also, when travelling as a solo parent, when someones offers to help remember to say yes – I nearly turned down help on this last trip as I had ,managed all by myself the whole trip from Spain to Bournemouth and could have easily got my bags on my own surely….. but when the lovely customs man came to ask if he could help …he was my hero – getting bags and pushchair off the bag carousel whilst holding a 7 month old is not easy. FACT. Be gracious.
You’ve got this mama!