Travelling with Baby – 5 Top Tips for Success
Travelling with a baby or toddler may seem like a daunting task, but it is achievable and can even be relatively stress-free. A little planning goes a long way; check out our five top tips for tot travel and enjoy a happy holiday for all!
Hong Kong’s geographical position as the gateway between the East and the West lends itself as an ideal travel hub. Whether it’s a quick getaway or an adventure of a lifetime, family holidays give us a chance to relax together, leave our routines behind, bond with each other and create some unforgettable memories for our children. Here are five top tips for travelling for holiday happiness, smooth sailing and a bon voyage!
1. Slow Down
Travelling with babies or toddlers will be a completely different experience from those days when you travelled alone. Change your expectations of the trip and create an adventure that is fun for the whole family. Slow down the pace, relax and most importantly, be realistic. Plan a simple trip and know that it’s alright to rest if travelling gets too tiring for you all. Don’t cram each day with sight-seeing followed by more activities; plan a simple schedule with one or two things to do that don’t coincide with nap times. Remember, the purpose of a holiday is to relax and unwind!
2. Plan Ahead
Choose a destination that’s suitable for the whole family. Time zones, climate and any necessary preparations like vaccinations will play a vital role in your choice. Make sure you leave ample time to organise your travel visas before your holiday!
Research and book your hotel in advance. Does the hotel provide baby bassinets, baby-sitting services and room service? Is there a minibar or a kitchenette available in the room? If you need a bouncy seat, high-chair, baby walker or activity mat, find out if there are any local baby rental services like Phuket Baby Rentals. A hotel that offers an all-inclusive breakfast deal, or is located near a nice choice of restaurants and cafes is an ideal option for young families.
To make your trip smoother, organise a rough day-to-day itinerary. Jot down a list of things you’d all like to see and do, and places you’d like to visit. Slot them into your schedules, taking into consideration hindering factors like crowds, long queues, toilet breaks, snacks and meals. If hiring a car, book in advance and ensure a baby seat or child restraint is available. Make sure you have enough local currency organised before you jet off on your holiday.
3. Get Your Things Together
Consider the climate and pack suitable clothing for the whole family. Be mindful of the little details such as evenings getting chilly, and extra layers required in cold weather. Carrying a mosquito net or repellent spray, and a blackout blind is wise. If you are worried about finding essential baby items at your destination, try companies such as Travel Tots that will deliver bulky items to your accommodation, such as nappies, wipes, snacks and sterilizing equipment.
Pack your hand luggage carefully. Essential items in your carry on bag should include:
- Nappies, nappy rash cream, nappy disposal bags, change mat, wet wipes
- Snacks, milk, formula, baby food and utensils (bring enough formula or milk to allow for flight delays)
- Tissues, plastic bags, bottles, bibs, baby toys, a small towel, and healthy snacks for yourself
- Change(s) of clothes for Baby, a change of shirt for yourself
- Multi-purpose blankets to keep Baby warm or to cover youself, if nursing
- A baby sling or front carrier (recommended)
- Basic first-aid travel kit
4. Fly Peacefully
For long-haul flights, consider taking an overnight flight to encourage your baby or toddler to sleep. Book a bulkhead seat with a baby bassinet (if baby under 6 months old) and dress baby in layered clothing to adjust quickly to changes in temperature. If your toddler is over 2 years old, you are required to book a passenger seat and if you wish, you may bring on board a children’s car-seat. Baby and children’s meals are available onboard and should be booked in advance prior to flying; further information and ordering details can be found on your airline’s website.
For economy class travel, the general allowance for most flights is one carry-on baggage and check-in luggage with a weight of no more than 20kg (44lbs). For infants under the age of 2, the weight allowance is 10kg (22lbs). Check your airline’s website for more information. Arrive early to the airport and bring a lightweight travel stroller to help you conserve energy and time during transfers. Always carry valuables or essential items in your hand luggage in case your check-in bags get lost or misplaced.
Enjoy your flight!
To help with air pressure and avoid popping ears, it’s best to nurse the little ones or give them a bottle. Older kids can suck on a candy during takeoff and landing. Ensure your little ones stay hydrated and drink regularly during the flight. Keep them entertained with stickers, colouring books, crayons and a fully charged iPad full of games. Try and stick to the usual bedtime routines to get the kiddies to sleep. Bring pyjamas, a blanket and their favourite bedtime stories to make them feel comfortable!
5. Make Yourself at Home
Now, the time that you spent preparing really pays off. You have your blackout curtains and the cot is already set up in the room. Child-proof the room and stock the minibar with baby essentials. Use cold water sterilizing tablets or the kettle and bathroom sink in the room to clean bottles, dummies and teething toys. In some countries, it’s generally advised to stick to bottled water even when brushing teeth. When eating out with older children, consider wiping off cutlery with tissue and stick to busy restaurants. Lastly, use straws and avoid ice in your drinks.
Wonderful memories are created when you travel with your children across the globe. So instead of planning a staycation, plan on exploring new countries together! Do your homework, get out there, and discover the world with the very best of company by your side.