Travelling with little people in tow is a whole different ball game than my usual trips abroad as a singleton.
It was a steep learning curve and I admit there are things that with hindsight I would do differently, but with the help of some extremely awesome twitter peeps and my own pre-planning, our trip was a success!
I've put a few helpful tips together based on our experience. Please feel free to comment and add your own too!
Making the experience a walk in the park (beach?)
Planes and trains
The loud hum of the cabin can frighten little ones. It may be a good idea to forewarn young children about the noise so it doesn’t come as an unwelcome surprise. Investing in a good pair of reusable earplugs will also block out the noise and prevent cabin pressure issues!
Bring loads of books with you to keep everyone entertained. Books that you can read together as well as colouring books will be invaluable! We also loaded loads of educational apps and
some children’s films onto our iPad too.
(Quick tip: bring some blue tack with
you, put the crayons into a plastic cup and fix it onto the cup space on
the seat tray, that way you don’t have to worry about stray rolling crayons!)
Some car hire companies will include car seats and booster seats in the price quoted whilst others will charge you a considerable amount for the honor of renting one. We used a company called Torremar Car Hire
(which is family run) during our time in Spain, they met us at Malaga airport and included a booster seat free of charge. What also set them out from the competition was the fact they accepted debit cards for payment. I seem to be the only person not to be aware of this, but the majority of car hire firms operating out of Spain (and I've been advised some of the US too) only accept credit cards to pay for their hire, even if you used your debit card to reserve the car in the UK!
Definitely worth reading the small print here or bringing your credit card if in doubt as the last thing you want is to be stranded at an airport with a tired toddler, tonnes of luggage and no transportation!
Accommodation- Self catering
If you have a young baby, you instinctively
bring all the bottles and sterilising equipment that you’ll need without even thinking about it. Toddlers and pre-schoolers may not fare well with the cutlery and crockery provided in your self- catered accommodation so do pack the cutlery, plastic plates and cups that they are used to. It’s more ergonomically friendly for young children to use cutlery made specifically for their smaller proportions and also limits the chances of flying food and broken china!
Accommodation – Hotels
Always check ahead and make sure you confirm what equipment they have available for your little ones. Most hotels are now extremely child friendly and will have travel cots/ bed guards etc all provided free of charge but this may be something you need
to book in advance due to stock availability.
This is where Google is your friend! Check if there are companies offering baby equipment rental in the area you are travelling to. This is a good way to cut down on the amount of things you need to take with you. Car seats, push chairs, travel cots,
stair gates etc can all be hired at very reasonable rates.
Rental services can be extremely handy when you are staying with family and friend’s homes who may not otherwise have the equipment you need. Most companies ask for a small deposit which
is fully refundable when you return the hired goods.
, the Baby Equipments Hire Association lists hire companies for the UK, Spain, Cyprus, Denmark and the USA.