Holidays with kids – My Top Tips
Let me start by saying, travelling with kids is no mean feat, I am by no means a pro but we’ve managed to get away a couple of times and have lived to tell the tale so I thought I would share some of my top survival tips, plus ideas on what you should pack. I have a blog post all about travelling with a toddler HERE. I wrote this some time ago (before I was a mum to two) but all the same tips apply. (You may find this old post useful too)
Travelling with Two….
I thought it was time to do a brand new post, whilst most of the same advice applies, travelling with TWO kids is a whole new ball. And to think I was stressed flying with one.. Lol!! It’s divide and conquer! Strap in, stay cal, deep breaths and have a good old giant glass of wine when you arrive safely at your destination! 😉
With only Anabelle we flew maybe 3 or 4 times. We’ve travelled twice now with the two girls; the first time Luna May was just turning 5 months and Anabelle had just turned 3 and then just recently (January) when Luna May was 7.5 months. Observation number 1? The younger the better, it is SO much easier to fly when they are tiny, it starts to get a whole lot tricker as they grow. So, if you are thinking about it, go for it, before they start on solids is an especially good time (so newborn to 6 months) because it’s one less concern or thing to have to worry about or pick for.
The first holiday we went on was to Lanzarote and the second holiday was Gran Canaria, both have similar flight times of around 4 hours 30 minutes.
What to Pack
Sleep/ Bed time
- Light/ low tog grobag – Both my girls use Grobags. For holidays I bring 1.5 tog grobags
- Anabelle sleeps in a shorts pj’s / light weight jammies
- Luna May, at home she sleeps in vest and babygro, for holidays she only slept in her babygro
- Any sleep associations you may use – For us that is certain bedtime stories, both the girls have ‘Bunnies’ which are their comforters and they only get these at bedtime, as well as Ewan the Sheep – again we use this at every single bed time at home.
- Any special blankets they sleep with – We brought these on the flight, any sleep, or smell associations for bed time are really helpful to maintain good sleep and routine on holidays
- Sleeveless vests x 4 (you may end up not suing vests at all but handy for cooler days or nights), sleeveless is best
- Babygros x 4 or 5 (Bring some non bio washing powder with you in a small zip locked bag and you can always wash some of the baby bits)
- Cardigans x 2, the key is layering so its great to pop on a cardi if the sun is hiding behind the clouds
- Dresses or rompers x 3 ( Casual baby clothes)
- Evening clothes – By this I mean more dressy dresses for Luna May, depends on the resort you are in and if it’s very casual or if you want to dress them up at night at all (some evenings I put Luna in a nice dress while others I just put on her babygro so she was ready for bed)
- Swimsuits x 2 (I like the ones that cover their legs and arms, particularly for very small babies. You can get some great ones on Boots online, Mothercare or Next)
- Sunhats x 2 – Always good to have a few !
- Bibs (feeding bibs and dribbelers) x 6
- Muslin clothes x 3 (Carry 2 bibs and 1 muslin clothes in your carry on luggage)
- Extra dodies (and the little boxes or caps to keep them sterile – again more relevant for younger babies)
- Calgel/ teetha gel or any teething related relief you use
- Chewing/ hand held toys – I out all these in a freezer bag and carried within my hand luggage on the flight. Keep in mind Luna is 7.5 months so she is bang in the middle of the phase of wanting to always be chewing on something!
- Nappies – I ALWAYS bring enough nappies to get me through at least 3 or 4 days, I just don’t want to have that panic of arriving and having to go to the shop straight away. You will off course get nappies out there so this is just my preference
- Nappy bags
- Bum cream for nappy rash
- Water wipes (I brought 3 packs on this holiday!!) The only ones you could buy in the Canaries were strong scented ones and I hate using scented wipes on the girls)
- Calpol and Nurofen (always good to have in case needed while away)
- Snufflebabes – it’s basically baby Vicks, its great if they are blocked up or get runny rose etc
- Baby carrier – We have a the Ergo Baby 360 and find it very handy
- Light weight stroller. We have the Babylon YOYO. It is so so light weight and folds so small. See it here
- Swim nappies – These are readily available in most holiday destinations in the local shops, however, like the nappies, I am a control freak (lol) and always feel happier packing a few to get us through the first few days)
- Feeding – If you are breastfeeding this is not applicable. If you are bottle feeding, which I was on this trip, we rented a steriliser (the hotel arranged), as well as a microwave and a floor baby seat which all came in very handy!! If you google where you are going you will most likely find a nearby company that will rent out any of this kind of baby equipment
- Following on from the bottle feeding, bring plenty of bottles – We brought 6 (Luna is on 4 feeds a day). We brought 3 on the flight – only 2 were needed in both cases but better to have more than less
- Also bring PLENTY of formula, it’s heavy but a necessity. Luna May is on a specialised formula so we knew it was not available out there
- A bottle brush for cleaning your bottles
- A little mini tube of fairy liquid. I just put some into one of those mini travel containers you buy in Boots, if you arrive in late and bottles have to be washed and sterilised you will need this!
- Monitors – If baby or toddler sleeping in a separate room (i.e. like a suite or interconnecting room) you may want to bring monitors for your peace of mind.
- Baby Food – Luna May was at a tricky stage for this holiday; I only began weaning her on to solids when she was 6 months so it is still early days PLUS she has reflux so weaning her is NOT straight forward. I brought a cooler bag and stocked up on Pip ~& Pear baby food – This is fresh baby food and my number 1 pick for baby foods if you are travelling etc (Normally I cook everything she eats and try to avoid jars / pouches of baby food)
- I also brought some Ella’s Kitchen pouches. Well, boy am I glad I did! The selection of baby food in the shops out there was limited, very limited and almost all fruit based so it was a challenge. Plus a lot of the food in the buffet in the hotel had added salt, or cream etc so was not suitable. The staff in the hotel were so helpful and gave me plain mashed potatoes several times (I added some pouch mixes to this). I also brought Ready Brek with me and again, I could add some of the baby pouches food to this too. I was able to get the likes of bananas, avocados but it was a struggle. When she is older it will be much easier, and when she is eating more, right now was just a tricky stage as she is so early on in weaning. I will definitely be bringing even more Pip & Pear on our next holiday
- Any additional specific medical products you may use on your baby when he/ she is unwell. Always best to have your own with you as you may not get the same out there
- Suncream – Factor 50
3 Year Old/ Toddler
Now this is WAY EASIER. in fact, travelling with Anabelle the last two times has been easy! Honestly! It was much, much harder when she was around the 15 month mark (I still remember that flight!!!)
In terms of clothes;
- Sundresses x 5 or more – I bought and have lots of these over the last year. I love the t-shirt cotton dresses from Next, easy to take on and off. She was always in such a rush to take it of and get into her togs every morn and that little dresses are just tech easiest, and perfect for the beach too.
- She didn’t wear shorts once as she said ‘I don’t have time I am busy mammy!!”
- Cardigan x 2 for evenings or cooler days
- Leggings x 1
- Vests x 3 (although on this trip she didn’t wear a vest at all)
- Sun hat x 2 (one always gets wet)
- Crocs for day time. Sandals for evening (make sure they are well worn in before holidays, deffo don’t want ‘duchies’ on holders)
- Swimsuits x 3 – She would be in and out of the pool non stop so its always good to have a dry one in your beach bag. I got most of her swimwear from Next too
- Hooded towel – SO handy!
- Dresses for evenings – My little lady loves her style and so a ‘party dress’ for the the kids disco was a must !!! I brought maybe 4.
- Snacks – Anabelle is ALWAYS hungry and on every holiday I’ve been on with her the local shops never have good snacks like we get here at home (Like the Organic range or rice cakes or any of those handy ones you get in the supermarket!
- Small toys – She brought some ‘My Little pony’s’ and one barbie
- Books – AB is a bookworm so she insisted on a few books which is good for bedtime routines in the evenings too
- iPAD – so so so handy for flying, we had a few movies downloaded and this entertained her for the flight. I also have some fun apps she likes to play. There is a great Peppa Pig one that she loves and really helps pass the time
- Earphones – for the flight. She was happy out wit her snacks and her iPad and not a moments bother did she give
- Pull ups – She is potty trained but not over night yet so she still wears her pull up at night. I also put a pull up on her for the flight as she can be a bit scared going to the loo in unknown places so I knew the toilet on the plane might scare her. plus in case of turbulence etc and you can’t make the toilet on time.
- It is never as bad as you think it is going to be
- Be prepared. Be over prepared. If you think you have been through your hand luggage / changing bag enough – then do it at least once more!!!
- Do NOT worry about other passengers, focus on yourselves
- Try, if or at all possible to book ‘reasonable’ flight times, sometimes it is not an option but crazy early morning flights or very late at night flights are hard on kids. It will mess them up for the first day or so over there or on the way home
- Mammy carry one bag and daddy have a rucksack. Each know what you have in each. We had a bag each and a third hand luggage bag which carried the ‘overflow’ items like blankets for flight or extra beds that didn’t need to be in the main bag.
What to pack in your hand luggage
- For baby – IF you are bottle feeding, bring about 3 bottles, have the boiled back water in your bottles from your home and the powder separately in a powder dispeser. (if you use the ready made stuff thats great even easier, Luna’s formula is only available in powder form). Oh and bring a fork or a spoon for mixing on the flight, it gets messy
- For baby – bibs, muslin clothes, change of babygro and vest, nappies, wipes, mini hand sanitiser, changing mat, bum cream, poo bags, dodies (have lots), hand held toys for chewing (only if baby around Luna’s age) and a blanket for sleeping.
- I feed while flight is taking off to make sure she is sucking and to avoid her ears popping.
- Another tip is to pop some teething gel or a chamomile syrup on a dodge if you are struggling to get them to suck and are worried about their ears
- Luna May was due a solids feed on the flight, plus it helped pass by some time for her, so I had a Pip & Pear pot with me and a spoon. I keep everything in separate little freezer bags so it is easy to access everything, as space is so tight on the flight.
- For toddler – ALL the snacks, as many as you can fit!!! iPad or portable DVD player, headphones, pull ups and/ or spare underwear. Plus her social ‘bunny’ which has dodies attached – she only gets this at night time usually but we obviously let her have it on the flight and it always ensures she is sucking. If your toddler doesn’t take a soother, dare I say maybe a lolly pop?
- some small, new toys, don’t sepdm much, go to the pend shop and pick up a few small bites. Sticker books, mini play doh, colouring books or anything like that will help.
- Anabelle didn’t asleep on any of the flights we have been with her, neither this time, nor when she was much younger, she just never sleeps outside her normal comforts but that’s ok and she was absolutely fine
- Luna May slept about an hour on the way out (out of a 4.5 hour flight) and only a half hour on the way home. The flight on the way home was hard with her, she was over tired and it was tough going. but sure look, we lived to tell the tale didn’t we? And it was SO worth it
With regards to security and baby food or baby formulas, I only had boiled back water in the bottles and the powder formula separate – they will take the bottles away briefly to test them but it is no problem at all. And we have never had issues carrying any foods that were for baby.
I remember when Anabelle was very small and I truly thought there was no way I would ever fly with her, I was absolutely terrified on her first flight but she has always surprised me. They always do. Luna May too. I still get nervous before a flight with them, but I know now we can handle it and always keep in mind if its going awful ‘This too will pass’. No ‘normal’ passenger will be irritated if a baby is crying.
Wow, that was probably the longest blog post I have ever written. I am quite sure it is riddled in typos but I am falling asleep now as I type and I still have all the holiday washing to catch up on, but I knew if I didn’t write this post while all of this was still fresh in my mind, then I wouldn’t have probably done it at all.
I hope you find it helpful and if I have forgotten anything (and I am fairly sure I have), please leave a comment below and I will add it to the blog post
‘Til next time