I can hear you shout now – I NEED A HOLIDAY! We are under no illusions – going on holiday with babies and toddlers isn’t really a true holiday! Gone are the days when you can sit down and chill out while reading a book, however, I thought I would share a few things that have helped me out and it may help your holiday be a little more like a holiday than a stressful week or two!
The airport – This is perhaps one of the most stressful parts of the holiday! Whenever I come home from Lanzarote airport I always point out to anyone who listens how absolutely fabulous they do it! They have 2 lanes for just babies and children going through security they also have a playpen either side of going through the metal detector machine! So when you have to take your electricals, liquids, baby milk, fruit pouches and water out of your bag and anything else you can think of to go through security you can put your little ones in the playpen while doing this. You then go through the machine and if all good you then get baby and take them through as well. When you are all through you can put them in the next playpen to pack up all your belongings – what a simple yet very effective way to help us parents out! It’s a shame that not all airports help out like this so what I try to do is put everything you are going to have to get out in separate large sandwich bags. This way whether it be on the plane or at security it is easier to manage. You should have a few separate bags for 1. Snacks. 2. Your liquids 3. Any baby liquids e.g milk, water, pouches 4. A small selection of toys 5. Nappies and wipes 6. Change of clothing for them, like a sleepsuit so they are comfy travelling but also easy to carry.
If you have these as different compartments it is so much easier to grab whatever you are looking for as let’s face it, you will never be travelling light!
It seems the last thing in the world you want is your toddler to be running around a busy airport, but trust me – give them some running time, that way on the plane they won’t be so restless! I am the worst for this as it’s so much easier with luggage to strap them into a buggy but I have found I get met with the little one who really doesn’t want to sit still for take-off and landing when I do this! Even snacks don’t help!
I have two very different daughters. If I had my second baby first I probably wouldn’t do as much travel as I do! My first daughter is 3 now and she is an absolute dream to travel with. She will get onto the plane and strap herself in (keep strapped in the whole journey unless Mummy or Daddy are getting up then she likes to come along) sit with a tablet and some snacks and stay still most of the journey (it doesn’t make a difference how long the plane journey is!) I am very lucky with this one! Now getting to daughter number two who is 16 months old. She has been on a fair number of aeroplanes in her little life but she is the complete opposite, she is the one who you get on a plane and pray you aren’t sitting anywhere near! Yes, that’s my little munchkin! The honest answer for travelling with this type of little one is to pack as much small stuff as you can and to keep them occupied with different things! Of course, as her sister is watching the tablet she won’t want to watch it she will want to try and grab it and turn it off or push it off the tray table! Not going down well with an older sibling! So give them something that they have never seen or played with before, this is an excellent distraction, it may be stickers or a few building blocks but something that will hold their attention. To be fair not a lot holds my youngest attention for long! The other way I get through it is to think that I will probably never see any of these people again in my whole life so if it’s a complete disaster then I will just grin and bear it and just think it will be over in a few hours!
Before I had children I will hold my hands up and say I was one of those who rolled their eyes when they heard crying children on a plane… After children, I am the one who is so sympathetic and would try and help out if I could! So I think the majority of people who are on the plane with you, if they are parents, then they will all understand so try not to feel so stressed. Remember it’s true they do feed off you so the more stressed you become the more unsettled they become – easier said than done I know!
Once you have arrived at the resort and settled in, remember they will be tired. Travelling is tiring and they may be overstimulated with all that has been going on so try to keep their bedtime routine the same. If it’s part of their routine – and if it’s possible to – give them a bath and make sure you have packed their favourite sleep comforter or teddy bear. Depending on how hot the resort is or if you have air conditioning make sure you pack their sleeping bag if they have one. If it’s a summer holiday you are on and it’s really hot they may only be sleeping in a nappy or vest and no covers at all which may be a little unusual for them so be sure to pack an oversized muslin to put over them to make them feel secure.
If you are traveling with a baby and have never been to your destination before maybe do some research on the internet and see if they do your formula at the nearest pharmacy (normally pharmacy and not supermarket in a lot of places) for instance Aptamil in Spain is called Almiron but it is in very similar packaging so you know which one to go for. Just be aware you will pay over double what you pay here for it so if you have the luggage space it may be worth taking it with you.
Don’t forget in both ski resorts and sun resorts your little ones will get more tired due to the heat or the fact they are burning lots of energy in the snow so they may need a nap or to go to bed early it’s one of those things that you have to play by ear. If they are good sleepers in a pram then it may be you can get them to sleep in there while you go out for some dinner but it may be that you have to eat a little earlier than normal while away so they go to bed without getting overtired. Last year when we were on holiday Ella was young enough to go to sleep in the buggy and Alicia although she was only 2 wanted to go to mini-disco which was fairly late for her! We let her a few times but realised this disrupted her sleep and she got far too overtired and wouldn’t go to sleep until after 10 which really wasn’t ideal!
I never really liked the all-in-one cover up swimsuits until I went on holiday and realised that the supercute little swimsuit never got worn as all you want to do is protect their little skin from the sun…. they both lived in all-in-one swimsuits with a factor-50 material on and hats when in the sunshine. It was a task and a half to keep a hat on either of them but persistence was the key and we got there in the end…. Apart from being in a swimming pool or out and about where we were in the shade most of the time too which is a must!
If you do have little ones who sleep in the day then make the most of this time to read your book on the sunlounger (that’s if you have one on your balcony/terrace). This is the time that is yours, so make the most of it!
I know you never pack light with children but make sure you have some cool long-sleeved T-shirts and trousers for covering them up in if you are going to be out most of the day.
I would say if you want to go on a holiday but are worried about taking your little ones…. just go for it! Try it out and if you decide its not for you when they are so little then leave it a few years before trying it again but you may be pleasantly surprised!