Why long-haul travel with a baby doesn’t need to be daunting…
The first year of being a new parent is both exhausting and exhilarating, and one thing any new parent needs is rest… that and gin!
At four months we visited Sardinia, at seven we took to Scotland, and now at eight months we were ready to go a bit further… Miami was calling.
Some of my friends think I’m overly ambitious, but I maintain that everyone needs a break and a baby should not stop one of the greatest luxuries we have. Many have asked for my advice and tips, so voila – here’s 12 things you need to know to survive a long-haul holiday with an infant….
Ten Essential Tips
1. Calpol comes in handy travel sachets, stock up on these for your flight along with magic baby granules and bonjela. You’ll be grateful at 35,000ft! I use the much-loved and needed Trunki to store them in, it’s always easy to find and handy for instant access.
2. Ahead of flying, figure out how much food and milk baby needs, then double it. You can never have enough on you, especially for inevitable delays (we had six hrs). Heathrow is very accommodating, allowing as much as deemed appropriate for your flight. You can also pre order baby food and collect at Boots in T5. Genius.
3. I have a theory that cute babies are tolerated more. So dress your little one up in something special, and get more coo’s than boo’s from passengers! The Mini Rodini range is perfect for travel – their unusual kitsch prints are adorable, with a hint of cheekiness. Since they are lightweight they also allow for layering – which is essential for the ever-changing micro climate that planes seem to have. We chose this onesie with poppers down the side for easy access too. As ever, have a few extra outfits – for baby and yourself.
4. You’re on holiday, make it easy for yourself. You don’t want to be lugging around a heavy pram, you will need something you can open and collapse like the ninja you are. Light enough to collapse and easy for travel in planes, trains and automobiles, our Silver Crosss Relfex was an absolute life saver. Not just for transporting, but also for rocking baby to sleep! Boo was right at home, putting his feet up in the lap of comfort by the pool (see picture)!
5. If you’re going on holiday with a significant other, take it in shifts for baby duty. One takes the morning, or the feeding, while the other gets to switch off. For the first time in a year I finally read a book! In case you’re wondering it’s Steve Coogan’s newly released autobiography – a fascinating read delving in to Leveson, his past loves and of course – Alan Partridge, well worth a read for any fans.
6. Get A good carrier or sling – whatever works best for you. I am wedded to the Baby Bjorn carrier and it comes into its own when I leave the stroller at the gate of the aircraft and have somewhere safe for baby to hang out. Many airports, including Miami, don’t bring the stroller to the aircraft when you land, instead it’s collected with other luggage, so your sling is your saviour.
7. Stay in a luxury hotel. It will pay dividends. We’re talking heated pools, excellent customer service, sterilising bottles, providing a clean cot, baby bath and all the other weird and wonderful things a new parent needs. We opted for the five star Fontainbleau in Miami which not only had all the above, but also five excellent family friendly restaurants on site, so we never had to leave, but never got bored. I always refer to Trip Advisor to see previous comments. (Full review coming soon).
8. Be flexible with schedules. Don’t be a stickler for feeding and sleeping times, jetlag’s a bitch and for a few days you’ll just have to roll with the punches… and screams. Jetlag wasn’t too bad on the outbound and eating at the local time from the moment we arrived helped, as well as lots of exposure to daylight. On the return, it was harder. We paid for better seats on the plane and allowed ourselves to sleep when needed for the first few days, not getting back into a routine for a few days.
9. Prior to flying I’d asked the twittersphere for their tips, @MummyTravels and @Maddiesinclair offered great advice including getting in to your new time zone from the minute you’re on the plane by going for a walk and exposing your baby to day and light in the time zone you’re in – and trying to get a night flight to aid sleep.
10. Prior to your holiday check our the local area and its supermarkets on Google Maps, this will help you figure out what you need to pack and what you can buy. I was surprised that baby supplies cost double in America. Always take enough to get you through the first few days.
11. I deliberated over what grobag to bring for Boo. We were going somewhere hot, yet there’s air conditioning everywhere. In the end I went with the summer grobag – it was a mistake. We should have gone with the warmer grobag, as the room’s a/c was quite powerful.
12. If you have an iPad get the BBC iPlayer as you’ll be able to download loads of Cbeebies programmes to entertain the little one in times of need. And pack lots of fun entertaining toys, to keep the little ones entertained, like this Peppa Pig toy.
So there you have it, my top 11 tips for surviving long haul travel with a little monkey. But that’s not all – check out my next post on what it was like in Miami…
Milk Drunk Diary is an editorial blogzine based in the UK. We buy, borrow and receive products to test and review. Our opinions are always honest and our own.
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