Finally, travel is making a much welcomed comeback. I can almost feel the sand in my toes and hear the waves crashing onto the shore, but that warm nostalgic feeling comes with a hard to swallow serving of travel anxiety for most of us, or fear of flying as I call it. That daunting feeling that paralyses parents throughout the land.
If I had a pound for every time an anxious parent dropped into my DMs asking how we do it, well let's say I'd be retired on a beach somewhere by now.
As a family of 6 who travel a lot, it's a feeling I once could relate to oh so well. However, over the years and a few round trips of the globe with 3 children under the age of 6 I've picked up tips and tricks to help fellow mammas rid themselves of the anxiety and dare I say actually learn to enjoy the travel experience.
Today I'm going to share my top tips and hacks with you because travel is
So dust off those suitcases , grab your sunnies because the beach is calling you (kids and husbands in tow)
1 - DON'T PANIC!!!
It's what us mums do best hahaha. Take a deep breath. The trick is to take it slow and leave plenty of time. Yes travelling with kids takes twice as long as going it alone. Check in ... Security ... boarding the plane ... make sure you leave at least an extra hour and all will be fine.
2 -EXPLAIN THE TRIP TO THE KIDS BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Airports, luggage, stressed parents can leave the little ones in a tizz. Try to explain where you're going and how you'll get there to your little ones . Travel is a big deal for children and with many of us not having left our homes in the past year it's a big step emotionally for them. When children know what's coming next, you'll usually minimize tantrums and upset.
3 - DON'T OVERPACK
We all do it ... The average holiday is between 7 and 10 days. No need to pack like you're emigrating. There are children everywhere in the world and unless you're travelling to a less-developing country you'll find it's very easy to pick up supplies such as milk and nappies locally. Most hotels will provide sterilisers, cots, childrens bath amenities and baby food at no extra cost.
TIP - travelling to Dubai? Can't fit the nappies in the cases?... Pre order your shopping online at ocado and have it delivered to your hotel room ready for your arrival.
Baby on board bag checklist:
5 x Nappies
1 x packet of wipes
3 x outfit changes
1 pre-made carton for every 3 hours of the journey ( plus empty bottles )
Snacks ( rice cakes and ellas kitchens pouches )
A small pouch of toys, dummies and teethers
A blanket as airplanes can get cold
4 - ORDER YOUR BABY MILK AIRSIDE
Security can be stressful when trying to carry bottles more than the UK allowance through. Anything that helps make flying with a baby easier, or passing through security a breeze is a good idea in my book. Make life easier and pre-order online your ready made bottles from Boots airside and pick them up once you're through security. ( you can order 2 tubs or 56 ready-to-drink cartons ). When doing your online order, make sure you select the right airside store as some airports have landside stores as well.
5 - DON'T BOARD THE PLANE FIRST
It sounds great doesn't it. Preboarding for families with children. In reality trying to keep a toddler occupied in a seat for a minute longer than we need to is a big NO NO! First to last passenger boarding can take anything upto an hour. Let them run off their energy in the lounge and only board when you absolutely have to.
6 - CHOOSE YOUR SEAT WISELY
This is a trick that has worked for us on numerous occasions. Many flights are configured with a three- five- three layout. The most popular seats being the window and Aisle seats with the middle seats being taken last. Booking window and aisle seats leaving the middle seat free you run a good chance of bagging yourself a free empty seat for the baby to sit on.
7 - PRE-BOOK YOUR CHILD MEALS
Just because you've booked a child ticket doesn't mean they automatically get allocated a child meal. Make sure you order your children's meals at least 24 hours prior to departure on the airline website.
Most airlines will carry extra bottles and baby pouches in case of an emergency.
8 - BAG THE BASSINET SEATS
On long haul flights the front row of each cabin has a bassinet feature. A small travel cot for babies which is strapped onto a pull down ledge. Book these seats early and save yourself a dead arm and a sleepless flight . Happy baby, happy mummy.
9 - TRAVEL AROUND YOUR BABY’S ROUTINE
It's a myth that routine has to go out of the window when travelling with a baby. Where possible try and book a flight time that fits in round your baby's routine. People are always asking us how we get our children to sleep on flights. It's no secret. The truth is we plan them around nap times. 9/10 times the 10am european or 8pm overnight flights work like a dream. Tire them out in the departure lounge, make sure you board the plane last ,give a bottle on take off and fingers crossed there'll be a good few hours of sleep to follow.
10 - ENTERTAINMENT
Entertaining your children on a flight doesn't have to be hard but you do need to plan ahead. Make sure all ipads are fully charged. ( some planes do have charging points but dont assume all will )
Wifi on planes where available is glitchy and very expensive. Be sure to preload the ipads up with all your children's favourite programs before you leave home.
Kids backpack checklist
Playdough ( you'll thank me later )
playing cards / travel size games
2 x packets of lego
1x change of clothes ( pyjamas if on an overnight flight )
11 - JET LAG
It's real and it's a bitch! The rule of jet lag is that it usually takes 2 days either side of travel for a child to customise to their new time zone. Don't constantly say ohhh it's 7pm at home now. You're not at home. Reset as soon as you land and stick to the time zone you're in.
12 - SLEEP HACKS
It can be very disorientating for babies and children in hotel rooms and strange beds. Many babies may find it hard to settle for the first few nights. Children associate smells with comfort and security. I pack a pillowcase from home for the older children and pack a cot sheet or 2 for the baby. I've found familiar smell helps them settle into their new beds and sleep much easier.
13 - FAMILY HOTEL PROGRAMS
Before I finish I can't not mention family travel programs that many hotels run without openly advertising them. Ask about the family specials at time of booking. Many hotels will offer ‘buy one room, get an interconnecting room for the children free’ or at 50% discount. This tends to be an offer only available by booking directly through a hotel.
And finally HAVE FUN!!!! You've got this!!!!! Be prepared for everything to not always run smoothly. It's fine and will make for fond memories and storytelling down the line.
And remember it's never too early to start exploring the world
See you on the beach ....