Your ul­ti­mate guide to sum­mer travel with lit­tlies

Little Treasures - - CONTENTS -

Star­ing down the bar­rel of a hol­i­day away with kids can be a scary prospect. Will any­one sleep? Will the jour­ney there and back be an ex­tended griz­zle fest? How is it pos­si­ble for some­one so tiny to need so much stuff? The no­tion of a stay­ca­tion at home can sud­denly seem quite ap­peal­ing. But don’t go call­ing the whole thing off – a bit of plan­ning, along with keep­ing some tricks up your sleeve, can go a long way to help­ing you have a fab­u­lous hol­i­day.

Prac­tice makes per­fect

One of my favourite hol­i­day tips came from a friend who is a mother of four. When I com­plained about how the nov­elty fac­tor of the baby and tod­dler shar­ing a room was robbing us all of sleep, she asked, “Did you get them used to shar­ing a room be­fore you went away?” Um, no. We didn’t. “If you want them to be flex­i­ble away from home, get them used to be­ing flex­i­ble be­fore­hand,” ad­vised my well-sea­soned friend. Try to mimic the sleep­ing set-up you’ll have on hol­i­day as much as pos­si­ble be­fore you go. If you have more than one child and they’ll be shar­ing a room, do a few trial runs at home first.

If your baby is go­ing to be sleep­ing in a port-a-cot for the first time, set one up in their room at home to get them used to it.

Day sleeps can be tricky when you’re trav­el­ling – es­pe­cially if you’re go­ing to be out sight­see­ing, or don’t want to be rac­ing back to your ac­com­mo­da­tion for naps. If your baby usu­ally has day sleeps in their cot at home, start tri­alling on-the-go naps in their buggy so that you can be adapt­able with sleep­ing lo­ca­tions while you’re away.

More sleep saviours

Portable black­out shades and buggy cov­ers can be re­ally help­ful if your lit­tle one needs dark­ness to nod off (the one down­side to long, sunny sum­mer days). Baby shops and on­line re­tail­ers such as The Sleep Store have plenty of op­tions for win­dows and on-the-go so­lu­tions, or you could get handy with tow­els and draw­ing pins over the bed­room win­dow. Note: al­ways check bed­rooms have ad­e­quate ven­ti­la­tion, and never cover a buggy with a towel or blan­ket as it can over­heat your baby.

Re-cre­ate the home bed­room as much as pos­si­ble – if you use a sleep-train­ing clock or night lights at home, make sure they’re in the suit­case along with any spe­cial sleep snug­glies and the sleep­ing bag. If space al­lows, throw in the usual fit­ted cot sheet you use at home.

If your lit­tle one is used to a quiet house for sleep time and you’re go­ing to be shar­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion with friends or rel­a­tives, in­ves­ti­gate white-noise op­tions to help block out un­fa­mil­iar sounds (there are a whole host of apps and de­vices to de­liver white noise). An elec­tric fan is great for this pur­pose as well as keep­ing the room cool in warm hol­i­day spots.

Are we there yet?

Eas­ily the most daunt­ing part of any hol­i­day: the jour­ney there. We’ve all either been or seen the par­ent with a howl­ing baby on a plane, or the par­ent in a car who looks like they want to be any­where but where they are right now. Keep­ing busy lit­tle peo­ple en­ter­tained and still, isn’t al­ways an easy task.

By air

Front pack Our front pack was my best friend on many a trip. Nav­i­gat­ing check-in, cus­toms halls and bag­gage claim is a much eas­ier process with two free hands and a baby who can see what’s go­ing on. Fol­low­ing a dis­as­ter flight with my 10 month old, I quickly learned to pop her in the front pack at the first sign of frac­tious­ness on the plane. On most flights we took, I could be found bob­bing up and down at the front or back of the plane with a small per­son at­tached to me.

Um­brella strollers When they’re too big for the front pack, travel um­brella strollers that fold up to al­most noth­ing are a life­saver – par­tic­u­larly for in­ter­na­tional travel with long walks be­tween ter­mi­nals. Progress is much faster, and your shoul­ders are then free to carry your enor­mous car­ryon bag­gage, be­cause… Props Even though you’ll feel like a pack horse (and will be lim­ited to 7kg), it’s a good idea to have an arse­nal of en­ter­tain­ment with you for air travel with lit­tle ones. Books, toys, sticker books, ipad/tablet, head­phones, treats – load them all in and ig­nore your “no more than 20 min­utes of screen time per day rule”. One of my favourite props for the tod­dler age is a small etch-a-sketch. No felt-tips or pen­cils to scram­ble af­ter on the plane floor, and it’s great to take along to cafes/restau­rants on hol­i­day as well. If there are tears about eras­ing the pic­ture be­fore start­ing a new one, you can al­ways take a photo of each mas­ter­piece on your phone (our hol­i­day snaps are heav­ily pep­pered with “my favouritest draw­ing!” pic­tures). Take more than you think you’ll need: With food and clothes, less def­i­nitely isn’t more. If you have a flight de­lay, you’ll be grate­ful for the ex­tra bot­tle or packet of crack­ers, and if there’s an up-chuck or leaky nappy, you’ll ap­pre­ci­ate the changes of clothes (for baby and par­ent). My hus­band shook his head in dis­be­lief at how much I’d packed into our carry-on the first time we flew. But when we ar­rived at our des­ti­na­tion, our baby was down to just her nappy and a manky cardi­gan, and I was in a sin­glet not re­ally de­signed to be worn as out­er­wear.

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