tips for travelling

Well we've just come back from a 2 week trip to the South of France and had a great time. However there were some bits that were difficult or could just have been better. Thought I'd assemble a list of tips as travelling with baby is a common topic of interest. If anyone else has more points then please do add them as I think it would be useful for many of us, especially any strange points of the specifica area you were in.

Airports - if you are using formula milk - ring boots before you go and order what formula you want. Choice is very limited once through security (max of 2 brands for each type) and can cost double UK prices in the Eurozone. Same goes for nappies - such high prices abroad it's worth using boots.
- Don't expect foreign airports to have the same facilities. We were at Toulouse (which is currently being increased in size quite dramatically so has been done up in various areas), and a new looking toilet facilities didn't have a baby change in them - or seperate facilities nearby (WTF - one of the first things you often want to do is change a baby before you set off on what can be another long leg of a journey). Some of them did have change tables, but then no bins to put dirty nappies (gee thanks) and on the way back I did spot a 'nursery' near arrivals hidden under the stairs (and not signed) for which you could get a key from the information desk (really not helpful if you want to get checked in).
We flew from Gatwick and I cannot praise their baby facilites highly enough. They were clean, big enough to take you, partner pram and paraphinalia, well equiped with hand washing facilities, bins for nappies and even disposable covers to pull across the change table.
- watch what toys you put in hand luggage. We had a clear plastic toy phone with beads in it (from the v-tech baby walker) and Toulouse airport picked it up and investigated further. It really wasn't helpful as 3 out of 4 of us had to be frisked, the men were still trying to put belts back on, my arms killed from holding Ciaran out so we could both be scanned twice and we just didn't have the space or the hands to unpack a bag for them on a tiny table, balance the other bags and put the pushchair up!
- get a new toy for the flight (picked this up from BE). Having a new toy was a great distraction. Do your research though and get one that's popular with other babies of the same sort of age and isn't likely to look like a possible bomb on the xray machine!

Flying - useful to have a soother or bottle of milk to use for the ascent and descent to help with the ear popping.
- if using the cheapy airlines like easyjet consider whether it's worth booking a seat for your infant. The costs for us were ??20 (for sitting on lap), ??40 for a seat with no allowance or for ??60 he could have a seat and 20kg luggage allowance each way (very handy if you'd rather take an extra case with nappies, toys etc). If they have a seat you can take a type 1 car seat on the plane for them to sit in provided it meets their width regs.

Feeding - If formula feeding be prepared to know how far you are prepared to compromise. Test milk for security or use mineral water to make up a bottle (or try and blag some drinking water from a coffee shop type place).

Out and about - no every region has yet realised that parents might like somewhere to change their baby. I shouldn't really have been surprised with where we went as most places don't even believe in seperate loos for men and women, and the men often still get a hole in the ground! As you can imagine baby changes were no existant (except for the motorways and holiday village we stayed at) so we did do some changes on street corners and restaurant floors in quiet corners - a good change mat is very helpful here.
- nappy sacks - some countries don't seem to have heard of them so good to take sufficient supplies.
- harness - if you have one it can be very useful as some highchairs are terrible. We were offered one with no straps or front bar (not good for a 9 month old) and many didn't have any form of strap, or a waist only strap which was difficult to tighten. As my Grandfather got curvature of the spine from falling out of his highchair awkwardly it can be useful to have something. A totseat or similar can also be good in case you go to places that don't have them.

Think that's about it but will add more if they come back to me.

Happy travelling. :\)

Posts

  • Just wanted to pull you up on one point - formula can't be made up with mineral water because the sodium (salt) content is really high. So it's best to use boiled tap water and make up bottles before you go out or take formula dispensers and bottles with water ready prepared.

    But the rest are good tips and will be printed out for when we go away x
  • I wish it hadn't necessary to use mineral water but as you can't take more than 100ml of liquid through without testing, and I didn't have time to find a coffee shop that would fill the bottle it was a choice between mineral water or water from the ladies loos and at least mineral water is safer to drink! As a 1 off for 1 bottle the sodium in the mineral water is the lesser of the evils!!!!
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