Over Pippa’s 20 months in this world, she has in fact done quite a bit of travelling. At 9 months old we took her to Gran Canaria, at 11 months we took her to Santorini and at 19 months we took her to Cyprus and each involved a lot of planning. As we have travelled so much with Pippa, I’ve been asked by lots of family and friends for advice, so I thought I would write down my top tips for travelling with a baby or toddler!
- Plan & Pre-Order
As Pippa has got older and the more we have travelled, the less I’ve panicked about it but the first holiday definitely required the most planning. As babies don’t get a seat on an airplane until they are two and with it, a luggage allowance, packing is a challenge, and as we all know babies have THE most stuff! We opted for using our two large suitcases for our own clothes and one of our hand luggage allowances for a cabin suitcase for Pippa and the other cabin luggage as a joint rucksack. However the nappies we shared across everything as there was just so many!
Having a baby who was still having milk 4 times a day as well as 3 meals, I didn’t know where to start with what to pack food wise for her, let alone how much space it would all take up of our minimal luggage allowance!
With Pippa being formula fed, we usually used the powder but as this would mean sterilising water whilst we were away, on top of sterilising the bottles, we decided to take the pre-made 7oz cartons of formula. Now for those who haven’t worked it out, 4x 7oz cartons of milk = a lot, so we decided to pre-order it, along with some Ella’s pouch meals and fruit pouches, to the Boots at the airport terminal. This meant that we didn’t have to use up our precious luggage and weight allowance and as we were collecting once we had gone through security, there were no issues. Harry then filled up his (rather heavy) rucksack with the goods and away we went!
2. Don’t Fret About the Flight
Flying seems to be the biggest worry but on all of our trips I’ve actually found the flying part fine! (up to 4 hours anyway!). On all of our trips I have packed Pippa’s bottle of milk, a cup of water and some food into a separate little bag inside my own so that when it came to security I could easily lay it all out in the tray without a faff. The security staff then call you to one side, scan everything and check it and give it straight back.
Travelling with a baby or toddler also means you get a bit of preferential treatment, getting to go through a separate security for families and early boarding (I’m not sure that’s a good thing though!) and obviously you are allowed to take your buggy right to the gate.
3. Pack Lots to Play
On the flight itself Pippa has always been great and happy to sit on our laps and play or sleep. I think people often think ‘oh I must get the baby to sleep on the plane!’ however I found when she slept the hardest! It meant I couldn’t move the entire flight and that meant I was so uncomfortable. Obviously some flight times can’t be helped and if its night time its night time but I definitely prefer a daytime flight with a baby/toddler, maybe with an hour nap squeezed in!
We took a bag of toys to keep Pippa entertained each time and now that she’s older it was actually easier to keep her entertained. We bought a few books and this water magic colouring book which kept her entertained for a good while and can be used again and again. We also uploaded some of Pips favourites to the iPad but surprisingly we didn’t use it as much as I thought and only used it to settle her down for a sleep.
4. Work With the Time Difference
We also found that on the holidays where the time difference was 2 hours ahead, we kept Pippa to UK time so she could then eat dinner with us at 7ish (5ish UK time) and could stay up until 9 for a little play (or boogie – on two occasions we were at weddings!) when we were out before we put her down to sleep in the buggy. It also meant she would wake at 8am rather than 6am – giving us a little lie in!
5. Spray Suncream
We had always bought spray suncream for Pippa, in particular the Nivea one that comes out blue so you can see where its going and ensure everything is covered. However it always ended up in a bit of a mess and clothes being coloured blue or coated with suncream. That was until our most recent holiday I discovered the aerosol spray suncream! It’s SO much easier to spray all over a wriggly baby or runaway toddler and its mist like quality is cooling too!
6. Pack a Paddling Pool
It may sound silly when you’re likely off to somewhere where you’ll be sat by a swimming pool all day, however we found a little paddling pool was a great way to keep Pippa out of the sun and cool as we could position it under our sun shade wherever we were sat. It also kept her entertained for ages and she was able to play in the water safely without us worrying she’d fall in the giant pool whilst playing at the waters edge.
7. Bring a Good Buggy
As mentioned, baby’s come with lots of equipment and knowing what and what not to bring is key. Firstly we invested in a good buggy. We opted for the Silvercross Pop as we wanted something that reclined right back for her to be able to sleep flat in for naps and evenings when we were out for dinner and the Pop was the flattest I’d ever seen a buggy go! It also came with a UV protected hood that pulled fully over the pram so Pip was completely covered, not only for the sun but also general wind/noise around her. And of course it was lightweight and folded easily – very important!
8. Block Out Sun With a Blackout Blind
Before we bought the buggy we had also bought a SnoozeShade, it’s universal to fit any pram or buggy and blacks out the sun and light but allows air in and out so doesn’t create an oven underneath – I would definitely recommend. Something similar we always bought with us but never had to use due to the hotels having blackout shutters, was the Gro Anywhere Black Out Blind. It’s essentially a giant stick up black out blind that packs down very small so is perfect for blacking out a room when its baby’s bed time if needed!
9. Keep Sterilising Simple
For our holidays when Pippa was under one and we were still sterilising we used travel sterilising bags rather than lugging our entire sterilising equipment with us, especially as it required a microwave and we weren’t sure what the hotel facilities were. With the bags we just filled with water and added a sterilising tablet. I think it took about 1hr to sterilise but you could keep everything soaking in the bag until you needed it. The only issue was the smell from it was rather strong and toxic so we had to keep it in the bathroom or near an open window.
10. Buy a Travel GroBag
However my all-time favourite holiday/travel purchase for babies and toddlers is the Travel Grobag by The Gro Company. We bought a 1tog one last year for the really hot holidays and this year we bought a 2.5tog one as it was a bit cooler in Cyprus so early in the year. The genius thing about them is that they have an opening at the back and a two way zip at the front to allow it to be used with a 5 point harness. This meant we were able to put Pippa to sleep in her bag and strap her into the buggy to go to sleep when we went out in the evenings, then once we got home we could transfer her to her cot without waking her or taking her out of the bag. We also used it when travelling to and from the airport when transferring Pip from her cot to the car.
Hopefully that covers most things, we certainly found that doing and using the things I’ve mentioned above definitely helped make travelling with a baby or toddler easier and hopefully it will help you too!