I'm happy to have Veronika from the blog A Few Things From My Life here with us today. She has some great tips for travelling with the little ones. Thanks Veronika! As someone with a 4 year old child and a big part of my family living 1000km away across Europe I have done fair bit of travelling mostly by air on my own. The first advice I would give to someone who is going to travel on their own with a baby is to prepare yourself. - It’s stressful. But once you know, you can anticipate that, half of the stress will be gone. Sort of.
But there are definitely certain things which can make it much easier. I know every child is unique, with different needs and character but here are a couple tips from me.
- If you are taking early morning flight wake up earlier, be on time, preferably prepare everything the day before.
- I never bought a nappy changing/baby bag. Most of them do look like “changing bags”, which I really don’t like and having an oversized leather bag just looks so much better and you fit the same stuff inside, maybe even more.
- If you travel on a regular basis to the same place, do not take a pushchair. Get a cheap one on the other side and save yourself the hassle of folding and unfolding and broken nails. If that's not the case buy something light, easy to be folded and nothing too expensive. You can leave your nice pram or pushchair at home. Believe me I learned the hard way, they do get damaged so easily. Maclaren buggies, although not the nicest design on the market, are very practical.
- Take a soft cotton blanket to wrap them up so they feel cosy and warm.
- One of the best thing I bought was a baby carrier. We used it almost non stop for about a year. Its so practical and your baby is happy as they can look around. We bought BabyBjorn in black but I think grey might be more practical, as you won’t see dirt from baby’s dribbel and food so soon:)
- Take spare clothes with you in your hand luggage to make your baby go to sleep quicker when the planes take off, put on a jumper with a hood. This trick worked for my daughter every time when she was very little. I pulled her hood slightly over her eyes and she went to sleep almost straightaway.
- Do not worry too much about food. Of course when they are really small take their baby food, milk, water and favourite bib. But when they grow and can eat solid stuff do not take tons of prepared sandwiches and other stuff. You can always get something at the airport and no-one wants to eat a sandwich after 6 hours wrapped in foil. Plus worse come to worse biscuits and water is fine for a couple of hours, they can get back to take normal food routine when you get there. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but I used to stress out about this so much and then usually threw half of the food away
- Bring a couple toys for really small babies to play with like these wooden rattles and whatever they like to do when they are older. Crayons and paper or music with headphones. For us books were always the safest choice. I used to take loads on a plane as our little one adores books, a few favoutites or new ones can entertain them for a while. Having a soft toy like this sock monkey along is also a good option.
- Keep your baby entertained. Talk to them, tell them what’s happenning, read them books, show them things in the shops while you are waiting in duty free, get them excited about evertyhing they see and do. I know it sounds simple and it can be very tiring, but its worth it. When they get bored, they start crying, then they realise they are hot, then hungry...ahh it goes on and on...
- Do not stress. Not an easy task, I know while you are folding pushchair with one hand, holding a toddler or crying newborn in another and no-one is there to help you. But the more stressed you are the more annoyed they become. And do not be afraid to ask for help. Anyone. Plane crew with putting luggage at the top, strangers with your a pushchair or cases or looking after a baby on plane while you have to use the bathroom.
I hope this can help. I try to see it through my daughters eyes and always make it into an adventure. They will love it and you will too.