Top 10 Tips – Travelling With Babies (24.07.13)
The arrival of the new royal baby has taken the lion’s share of newspaper column inches, 24/7 news channel reports and social media chatter over the past few days.
Not be out done, and on the basis that as a father of twins I get a great deal of respect from new parents of singletons, I am going to wade in with my advice.
Top 10 ‘Baby Travel Tips’ – when travelling by plane (or any other form of transport).
1. ‘Have baby car chair, will travel’ – as my children were also born in London’s St Mary’s Hospital Paddington, my advice to Kate & Wills is “get on the road ASAP”.
Although St Mary’s is fabulous in their support up to and during the birth, once the kid is out safe & sound you are on your own. So the ‘car chair’ is going to be the first and most useful piece of travel kit in the baby’s short, medium and long term future. Forget relying on hire car companies, airlines or hotels – you’ll need your own.
I remember clambering around an airport store room failing to find baby car chairs, after the hire car company we had pre-booked them through realised they had none on site. And this was in Munich, Germany – usually a highly efficient country!
2. Use the baby to get to the front of any queue – people are lovely all over the world, and if you have a baby-on-board you will be ushered through to the front of the slowest security queues, longest ticket line or most desperate of boarding zones.
3. Be the last to board an aircraft – especially when flying long haul. As long as you have a boarding card and are in the boarding area, there is no rush to get on the plane you are about to spend the next dozen hours on.
4. Take night flights when possible – if your baby is in a routine, stick to it. Night flights are hugely preferable as a baby will be in the routine of kipping, cabin lights are dimmed and a bassinette can feel like your best friend.
5. Forget any ‘dope the baby’ stories – in my experience a screaming baby before take off is a good sign, as that means they are probably knackered and due a long stretch of shut-eye.
6. Blank all fellow passengers – forget worrying about fellow passengers. Their inability to deal with your screaming child is their problem, not yours. Plus, the more stressed you get, the more stressed your baby, and everyone else on the aircraft, will get. ‘Sod the world’ you are the one travelling with the baby – ignore any static from anyone else.
7. Bottle for landing – essential to have a bottle of milk, water or whatever for the descent before landing. With air pressure affecting the inner ear much more during a descent/landing you will need to have something for the baby to suck on.
8. Powdered milk airside – pre-order powdered milk direct with an airside shop/chemist. You can look up the contact details of any airport shop on-line. So picking up your pre-booked powdered baby milk airside will save you time, hassle and unwanted sniffer-dog attention.
9. Wet wipes rule – the essential music festival accessory is the first thing you should pack when travelling anywhere with babies.
10. Just do it – don’t be put off by the thought of travelling with babies. They are free air-travellers until they are 2 years old – so make use of it. Start early and you’ll never look back.
Having travelled with children all over the planet I can assure you 90% of it is in the mind. As long as your trip is well paced, pre-planned and practical there is no reason not to travel anywhere. Kids are the biggest ice-breaker anywhere in the world – so go for it!
The beach, hotel room, villa, ashram or swaying hammock await.