With a bit of know-how, travelling with a baby doesn’t have to be a hassle. Stay cool, prepare, know your baby and plan ahead! We had a great stress free family holiday. Every baby is different, but these are the things that made our flight a breeze.
What is typically allowed on board of a flight, on top of your own luggage allowance? Does a baby get their own luggage allowance, and what do you do about the pushchair and the car seat? Are you allowed extra hand luggage for the changing bag?
It all depends on the airline you are flying with, so call ahead and talk to them about what they offer and what you have to pay extra for and what you can book in advance. There’s nothing worse than arriving to check in and being hit by extra fees that could have been avoided by a little advance planning.
Most Belgian airlines also offer no hand luggage allowance for infants, so you’ll have to make sure all you need for yourself and your baby fits into 1 bag. We choose the Elodie Details StrollerShopper in Graphic Grace print. Truly love this line. The bag is huge and the shoulder band is wide and very comfortable. And you can use it after the baby has grown as a beach bag. Read here what was in our bag that saved our plane ride!
It is allowed to stroll to the plane and check your buggy in before boarding your plane. Super handy if your baby hates to sit in a baby carrier! The pushchair will need to be fully collapsible as it will need to go through the same x-ray security procedures as other baggage. You can bring as many baby formula as you needed in your hand luggage, please bring more than usual. Mille drinks only Evian (other brands give him cramps), so I filled his feeding bottles with it and that was no problem for security. Do not bring it in a drinking water bottle, it will not be allowed!
Do not pack an extra luggage for the baby, split the kilo’s with you and your traveling partner, this was a difficult task, but after a long search we found a bag that could hold many kilo’s and still would close. We totally love the Eastpak Tranverz L, this range can hold 121L and they have really nice prints. Practical and very fashion as we like it!
The only regret and hassle we had was not taking our maxi-cosi with us. We thought that the taxi company abroad would have them, but little did we know that most of them advice tourists to hold your baby on your lap! Having your own car seat may mean a bit of extra luggage to check in at the airport but it will give you the peace of mind to know that you can hop into a cab at the airport with your child safely strapped into their own car seat.
2. Make a checklist
Pack like a pro and use some standard pre-made travel lists or custom made ones. Evernote works perfect for us, we could share it with each other, edit and keep it. Make your list in categories for example: official papers, care, clothing, food&drinks, transport, safety, pharmacy, handy. Then we marked the things that we would need in our hand luggage in yellow. Read here our travel checklist on the blog. Make your checklist in advance, needless to say by making it you can perfectly see what you have and what you have to order. Like for example a kids ID. It takes a couple of weeks to request it and is mandatory for traveling by plane!
5. Book the right hotel for you
Finding a family appropriate hotel room is infinitely more complicated than booking for two. Keep in mind with a small baby you will be spending a lot of time in your room, so pick wisely, this will make or break your holiday.
We wanted a small house with a separate room for the baby and our own swimming pool or Jacuzzi if possible. A baby is a lot of work so we wanted to enjoy our breakfast without the fuss of cleaning after ourselves. But we also like to cook some local dishes from time to time, so a kitchen would be perfect. Avoid packing the entire house by asking what supplies (bottle warmers, sterilizer, etc.) And what kind of baby accessories they provide (travel bed, baby bath, baby seat, etc.)
Our hotel made our holiday perfect, it was the right scenery, with the right service, with the right lay out. Bahiazul in Fuerte Ventura was everything we wished for; a duplex villa with swimming pool and terrace and on the roof a Jacuzzi, outdoor kitchen and bbq. This 3 bedroom house had cleaning service every 2 days and a restaurant serving breakfast and dinner. And on top of that it looked amazing!
4. Up in the air
Put some cute clothes on your little one and show him/her of with pride. (ignore the ‘Oh no, a baby on the plane’ looks of some people). Ask the flight attendent if the plane is fully booked. Passengers with small children get priority on an extra seat, this is not only comfortable for you but also for the fellow travellers on the plane. If luck is not on your side and you’re traveling on your own, book an aisle seat. Believe me the work out you’ll be doing to get things out of the hand luggage compartment, will give you thighs like bricks! If you travel by couple let your partner sit in the aisle, and sit by the window so the baby can lay between you. Feed during take off and landing, to prevent earache. It works the same, like we chew our gum. Bring some toys, lot’s of toys! Mille loves his taftoys play arch. It’s very colourful and loud, not at all to our taste, but man this thing is like magic. You can screw it on to the seat in front of you and manoeuvre it as you desire. Mille is fascinated by it and can play for many minutes with it! (If anyone knows similar thing in monochroom colours, please leave a comment!;) Know your child and act upon it. That’s the best advice we can give you. For example we know that Mille doesn’t sleep if it’s not dark and if Mille doesn’t sleep enough than he get’s cranky, you don’t want that! 😉 We’ve packed in our hand luggage several big scarfs so we could build a tent between the seat in front of us and lay one over the side. Cosy camping for babies, but worked like a charm! You will see, if you are well prepared, you’re baby will eat sleep and repeat in the plane for sure! And most of all if he screams, stay calm! Also bring lot’s of spare clothes for you and the baby, not only for accidents but if you travel from a cold country to a warm place, it’s handy to change him/her before landing to avoid overheating.
One last and best tip I ever had, bring some Digemel, it’s a panacea and we swear by it, to keep him calm on the plane, restaurant or other public place. We call it the baby shutter!
Enjoy the ride and make some great memories!