Sometimes, life is much simpler before there’s a mini version of you tagging along. Having children completely changes the way you prepare for and even take a week basking in the sun (or so I’m led to believe) and adds a few extra items to that trusty checklist before you’ve even paid for the flights.
Before you leave for the holiday
Give your child a chance to pack their own clothes. Bring them shopping with you and let them choose their own swimming togs, weather appropriate attire, or even a small wheeled suitcase they can carry their things in for the plane. Who doesn’t love seeing those Peppa Pig suitcases wheeled across the departure lounge by an excited three year old?
Tell them as much about the area you’re going to as you can- build the excitement by mentioning the pool in the hotel, or the kids club they’ll be going to for a few hours.
Pack a comforting item from home, such as a blanket or teddy bear, for the child to bring with them in case they start missing home.
Check whether your airline requires a separate ticket for your baby- some airlines request each passenger have their own ticket, regardless of age and whether or not they have a seat on the plane. If you are a new mother, check also whether you and baby need a note from your GP deeming you both fit to fly. If the baby needs some immunisation before take off, make sure this is sorted out well in advance.
At the airport
Make sure your child is well fed before you fly. Some fussy eaters may sour at the taste of airplane food, and snacks from the in-flight trolley can be as expensive as they are unhealthy.
Be prepared for the chance of having to taste any pre-made baby formula at the security check, in accordance with the liquid regulations on aircraft. Deciding who will be testing the formula before you arrive can be a huge time saver.
Show young children planes taking off or landing from the windows in the departure lounge- it may help ease any travel worries they have and make them less nervous for the journey ahead of them. Plus, watching planes take off is one of life’s simple pleasures.
While on the plane
Check baby changing facilities on board when booking your flight- some airlines provide changing facilities, while others don’t have changing tables in their bathrooms. If there are no changing facilities on board, make sure you’ve changed your baby before boarding your flight.
Pack toys or DVDs to keep the child occupied, especially for longer flights- even most parts of Spain take a three hour flight to reach.
Have something on hand for when the cabin pressure drops during landing. Plan feeding time for infants around landing, or bring a lollipop for toddlers to help take their mind off the new sensation in their ears.
While on your holiday
Look for child-friendly restaurants or resorts- most places will be more than welcoming to families, however some will be more specifically aimed at a younger crowd.
Remember that sun cream you packed? Smother the child in it. You’ll need at least factor 50 for the kids and their delicate skin. Make sure to take them in from the sun during peak hours, that’s noon to 3pm, no matter how much they protest.