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Baby & Toddler, Motherhood, Travel

Preparing for your baby’s first holiday | 11 tips for a successful trip

Your baby's first holiday - the image shows a bay sat on a table, looking out to sea

We all want to experience things with our kids, but you’ll understandably be a little apprehensive if it’s your baby’s first holiday. What can you do to make sure you enjoy your break away? Here are 11 tips to help you to ensure that you have a fabulous time with your family.

1) When planning baby’s first holiday, consider starting small

Flying aboard may something that you’re considering and of course you can do that. There’s nothing to stop you jetting off to the other side of the world if you want to. However, it might be advisable to ensure that baby’s first holiday is a short break away in the UK. That way, you don’t need to worry about as many things and if it’s successful, it will help to grow your confidence to do something more elaborate next time.

2) Consider family-friendly venues for your baby’s first holiday

When you’re choosing where to stay, you should consider places that cater specifically for families. This could be a caravan park that has kids entertainment, where you can take the little ones at night, or a hotel that offers a specific family experience.

When I think back to my baby’s first holiday, he was nine months old and we decided to go to Fowey, in Cornwall. We stayed in a hotel that offered all sorts of perks for families. They had a complementary bottle-washing service, there was a creche that you could book your kids into, the breakfast table was set up with a high chair and a sippy cup and they even offered a baby-listening service. This was wonderful, and afterwards, my husband and I both felt that we’d had a restful break away too.

3) Think about sleeping arrangements

This might sound obvious, but you’ll need to factor in where baby is sleeping.

If you’re staying in a hotel room, then you’ll need to ensure that the room is suitable for families and you might need to pre-book a travel cot. If you’ve opted for a caravan break, then a travel cot might not fit in the main bedroom, so you might have to place it elsewhere. Those that are staying in a tent will need to bring their own provision. A friend of mine takes her baby box with her, but you could take your baby’s usual crib if you can fit it into the car.

4) When planning your baby’s first holiday, make life as easy as you possibly can

When you’re planning your baby’s first break away, try to make things as easy as possible. If you’re going abroad, select flights from an airport that’s near your home, make sure you’re flying in the day and plan to get to the airport as early as possible. Think about what’s in your hand luggage and be sure to have milk within easy reach.

If you’ve decided upon a UK break, plan service stations where you can stop on your way to your destination, make sure you arrive after check-in time and make sure you pre-book any activities that you’d like to do beforehand. Doing simple things like this will help things to start off smoothly.

5) Remember, there’s safety in numbers

If you’re feeling nervous about going away, then consider travelling with others. You could go away with another family, or even bring the grandparents along, so you have a couple of extra hands around the swimming pool. Having some extra moral support should make a real difference.

6) Make a list… or a spreadsheet

Before you start packing, make a list of all the things you’ll need to pack and tick them off as you go. You’ll want to be sure you have everything you need and a list will help you to ensure that you don’t leave any essentials at home.

baby's first holiday

7) Don’t forget their favourites

If your baby loves a particular snack, or has a favourite comforter at night time, then don’t forget to pack it. That way, sourcing their favourites will be one less thing to think about when you reach your destination and they’re likely to settle easier.

8) Give yourself plenty of time to pack

I used to be the kind of person that threw things in a suitcase the night before and hoped for the best. But you just can’t do that if you’re going away with a baby. Especially not if you have a plane to catch. So don’t even try to wing it. Instead, make sure you start to pack at least a couple of days before you go away.

9) Don’t panic if you do forget something

If you do forget something, then it’s not the end of the world. There are always shops where you buy emergency items and you will adapt to the situation and muddle through.

I once forgot my son’s bottle during a day trip to the Isle of Skye. I realised when we were half way there. Skye is a really remote part of the world, but we managed to find a pharmacy where we were able to buy a bottle and we also got a coffee barrister to blast it with steam, so we could ensure it was safe to drink from. In an emergency situation, you will always find a way, so don’t stress too much if you do accidentally leave an essential behind.

10) Don’t set high expectations for your baby’s first holiday

Having a small baby isn’t all hearts, flowers and perfection, so don’t expect their first break away to be either. Things might go wrong and you may well forget something, but that’s ok. Take the pressure off yourself and just go with the flow. Your break away doesn’t have to be perfect in every way.

11) Just do it… bite the bullet and go

I’m not going to pretend that travelling with a baby is as easy as going away when you’re carefree and fancy free, but it is fun in its own way. It’s understandable if you’re apprehensive, but don’t let fear stop you.