How do you prepare for travel with an infant? Recently, this tough query came across our desks from a BIGNews reader, Christie, who was preparing for her first holiday adventure with a small child in tow.
Christie wrote: “Hoping to get some advice for holidaying with a baby. We are about to head away for the first time with our eight month old.”
We put Christie’s question to our Facebook audience, and the response was overwhelming. And as there must be a lot more Christies out there, we decided to bundle up this cot-load of great advice to share with a wider audience.
Because there’s no better guidance for what to do when travelling with a small child than listening to those who have first-hand experience.
1. Be prepared for the road trip
We’ve covered off tips when taking a road trip with kids in a previous article. While this advice is more relevant for those travelling with older children, it’s still a great starting point before you begin your journey with an infant.
2. Pack essential items
There are several necessary items to pack when holidaying with a baby. Some of these products you would likely take on any outing with bubs, such as nappies, baby wipes or tissues, plastic bags, a hat or beanie, a bib, and a stroller.
In addition, we received many great tips about other items to pack when taking a holiday with a baby. Among them are:
Packing a portacot was a popular suggestion considering they are easy to set up and put away and can double as a play pen. However, check with your BIG4 park before packing this item, as in some cases these can be supplied.
“I got my son a little hedgehog solar light. He takes it to bed with him (and) by the time we get to bed the charge has run out or it’s very dim. Just remember to recharge it in the morning.”
– Facebook comment from Charmaine Luna Hard
3. Be innovative
Following the above tip, several comments we received stressed the need to think outside the square. For example, a handful of responses suggested that storage containers, inflatable boats, and plastic buckets are all appropriate as a makeshift bath for your baby.
Some comments focussed on the need to pack items that have multiple uses, so as to save space and hassle. So the aforementioned storage container for bathing could also be used as a toy box.
4. Consider familiarity
Another consideration is packing items that are familiar to your baby. Whether it’s a visual item, such as a teddy, or something that smells familiar, like a blanket, familiarity may help to comfort your baby while it’s away from home.
“Take your own linen for bubs. I find my little man sleeps better when I take our own bedding for him if we go away.”
– Facebook comment from Acacia Hardingham
5. Take advantage of family-friendly facilities
BIG4 encourages family holidays, so make use of parks’ family-oriented facilities and amenities. These include toddler pools, playgrounds, and family bathrooms. Also give plenty of thought to your accommodation choice. Staying in a family cabin the first time you holiday with a small child might be a better option than a tent, as you have more creature comforts at your disposal.
6. Be flexible
Plenty of comments emphasised the importance of being flexible and adaptable when travelling with an infant. This means being prepared to alter your itinerary at any stage, whether you’re on the road or out and about. As a result, it helps to plan activities that are flexible. Therefore, consider avoiding outings that rely on fixed times, such as organised tours or dinner reservations, and those that may incur cancellation fees.
“Plan to not have plans. Go with the flow. Some days, bubs is not going to want to go anywhere or do anything, so just go with it.”
– Facebook comment from Melinda Day
7. Enjoy your holiday
It’s a simple tip but one that was reiterated to us over and over again. And it’s a tip that really hits the mark: a holiday with your infant is a special experience. The more you remind yourself of this, the less you tend to worry about minor issues. Travelling with an infant has its challenges but can still be fun. And, as members of our Facebook family commented, it’s your holiday, too.
“Relax, have fun, and go with the flow. It’s a great experience for them, as well as you and your family, and will be the start of many great memories and experiences.”
– Facebook comment from Karine Menzies
Do you have any tips for those travelling with an infant? Remember, your family holiday begins at BIG4.