If you love to sunbathe, you will not be able to sunbathe. I repeat you will not be able to sunbathe. And that is the honest truth! Let me manage your expectations now. Holiday-ing abroad with a newborn baby and toddler has it’s ups and downs. However don’t be afraid of it, it’s still a holiday, but more parenting abroad.
We’ve just come back from a week in Spain and I didn’t manage to sunbathe for more than 10 minutes during the entire week. But that’s not what the holiday is about. A holiday is about spending time together as a family away from the chores of the house and work, and hopefully being able to relax. There are a certain number of things you can do to help make your week run seamlessly and for everyone to enjoy themselves and make the most of the sunshine, good food and most importantly to have fun and create memories.
Before you leave the house to go to airport, know exactly where everything is and pack light. If you’re travelling to a hot country you will not need many clothes. We had two suitcases between four of us, and that was absolutely fine. Make sure that you have all your passports and boarding passes in easy to reach places in your hand luggage as you will need to get these out at multiple times throughout the airport.
Lower your expectations
Lowering your expectations is probably my biggest piece of advice. Just like the sunbathing, there will be certain things that you are unable to do on holiday now that you have kids. You may not be able to go out every night for dinner, or you may have to have your lunch earlier than when the tapas bars open. In this case be flexible and opt for earlier dinner times. Spend time playing with your children on the beach or in the sea, and use this as your sunbathing time. Lastly make the most of the time once your children are asleep, can you have a BBQ where your staying and enjoy a date night in your villa or hotel without the kids. There are plenty of things that you can do to make it feel like a holiday pre-kids.
Possibly one of the worst things (for me) about travelling with a newborn baby is breastfeeding a hot baby, in a hot country when you’re also boiling hot too! The under boob sweat was real (and pretty disgusting). We purchased one of those pop-up tents for the beach which was a great idea to stay out of the sun, however it ended up being a bit of a sweat box, and I felt that I spent a lot of time in it. If you are breastfeeding, try and do it in a nice air-conditioned restaurant or bar (or your car) as it will just make the whole experience so much better for you and your baby.
That being said, it is a constant supply of drink for your baby if you think that they are being overheated or dehydrated or needing comfort due to a change of environment. It’s also good to help your baby during the flight when their little ears maybe uncomfortable during take-off and landing, I know that it helped my son who was a bit distressed when landing at Gatwick yesterday.
Ignore any sly looks
You will get some people who think that you’re crazy for travelling abroad with such young children. Or who give you a look in the queue when boarding the plane, and hope that they are not sitting near you. Ignore it. You’re on the plane for such a short amount of time, and it’s often worse for us as parents if you’ve got a screaming baby to look after. Also do not apologise if you’re child is crying or playing up, that’s what children do, and others need to accept it – you can’t expect immaculate behaviour on a crowded EasyJet flight to Alicante. It might feel like an eternity if your baby is crying, but often it’s only just a few minutes.
Lastly enjoy every minute of it, and take the rough with the smooth. There will be times when both kids are demanding your attention, or you’re struggling to put sun cream onto your toddler for the 18th time. However look around at where you are, and take it all in. Holidays are times that we all look forward to, yes you may not be able to spend hours on a sun lounger reading a book, but you will be able to create so many memories with your family and children, and that’s what holidays are about.
Here are 5 additional really useful tips!
- Taking your baby bouncer. We bought a car seat travel bag that was large enough to fit the car seat and the Baby Bjorn bouncer in to, and checked this onto the plane as part of our free luggage allowance you have when flying with children. This was really handy as it meant we had somewhere we could put our 14 week old.
- Take a sling to carry baby around the airport so that you can also use your hands. This makes getting through security a lot easier too, but just be prepared to be scanned if you’ve got a sling with metal rings.
- Consider taking a folding buggy that can accommodate your toddler and baby are separate times. We found this really useful as it meant that if my toddler needed to use the pushchair, I could just put my baby into the sling.
- Take a really tiny handbag that you can fit inside your changing bag. This way you can keep your personal belongings separate, and also means you can cut down on bags. You really don’t want to have too many bags when travelling with two children.
- If you have a early flight (like us) consider staying at the airport overnight. This will take away the stress of a really early getaway from your house, and you could also get a deal on your car parking at the airport as well.
Have you recently holidayed with your family, I would love to hear how you got on if you travelled with a baby and a toddler, of it you have any further tips to add to this blog post.
Lastly don’t worry if you’re about to take a holiday in the UK instead with children, I have everything covered by reading my top tips here.