Finally holidays! With a baby or small children, however, it can develop into a whole new challenge - and still be beautiful. Yes, both can be the case at the same time. Of course, just because a little person has many not-so-little demands and turns your life upside down doesn't mean that all travel has to be a thing of the past. But even the most experienced jetsetters will notice: The first holiday with a baby is very different than before and older children also give the holiday a completely different dynamic. Good to have a few tips on hand to make traveling more relaxed for all sides.
Because that's what it's all about, isn't it? Even the most delicate situations can be solved more easily when you are relaxed, from leaking diapers in the middle of the landing approach to lost luggage or the unpleasant looks of fellow passengers. Perhaps the most important thing is to adjust your own expectations in advance. Yes, holidays with babies or small children are no longer the same as holidays used to be. But that doesn't mean that from now on nothing else is possible apart from family hotels with mini discos and all inclusive. There are now really great family hotels that are tailored to parents and children - so that everyone can really feel at home! And especially on your first holiday with a baby, you will find out what is right for you - whether a hotel with all-round care or a holiday apartment that simply offers more flexibility thanks to its own kitchen, washing machine and co.
Smaller babies in particular sleep a lot and (usually) adapt well - nevertheless, a holiday with a baby is nothing more than everyday life, just by the sea or in the mountains. Still nice, but sticking to the existing routines and structures as much as possible can save mum and dad a lot of nerves and help the little ones to process the new impressions better. And of course it makes a huge difference whether you are traveling with a four-month-old baby or a two-year-old toddler - in the end you know your child best and know exactly what they, and you too, need right now. What is it definitely not? added stress. That's why we've put together the best tips for traveling with babies and toddlers - tested by us personally and found to be good!
The general rule:
Keep an eye on travel documents and changing entry requirements
Sure, you've probably taken care of the children's passport for a long time, but especially in Corona times it can be worth checking the various (entry) travel regulations shortly before departure. Because these can change quickly at the moment. You can be on the safe side that you really have everything with you via the Foreign Office, and of course news and information sites in the various countries themselves. In this way, you can also make the decision for yourself as to what is currently acceptable and responsible. Incidentally, you should always have your U-booklet and vaccination card with you! For older children who already have to wear masks, it is also good to have FFP2 masks with you, as some of them have to be worn and are often expensive in the travel country and of poorer quality.
Adapt the choice of clothing to all eventualities
Especially when travelling, the degree between sweating and freezing can be very small, because we regularly go from warm temperatures directly to the air conditioning system and back again. Nothing is worse than a well-planned trip with a baby who ends up being too hot or too cold. Our tip: Wool and silk basics with a cardigan or a Schlüttli , which can be put on or taken off at any time. This supports temperature regulation and prevents the little ones from sweating too much.
Clothing made of wool and silk also absorbs moisture better and dries faster than cotton - all the more useful when travelling, as you can't change your little ones all the time. For small children from size 98/104 there are also great wool & silk undershirts that are great for travelling. On top of that, long-sleeved is always good for travel, and light shirts are also a good idea, as they protect against air conditioning, wind, but also UV rays, but are still light enough when the temperature rises.
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Even when it's warm: always have a blanket with you
Because not only on the trip itself, but also on site (at night or due to air conditioning) it can get cool and every baby needs a cozy blanket even on vacation. Here, too, wool helps regulate the temperature, and having something from home with you amidst all the strange sights and smells is incredibly comforting.
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Packing Cubes for order on the go
Washing clothes with babies and especially small children is often an Olympic discipline at home, but it can quickly degenerate on holiday. Packing bags and organizers that separate the different categories and have everything in place (and easy to find) even if the accommodation changes or there is no closet on site are worthwhile to keep track of things and to have some sort of order in the packing chaos. This also applies to handbags and hand luggage! Depending on your taste, there is a huge selection of packing cubes and organizing bags online, or you can just see what bags you already have at home that could be used!
Also be prepared for emergencies: first-aid kit
Accidents can also happen on vacation - it's good if a well thought-out first- aid kit is always to hand. Checking what the local emergency numbers are and how to get to the nearest hospital right at the beginning of a trip can take some of the stress off if the worst comes to the worst. When traveling by plane, it is worth keeping an eye on the liquid restrictions and bringing the products with you in a plastic bag with other liquids if you have them in your hand luggage. The check-in staff often knows no exceptions, even with babies!
Everything included - but smart!
The general rule for trips is: more than enough of everything with you in case something goes wrong on the way. Everything that your child needs on the journey itself should not be missing under any circumstances, and nappies, milk powder and a change of clothes can be a little extra, especially in hand luggage, so that you are prepared for all eventualities. At the same time, it is also smart to find out in advance about the availability and prices in the destination country. There is often a good range of everything you need, sometimes even cheaper - and nobody really wants to lug around a suitcase full of diapers, right?
Approach complementary food (start) in a relaxed manner
The same applies to complementary food: Even if the food there is different than at home, your child will not starve. On the contrary, other flavors can not only be really exciting, but also great for development - and that doesn't always have to be glasses and the like. The general rule is: If you are about to start solid food on time for your holiday, it is better to wait until you are back. Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding on the go is often a lot easier, and a few weeks will make absolutely no difference to your baby.
Adapt trips to the daily routine
This is almost self-explanatory, but it's just smart to plan around your nap and spend it in the (rental) car to make the most of it. While that might mean shifting your own meals a bit, that's probably nothing brand new to you, is it? Our tip for older children: Neck holder for the headrest of the child seat so that the head does not buckle when the kids fall asleep.
Entertainment is the key!
Audio books, books to look at yourself, a magic board and sometimes the iPad: a lot helps a lot, and especially things that haven't been used for a long time can become really exciting again on long journeys or a flight. For long journeys, you should also definitely consider getting your (bigger) children's own headphones, which also help with volume control.
Always enough snacks and drinks with you
The best activity on long journeys? Meal. Dried fruit, fresh fruit, crackers and co - no matter what the little explorers like to snack on, there should always be enough of it! It is therefore always a good idea to take at least one snack can with you. This is also very practical at the holiday destination, in order to be able to pack food for the day right at breakfast , and is significantly more sustainable than always buying everything on the go . It is always advisable for small children to have their own drinking bottles.
Can really be worth it: take your own (beach) toys and accessories with you
It may sound like an unnecessary amount of luggage at first, but when you go to the beach, your own swimming aids and beach toys should be an integral part of your travel equipment. Buying new on site and then throwing them away at the end of the holiday is not only impractical for sustainability reasons, but often you get what you pay for. The tested swimming aids, where you can really trust in safety, are the better choice. Diving goggles and inflatables can also be smart to bring unless there are rental options at the hotel.
Find what suits YOU
Even if you're gripped by wanderlust, it doesn't have to be a 12-hour flight when the baby is just a few months old. There are also wonderful destinations by train (or car, if your baby doesn't cry every time you drive). Traveling thoughtfully is great for both your baby and the environment, and traveling by train with a baby is often more relaxed anyway – at least we think so! It's also great to book your own compartment on the train and plan intermediate destinations so that you never have too long a journey at once.
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For air travel:
The most important documents in a small handbag or fanny pack
Passports, tickets, mobile phone, disinfectant and everything else that needs to be ready within a flick of the wrist should not disappear in the depths of the (diaper) bag. A small handbag to hang around your shoulders or a fanny pack, which is really practical with a baby carrier, can store everything in a safe place here.
Tip: It pays to have just one piece of luggage with all the liquids (neatly packed) and electronic devices for the whole family. This means that not all pieces of luggage have to be opened and sorted individually during the security check. This saves a lot of time and effort at check-in!
Breastfeed or bottle to equalize pressure during takeoff and landing
Flying with a baby is not easy - and the pressure changes in the cabin during take-off and landing are anything but nice for the little ones. The best solution for this: Breastfeeding, because this not only provides closeness and calm, but also helps to equalize pressure by swallowing. The negative pressure on the ears can be uncomfortable, especially when approaching for landing, and drinking something here also helps older children. Sea salt solution nose drops can also help.
Milk or water: liquid limit for babies and toddlers
It is important to observe the limits for liquids. Baby food can generally be taken on board, but drinking bottles for small children should definitely only be filled after check-in. Since drinks are almost exclusively served open on the plane and this usually goes wrong with small children, your own drinking bottles are super important. Flight crews are always happy to fill drinks into your own resealable bottles. So nothing flies around, even if it gets a little wild!
Choose your seat wisely
What used to be the window is now the aisle: With an aisle seat you can often get up without disturbing the neighbors to walk around with the baby (to calm things down). The special family seats in many planes are also simply practical to be able to put the baby down and have your hands free. However, you should reserve these directly when booking – it is best to ask your airline directly!
Carry or sling with you at all times
Makes traveling a lot easier: Because the hands remain free, the baby is close to the body and feels comfortable and even during the flight you can walk around thanks to the sling if falling asleep is too difficult despite the noise of the plane.
Babies up to 2 years old fly on their laps for free
If the price allows it, it can still be worth booking a separate seat for the baby - especially if the children are over a year old, the urge to move becomes greater and the extra space can relieve quite a bit. It is also safer with a separate seat! Children can also be laid down here when they sleep. Tip: For long flights in Economy Class, it is a good idea to get inflatable seat cushions for the little ones . This fits exactly between the seat and the backrest to create a little more sleeping space, even for older children. But be careful: Not every airline accepts these pillows, so check beforehand!
More safety & particularly practical: take a child seat on the plane!
Some child seats are approved for air travel and can simply be taken into the cabin. So the little ones not only travel safer, the extra space and flexibility are also worth it. This also applies to your travel destination: bringing your own child seat with you can not only save a lot of money when renting a car, but also gives you the security that the child seat is really safe. An overview and some other important information can be found here . Important: The child seat must be registered, so be sure to check with the airline!
Traveling with a stroller
There are also some strollers that are allowed in the cabin - this is not only practical for longer layovers, but also safer. This is because strollers usually have to be checked in, and since luggage is not always handled with care , damage often occurs . Our tip: If your stroller is not allowed in the cabin (you can check this directly with your airline), take a large bag with you to protect the stroller in your luggage and not to lose individual parts. Many providers have extra travel insurance, which is usually expensive, but can definitely be worth it for frequent travelers. There are also special stroller bags, which can also be worthwhile - also because you can also store sand toys, life jackets and the rather bulky things in them.
Hand luggage always fully equipped
Suitcases can get lost - it's good if the hand luggage contains the most important basics for babies, children and of course the parents, in case you have to wait a few days for the suitcase. The buffer of things that you need during the trip should be a little larger when traveling by plane than when traveling by car or train, where you only need the things to hand, but definitely have them with you.
Tip: Nevertheless, it is good to always make sure that you take as few pieces of luggage with you in your hand luggage as possible. These should also always have some storage space so that you can stow jackets and sweaters well . With lots of bags and small things, you sometimes leave something lying around in the stress of travel.
Don't stress too much if the baby is crying!
Of course, this doesn’t only apply to planes, but of course especially there – after all, we all remember how quickly – before we had children ourselves – we rolled our eyes when a baby sat in the next row. And of course you don't want to upset other passengers, but babies do cry occasionally, and stressing yourself out about it really doesn't do anyone any good. Therefore: Take a deep breath and be sure that the other passengers are not all secretly cursing you! And if you do, that's really not your problem.
And perhaps the most important thing?
No matter what comes: stay relaxed!
In principle, it is always good to plan a little extra time. Holidays with a baby or toddler can be really relaxing if you let yourself go. Pretty perfect actually, isn't it? Try to relieve yourself of the pressure of the perfect first holiday - it will certainly be a little different than expected, but by no means less beautiful!
And in the end, that's what makes a holiday so special. Because even if travel should certainly never be handled in an inflationary manner, especially not with a small person for whom many new impressions can quickly become too much, it is a wonderful way of discovering the world.