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Our Top-10 Family Travel Tips – A Summer Reading Essential!

Let’s face it, travelling with kids isn’t always the easiest, and the journey itself may be the bit you are dreading the most. For some of us, mid-flight with a toddler has left us questioning why you thought going on a family holiday was a good idea at all…but, rest assured, that with a little bit of planning and anticipation, it will be smooth start to a (hopefully) wonderful holiday!

Travel tips

  1. If you’re travelling with a baby and need to bring expressed breast milk, bottles, formula or baby food, do make sure to check your airline and airport’s policy with regard to taking liquids and food through security. This is usually the only time there is any exception to the strict rules

  2. Expect delays and bring extra snacks, nappies, medication (plus a doctor’s letter if necessary) and essentials in your hand luggage. Many people put the bulk of these items in their suitcase but luggage can go amiss and you don’t want to find yourself onboard or in a foreign country frantically looking for nappies or other essentials. The same goes for clothing changes which need to be readily available for the inevitable mess and spills (a spare top for yourself may also be a good idea).

  3. Timing is key when travelling with tots and if you can at all, plan to breast or bottlefeed your baby during take-off as the sucking action will get their jaws moving and reduce the chance of pain in their little ears. Also, try to change their nappy before take-off so that if they do happen to fall asleep, they won’t wake wanting to be changed.

  4. Work out how much time you will need for your journey – then add more. Toilet stops, nappy changes, meal times and the slower pace of little legs all contribute to longer travel times – however, planning accordingly will mean you don’t feel rushed or pressured. If you are flying from Dublin, check out the DAA’s Airport Genie service which offers a fast-track path through security and text updates on your flight. It costs €5.95 per adult (including a tea or coffee) and €2.45 per child (infants go free). The peace of mind and extra time may just make it a worthwhile investment for parents.

  5. If you’re flying, some light and easy-to-carry entertainment choices are advised. Books, sticker books and colouring are ideal, while games and toys with small (easy to lose) pieces are best left at home. Be careful about bringing anything too precious, such as a favourite stuffed animal, and, if it has to come, make sure to keep it safe. If you have room, pop a thin playmat (or even a sheet) into your carry-on bag – it will give you the option of putting your baby down for some kicking time when the opportunity arises. Also consider packing a light blanket for young children should they fall asleep during the journey.

  6. Travel buggies, slings or carriers can make travelling with kids easier – particularly when they hit a tired streak. If you are bringing a buggy, we recommend you bring an old one or a cheap stroller as some airlines may have to put them through as luggage and they can get bashed around a bit. Also, enquire in advance if you can hire a buggy in your destination – many resorts are now offering this at a cost.

  7. If you need a cot in your hotel or accommodation, make sure you confirm this in advance. Do not assume that the hotel will know you need a cot, even if they know you are bringing a baby as some people bring their own. Similarily, do your research into legal car seat requirements in your destination country and if you are hiring a car, booking an airport transfer or a taxi, make sure that you have let them know what you will require in this area. You really don’t want to be waiting at the airport while your taxi driver tries to borrow a car seat…

  8. Fully charged phones and tablets are lifesavers when it comes to travel. Even the youngest toddler can be amused with age-appropriate apps and games, and it’s an easy-to-transport form of entertainment. A portable DVD player can also prove to be a good investment, as it can be used in the car, on the plane and throughout your holiday.

  9. Don’t forget their birthday! We all know that children under two fly free on their parents lap. However, an issue can arise if your child turns two on their holiday. In that case they would need their own seat flying back and the airline would refuse to let them fly until that is sorted. According to the travel agents we spoke to, this happens a lot more often than you would think!

  10. If you are travelling to a European country, the European Health Insurance Card (formerly the E111) is a must and will entitle you to medical care in the event of becoming ill or having an accident. This should be in addition to having travel insurance as so much can happen – particularly with little ones – and the costs could spiral out of control very quickly if you are not covered. If something does happen, make sure to contact the insurer while you are away (the emergency contact number will be on your documentation which you should have with you, or else have easy access to online) as they are entitled to be advised of any issue as it arises and this will make sure that you don’t find out that they won’t pay out on something when you are home.

What’s your best travel tip? Is there something you can’t live without when travelling with kids? Leave a comment below and let us know


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