We’ve taken the boys abroad a few times now, and we commented to each other this time round, that we have definitely become more streamlined. We never took Winston or Rufus abroad as tiny babies, so taking baby O was a new experience for us. After taking him, my feelings are that as long as babies are with you – they don’t really care about much else! I would absolutely do it again. Child-wise, he was by far the least of our worries, and I thought it would be fun to put together a few family travel tips.
This time I was quite ruthless with what made it into the suitcases and what didn’t. It was also the first time I have ever planned outfits properly – usually I start off well, and then ‘just in case’ items keep creeping in, so it turns into an almighty mess. As you can imagine, this made a huge difference, and was so worth the extra time I put into deciding what to take. Each morning it was so easy deciding what to wear as I’d taken a mini ‘capsule wardrobe’, where most things could be mixed and matched. I bought a white linen blouse from Zara and it was so useful.
Jared is one of those people that can pack in one evening, but for me the whole thing is a process, and I start laying out and collecting items the week before.
- Books and toys – Not for baby O, but I always take a few books with us to maintain a bit of normality at bedtime. A couple of story books, and then a couple of picture books that are more open ended. A pad of paper and some pencils for Win and then some cars for Ru.
- Large muslins, or a light cotton scarf – These are brilliant when it’s hot, to use as a shade, a cover up, or a light blanket.
- Public transport – Kids love public transport, and we whenever we are away we try to use it. We hired a car this time, but on our day in the city we spent hours on public transport. The boys loved it and we found it far less stressful. I love trying to work out where we’re going.
- Breastfeeding – I’m going to be honest here – I’m not one of those women that loves breastfeeding, gets emotional when it comes to an end or misses it, but the one thing it is; is practical. Seriously practical. I was thankful for it so many times on holiday – on the beach, on the tram, by the pool, on the aeroplane, or if I needed him to fall to sleep quickly. I did intend on taking a bottle to carry some cool boiled water around with me, but in the end I decided feeding him would be easier.
- Timing – Each night before going to bed we’d plan the next day, and then talk about who we wanted to nap and when. Some nights we needed them to be happy in the evening (which meant a nap), and others we wanted them bed right on time (no nap). Some nights Jared and I were in bed just reading by 8pm. Total bliss.
- Snacks (and lots of water) – For everyone – including the adults. Plus an obligatory ice cream each day!
- Space – A very obvious one, but if you are planning on sight seeing with very little ones, it is a good idea to favour those with lots of space, so they can run around freely.
- Separating – This is something we have started doing recently. Separating Win and Ru makes some situations much easier (in a supermarket, walking around town) as they can be really silly together. It also helps us keep track of them more easily. I usually have Otto and Winston, and Jared will take Rufus. At bed time separating them really helped us – both of them were completely wired for the first two nights on holiday, so we decided to put them to bed in different rooms, then move one of them later.
- Baby wearing – We did take a small travel buggy for Ru, but no way did we want to take a double one. I use a wrap a lot anyway, and on holiday they are just as useful – getting a baby to sleep during the day doesn’t become a big event, they just drop off. It was 27 degrees, and I did think that if it were any hotter a wrap might become a little too hot; for both the wearer, and the baby. Although once a baby is a little older, this is less of a problem.
- iPad – The boys don’t use the iPad at all, other than when we are holiday, and even then it’s restricted to the aeroplane. On aeroplanes they are allowed to watch anything they like, for as long as they like. I have a big thing about my children ‘being present’, and this applies even more on holiday…but for the journey there and back – it is our best friend.