As any parent will testify, once your little bundles of joy arrive into the world, your life changes…
Yep just like that… With a snap of fingers, say a sad farewell to spontaneity and wave a weary hello to precision organisation.
Everything from a trip to the supermarket to a walk around the block requires an unbelievable amount of effort and newfound multi-tasking skills, especially if you want to do it all on a punctual schedule. If you don’t already have them, you soon learn pretty quickly…
This leads me neatly to the subject of the first family holiday. It’s a daunting prospect to say the least.
When my son was about 6 months old, we desperately wanted to get away. But I admit, the thought of taking him abroad, on a plane and having to prepare for it, filled me with dread. So, we opted for a staycation in Wales and we packed our car to the rafters with his bouncy chair, toys, cot etc and it was essentially a home away from home.
Don’t get me wrong, we had a wonderful time, but looking back, having now taken our son abroad on several occasions, I’ve realised that children are hugely adaptable. It’s us parents who feel the need to be surrounded by our belongings. Babies/toddlers just want to be fed, watered, have fun and have their parent’s undivided attention.
So it’s with this in mind that I’ve devised this checklist for parents who are planning on travelling abroad with their young children for the first time.
Hire a nanny who will go with you! Imagine she/he will do all the early wake ups, night feeds and entertain the children while you sunbathe! It’s a genius idea.
Erm… And very expensive and not a luxury afforded to the majority of families…
Okay, Let’s go from the top again…
1) Research, research, research!
If you’re nervous about going abroad for the first time, don’t choose a destination that’s more than 2-3 hour flight time away – and opt for a country which doesn’t have a big time difference.
Check reviews online via sites like tripadvisor. Ask yourself: does the house have good children facilities, cots, facilities to warm up milk/food etc. Is dinner time early enough for you to work into your routine.
If you are going for self-catering choose somewhere that has had good reviews from previous holidaymakers. Will they provide cots and highchairs etc. How far is it to the nearest shops, will your need a car.
Cover all bases that will affect you.
2) Plan ahead
Make sure you plan ahead of time for important documents such as passports.
Don’t do what I did and leave applying for your baby’s first passport until the last minute! The passport office lost the documents and I had to reapply again. There were a lot of phone calls and a lot of tears, but we received it the day before we flew.
Check if you need travel vaccinations and do you have travel insurance that includes your child/children.