Planning family breaks
Good planning is the key to success, even more so when you travel with young children. Read about the destination, what to buy at the resort and what you should bring with you (e.g. nappies, infant formula, canned food), where are nearby hospitals located, how is the beach (sand, rocks, shallow), which vaccinations are needed, what is the accommodation equipped with (if there is microwave, cot, balcony, children’s pool, playground). How long is the journey, how many flight sectors / transfers are involved … Of course, different preparations are required depending on which countries you travel to and if you are taking for example a family villa holiday or a package holiday with kids club. Most tourist offices can provide useful information on what is and is not available in the country.
Flying with children
There is disagreement at what age it is most appropriate to fly with children. When it comes to longhaul flights some such as the family holidays with Virgin, some people recommend that babies should not fly until the age of 6 months. They argue that it is only then that the child’s respiratory centre is well developed and not affected by pressure changes in the cabin. As far as I know, yet there are no scientific reports on this, I suggest you talk with your health visitor if you are dwelling on this. At take-off and landing, it is good to breastfeed or have a drink in readiness so that the child can drink, and thus avoid getting earache. When it comes to long car trips common sense should apply. Plan for many short stops and pauses during which the child may drink and may get some motion. You might want to plan your journey around more leisurely roads if at all possible. If you are staying in the UK for example a family holiday in Devon or Cornwall be aware that roads can get congested in high summer.
Packing for a family holiday
Infants should avoid the sun, or stay in it as little as possible. If you are planning a trip to warmer latitudes, do not forget sunscreen, sun hat(s) and sun protection clothing (there are a plethora of efficient clothes with built-in sunblock on the market today). Warm countries requires a lot of fluid. Breastfeed frequently, or ensure that the child drinks properly. Research the country you are going to on holiday. You may need to be careful with tap water, buy bottled water instead, boil water or clean it with water purification tablets from a pharmacy. A kettle may be useful as many countries don’t have kettles as standard even in self catering apartments.
Mosquito nets are good to have with you. And do not forget to check out what vaccinations are required. Check with your Doctor or see the healthcare abroad site from The NHS. Recommendations for vaccinations are different for different countries. Do not forget fever thermometer and aspirin.
A fold up stroller / pushchair, a travel bed, and a smooth travel changing bag can help you on your journey. Pack spare clothes and nappy changing facilities in your hand luggage along with the child’s favorite toys that will make the trip more fun and gives parents peace of mind. MP3s with recorded stories or portable DVD with funny films will be appreciated by slightly older children.
Family holidays – food & meals
Especially for young children but for all members of the family, make sure food is well cooked through. If staying at a hotel with buffet meals ensure food that is left out is kept hot if it isn’t point it out to the management of your holiday company rep. If you are going on a family package holiday with a reputable company like Thomson this shouldn’t be an issue. Milk products can also be a problem in some countries and it is good if the milk is boiled before you drink it. Be extra careful with cream, which can be found in, for example, ice cream and pastries. Avoid mayonnaise as it usually contains raw eggs and can contain dangerous bacteria. Also pay extra attention to raw vegetables and fruits and make sure they are not washed in tap water in certain countries.
Dealing with an upset stomach
The most important thing in recurrent diarrhea or vomiting is that as soon as possible the sufferer is re-hydrated with fluid. If the child is breastfed, continue breastfeeding and be happy more often than usual. If your child has diarrhoea, and even copious vomit, you can also give re-hydration. If the child is not breastfed, give only fluid replacement. Re-hydration - you can do yourself: 1 litre of bottled / clean water, 2 tablespoons sugar, or glucose, and 1 / 2 teaspoons of salt. The drink can be flavored with juice or soda. It’s also possible to purchase re-hydration tablets over the counter.
Family travel insurance
Don’t assume you are covered by your credit card or through your home insurance. Check! If you do have fully comprehensive travel insurance contact your insurance company and ask for a service card with phone number to the SOS alarm so you can get help when you need it. We use flexicover.co.uk for good value travel insurance for annual policies or for single trips.