We recently just went on our first proper holiday as a family of three.
In fairness, this isn’t the first time we’ve went abroad, but it feels like our first proper holiday. We flew from England to America when Harvey was three months old for Christmas. It was a nice holiday seeing family. This past holiday was a sunny, summery holiday with no agenda but just enjoying time away… just the three of us.
We were a bit anxious about travelling with Harvey at 8 months old. Three month old babies and eight month old babies are very different, so we had different expectations. When Harvey was three months old, we expected him to sleep most of the journey and adjust well. This trip, we were hoping we could keep him entertained, happy and well-rested (including ourselves!!).
Of course, he started cutting four teeth during our holiday. That was of course, unplanned and unavoidable. But even with that, he did much better than we could have hoped!
On our holiday, Tom and I decided that we’d love to make a list for other parents of our tips for travelling abroad with your bab(ies). These tips work perfectly for Harvey at 8 months old, so of course, some may not be applicable to much younger or older babies. Some of these tips are only applicable to summer holidays (you’ll understand when you read on).
Hope this helps!
1. Keep Normal Routine & Have a Plan!
Tom and I have always been stuck to Harvey’s routine whenever possible. Even on the weekends, we plan our outings around his nap time. It just simply works best for us all. Harvey sleeps so much better at home in his cot with consistent nap times. Read my blog post ‘The Nap Time Struggle’ for more on that.
Although sometimes we’d love to stay out exploring London more, we’ve experienced the result of the inconsistencies of his naps and it’s never worked out very pretty.
So it was a given that we would continue sticking to his routine abroad. We thought this was particularly important since he’d already have to adjust to other changes like climate, traveling, new environment, and then teething.
But we wanted to have a plan of what to do when he napped so that we would still be able to enjoy the holiday at all times and not feel like we were wasting the time away by staying inside while he napped or went to bed (at 6:30pm).
These plans we made bring me to my next point…
2. Room with a Balcony [and a View]
This was one the best decisions we made and we took full advantage of it! While Harvey napped, we would sit or lay out on our balcony. This way we were able to fully soak up the sun and beautiful view from our balcony. We kept the door onto the balcony cracked so we could hear when Harvey woke up.
This isn’t important to everyone, but we enjoyed having it. We didn’t bring any books because we wanted to use our free time to talk and watch a few of our favourite youtubers and shows on Netflix. [I also uploaded vlogs while we were there, so I needed it for that] We had to pay to have wifi access in our apartment, but it was worth it.
4. White Noise (machine or app)
We have used a white noise app while Harvey sleeps since he was about three months old. It helped block out the noise we made going in and out of the room when we co-slept with him. We still use it even now that he’s in his own bedroom. It’s been great to block out the noise of loud chatter, slamming doors and cabinets, etc.
Even still on holiday, it was very useful. As I said, we sat on the balcony and talked and watched some shows. The white noise app helped cancel out our noise and the loud neighbors and music playing outside.
We use a white noise app on my phone, and I keep my phone on a surface close to his cot.
Tom’s actually going to be making a DIY white noise machine so that I don’t need to keep my phone in his room during his naps and nighttime. We’ll be making a video on that! Exciting!
5. Opt in for All Inclusive
When we booked our holiday, we booked it as self-catering. But when we got to the hotel, we could opt in for ten euros a day per person! We obviously couldn’t say no to that! That included three meals, drinks and snacks!
Even if it wasn’t that cheap, I think it makes it so much easier. We never had to worry about finding our way or getting ready to go to restaurants all the time.
Tom and I also got to enjoy drinks when we wanted them which made it feel more like a holiday.
6. Snack & Pouches
We do baby-led weaning so don’t puree food or generally use pouches or mashed food. However, we’ve found baby pouches to be quite useful when travelling.
Pouches and snacks are great to take on the plane for entertainment! They’re also good to have on hand in case the baby isn’t keen on some of the food available. This can be the case if travelling to a foreign country where the baby isn’t familiar with the type of food. Harvey did good with the food served, but sometimes he was quite tired and didn’t seem to have energy to faff around with properly eating lots of different kinds of solid foods. This is where familiar snacks and pouches can come in handy again.
7. Baby Carrier/Sling
We are avid baby wearers, so bringing a baby carrier on holiday was a no-brainer for us. Since we flew with RyanAir, we chose to pack only carry-on luggage because each checked bag cost £50, and we were confident that we could fit everything into hand luggage. [See my packing video below]
We first decided to not bring our pram because we didn’t want to have to carry anything else. We don’t use it near as much as we use our baby carriers, so didn’t think we’d miss it.
And I’m sure glad we didn’t bring it. Harvey is much more content in the carrier than in the pram. We didn’t travel outside of our resort that much, but even when we did, we wouldn’t have chosen to bring the pram anyway.
I would maybe suggest bringing a pram if you’re going on a holiday with lots of exploring (unless you’ll be climbing- then of course, carrier all the way!) and if you don’t have much other luggage to carry around.
Our favourite baby carriers are Tula (archer), but there are so many out there and they fit everyone differently.
8. Pack Light
No excuses! I was the worst best over-packer! Well… maybe my mum could steal the title… it’s pure talent.
As I said above, we chose to pack only carry-ons and became very grateful for RyanAir’s packing charge, because we wouldn’t have wanted to deal with more luggage (or bigger suitcases). We did have to be make sure we kept track of all of our bags as we took five small bags total (a carry-on each and two personal items). But it worked out great!
All of the bags were underweight and we realised a few things we packed were unnecessary. The largest bag was solely for Harvey’s cloth diapers as well.
Not having to check a bag means no waiting in long lines (the lines to check bags took about an hour each!) with an ansy baby, not having to wake up as early and no stress in wondering if your bag will make it there and back safely.
I think this trip will make us really think twice about checking bags.
9. UV Suits
These things are genuis! I’m not sure if I was completely unaware of their existence in the states or if they truly aren’t as popular as here in the UK….
They look a bit like wet suits, but have high UV protection (usually 40+). These are great when you’re in the sun for a longer period of time and don’t want to have to slather sunscreen on their entire body while they’re desperately trying to lunge out of your hands… Putting sunscreen on a wriggly baby just using easy, so the less time it takes, the better.
We also got a UV sun hat to cover his face, bald head and neck, but we applied sunscreen underneath just to be safe because he wasn’t always a fan of wearing it. And just to go the extra mile, we got him some baby banz sunglasses. I could have died from cuteness overload!
10. Extra Muslins & Clothes
We just managed with the amount of muslins and clothes that we brought, but will pack a bit more next time. We packed one outfit for each day and four muslins. Harvey got a lot of his clothes quite dirty either with food or crawling around. We thought if something got messy, he could re-wear his other clothes, but by the end of the day, each outfit needed to be washed again before wearing it. We didn’t wash our clothes while we were there, but could have if necessary. Since we did two loads of cloth nappies while we were there, we didn’t want to have to pay for another load to wash, so we made due. It worked out fine, but he didn’t have any extra “just in case” outfits by the end of the trip.
We use muslins under his plastic bibs to soak the liquid up. Harvey ate oranges at each meal, so as you can guess, they were covered in lovely orange stains by the end of the meal. We did have to chuck those in with the cloth diaper laundry or we would have run out. They are very lightweight and don’t take up lots of room, so I think packing a few more would have been ideal.
11. Plastic Bibs
Our favourite bibs are Ikea’s plastic sleeved bibs. These are so easy to hand wash, don’t take long to dry, catch fallen food and cover their arms. We use these at home and when we’re out. It saves a lot of messy laundry and means we don’t need to buy so many bibs.
The only annoying thing is, any liquid drips down the neck of the bib onto their clothes, so we have to use a muslin underneath which defeats our goal of doing less laundry. But still, we like these bibs.
They’re great on holiday because you can just rinse them off and let them hang to dry until the next meal.
12. The ‘Favourites’
There are two schools of thoughts to bringing your baby’s favourites (books, toys, snacks) or buying new ones for the holiday. I can totally see why bringing new toys could be a good idea because he may be very intrigued by the new-ness and it will keep him more entertained. We chose to bring his favourite toys, books and snacks instead. One reason being we had just bought a huge box of wooden toys a couple weeks before the holiday, so we didn’t see the need in buying more.
We brought his favourite toys that would easily pack into our bags (and didn’t weigh much). We brought his favourite snacks so we knew he would eat them, and we brought his favourite books for naptime and bedtime so that it was another familiarity when it came to his wind down sleep routine.
It worked out great for us. When he would get bored of the toys, the apartment was new and interesting enough to peak his interest. The bar stools were his favourite.
13. Water Bottle
I’m a bit obsessed with needing to always have a water bottle close by. I get thirsty all the time and hate that feeling! I noticed it was much easier to get dehydrated on holiday with being in the sun, exploring, and does anyone else hate when restaurants serve water in tiny glasses? What is up with that? It barely seems to wet my tongue!
I never seemed to stay hydrated with meals alone, so my water bottle helped get in the extra water my body needed. I bought Harvey a water sippy cup for the holiday. But many times, we didn’t have it with us when we were out, so he ended up drinking from mine, which worked out easier anyway.
There you have it!
I hope this helped set your mind at ease and gave you some great tips on how to make your holiday easier and more enjoyable.
See the first vlog from our holiday below. Please subscribe to our Youtube Channel if you want to stay in touch.