After a long year of staying put and trying to keep the kids entertained, you’re probably itching to get away from it all. If you’ve got a baby or toddler in tow, however, you may be feeling a little nervous about travelling. Whether you’re pinning your hopes on jetting off to a far-flung destination or are happy to settle with a local family day trip, we’ve put together a need-to-know guide to eco-friendly travel, including tips for travelling with babies or toddlers.
When can my baby travel?
There are no age requirements when it comes to travelling abroad with a baby, although many airlines prefer their younger guests to be at least two days old. Of course, you will need to ensure you have arranged the relevant travel documents for your child such as a visa, passport, and travel insurance cover.
Although there are no strict age guidelines for air travel, it may be unwise to take a newborn baby on long-haul flights. If you’re new to parenthood, feeding and changing your baby in a tight and unfamiliar space may be stressful and uncomfortable. Similarly, a restless or travel-sick toddler could make travelling much more of an ordeal. Remember – the point of a holiday is to have fun! If you don’t feel ready for long journeys with your little one, don’t feel guilty about opting for a closer destination.
Tips for flying with a very young infant (3-6 months old)
Before exploring big decisions such as where to go on holiday or how to travel, we figured it would be useful to provide some practical advice on how to fly with very young babies. Many new mums and dads feel daunted by the idea of flying with a baby aged six months or younger. However, equipping yourself with some clever tips and tricks will make the experience much less scary.In fact, flying with a child aged between three and six months old is often easier than flying with a toddler, as young babies are relatively easy to keep calm.
So, where should you begin? Whatever age your baby, here are our top tips:
- Be prepared for an environment that isn’t parent-friendly: Many aeroplane bathrooms do not come with baby changing facilities. In this way, it is a good idea to bring slip-on nappies to make the process of changing a little less tricky.
- Try to ignore disapproving passengers: Sometimes, other passengers get irate when babies whimper or cry. This is unfortunate but cannot be helped. Remember that we were all babies once and a little tolerance goes a long way! Rest assured that most passengers will be sympathetic and on your side.
- Bring a sling so you can carry your child around the plane every so often. Walking and cradling your baby will help to calm them during the flight. Just remember to take them out of the sling during take-off or landing and remain seated during turbulence!
- If you have a restless little one on your hands, purchase an extra seat so they have room to move and play. Trust us, it will be more than worth it!
- Don’t be afraid to breastfeed onboard, however, some parents find it easier to bring extra bottles or formula milk when traveling.
- Board a little later than everyone else (without being late!): This will reduce the time your baby or toddler spends onboard and, therefore, reduce the likelihood of tantrums or crying.
These tips are also helpful if you’re travelling by train or boat with a baby or toddler!
Choosing a destination
As well as considering the practicalities of your destination such as the cost and length of the journey, you should consider the environmental impact of getting there, you can learn more about this here!
Staying in the UK is a great option if you’re content with a short city break or a countryside getaway, as it eliminates the need for carbon-intensive air travel. Trains represent one of the most eco-friendly modes of transport, and the UK is relatively well-connected. Alternatively, why not travel by car to an eco-friendly cottage or boutique eco-retreat? You may be surprised at the natural beauty that lies on your doorstep.
If you’re keen to go abroad, there are plenty of ways to offset the carbon costs of your flight. You could, for example, choose an airline committed to offsetting emissions or explore vegan cuisine while on holiday.
If you’re in need of some inspiration for where to holiday this year, then look no further!
It is also advisable to visit attractions that are close to your accommodation, as this will cut down on further travel. If you choose your spot wisely, you won’t need to stray very far.
What to take when travelling with a baby or toddler
Packing too much is better than packing too little when travelling with a baby or toddler in tow. Try to consider all emergency situations and fill your bags accordingly. If you’re wondering where to start, here are some top essentials for smooth and safe travel:
- A few small toys
- Nappies and baby wipes
- Several changes of clothes (depending on the length of your stay)
- Drinks and snacks (here are our favourite sustainable food brands)
- A travel cot
- Travel blackout blind
- A lightweight, foldable pram
- A car seat (if applicable)
- Swaddles or comfort blankets
- Antibacterial gel
- A first-aid kit (don’t forget the sunscreen!)
- A baby sling or carrier
- Equipment for feeding your baby such as bottles, a travel steriliser, a pump, or formula milk
If you’re gearing up for a long flight, it is a good idea to bring new or unfamiliar toys with you, as your little one won’t get bored of them too quickly. If you’re gearing up for a long flight, it is a good idea to bring new or unfamiliar toys with you, as your little one won’t get bored of them too quickly. Of course, purchasing brand new toys for the purposes of a holiday isn’t particularly eco-friendly, so try to get them second-hand or make the most of a rental service such as Y’earn. This is key when travelling with a baby or toddler. Of course, purchasing brand new toys for the purposes of a holiday isn’t particularly eco-friendly, so try to get them second-hand or make the most of a rental service such as Y’earn. You can also check out our blog post featuring expert sleep tips, these will surely come in handy on your travels!
Our rental service is perfect for short-term hire of items such as prams, travel cots, car seats, and toys – great news if you’re going on a short holiday. Check out our listings today and join a community of like-minded parents!
Other hints and tips when travelling with babies or toddlers
Here are a few more need-to-know tips for keeping your baby or toddler calm and happy while travelling:
- Encourage them to drink during take-off and landing if you’re travelling by plane, as this will help to reduce ear pressure and pain.
- Bring more snacks than you think you will need – a hungry child will let you know!
- Avoid rush hour if travelling by train or car with a baby or toddler.
- Double-check in advance whether train stations have lifts that can accommodate prams.
- Avoid sitting in designated quiet zones on trains – travelling with a baby or toddler is rarely silent!
- Plan the most direct route to your destination to avoid stressful changeovers.
- Reserve seats to ensure you aren’t left standing for hours on end.
- Take regular comfort breaks if travelling by car.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport or train station – rushing will only make your child feel stressed and restless.
Conclusion: Don’t be afraid to let your hair down
Although it may seem daunting travelling with a baby or toddler on their first-ever holiday, don’t be afraid to enjoy the holiday you deserve. With the right planning and equipment, your trip is sure to be safe, enjoyable, and stress-free!
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If this is your first visit, hello, let us introduce ourselves. We’re Y’earn and we exist to create more love, less landfill. Pretty lofty, right? Well, not really, it’s actually pretty simple. Our aim is to make renting as common as owning so we live more sustainably while helping the community around us.
Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people in your community or make some cash if you have items you don’t need right now. We’re a sustainable business that plants 🌲, adopts 🐝 and donates to children’s charities. We’re helping each other and the planet, one rental at a time.
You can read more about how Y’earn works here.
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