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Fahy Travel, 2 Bridge Street, Galway

Travelling with Kids; Toddlers; Infants

No matter how meticulously you plan your trips, life always manages to throw some curveballs and this is only accentuated by the addition of some little ones!
When planning a holiday with the kids in tow, it is important to be ready and have backups in place, to alleviate your stress levels and theirs. Location is everything, and it may be tempting to return to the comfort of a destination or hotel that you have been to before, but think back to how accessible it was for strollers, were streets cobbled or difficult, was the hotel premises all slightly up or downhill, are there supermarkets nearby for nappies? If your child is breastfed, it may be worthwhile querying how prevalent public breastfeeding is in a particular destination to ensure it is within your comfort levels.

When destination is decided, give some thought to the flight specifics, especially if it is a longer flight. Short flights should generally be booked for during the day, with longer ones done overnight where possible. Try your best to stick to the little one’s routine, including a change into pyjamas and bedtime story if that is the norm. A handy trick is to use a child safe aroma sleep-spray; regardless of your thoughts on essential oil, using this at regular night-time for a few weeks/days prior to departure and then on the flight will help you bring some of that ‘sleep environment’ on board with you. A trusty teddy or blanket can also be brought along. Another decision is window or aisle; for a child the window may be a great distraction, but for a baby you may prefer to be able to easily move from the seat into the aisle.

When it comes to luggage allowance, remember to check what you’re entitled to, for example the stroller can likely be taken on flight for free, tagged at the check-in but not loaded until the gate. There are allowances for formula etc. as well – our agents will be able to advise you of the specifics when you book. Keep in mind also that shopping bought when through security is separate from your carry-on, and that Boots in Dublin airport offers Click & Collect when ordered several days in advance. This means you can pick up nappies, wipes, formula and full size sunscreens etc., without having to rally the kids while you browse.

So you’ve booked the whole trip, and the day of departure has arrived. Passports were checked long ago (don’t forget kiddy passports run out quicker!). You have packed climate appropriate clothing for the kids (a handy tip is to rely on layers rather than just very warm coats, to give you more temperature control), you have the extra formula and child appropriate medications for any little colds or aches that end up coming your way. Nappies are packed, and if you are planning on buying more when you have arrived but currently use organic/eco nappies, test some non-eco brands to make sure no reactions occur in case that is all that is available in the destination. A change of clothes for the flight is vital, for both child and adult, in case of any accidents or nausea. The pyjamas can double as this for those longer flights. Pop some plastic bags in as well, to take care of any soiled clothing. Off to the airport!

Gone are the days of cutting it fine and jogging to the gate. Give yourself time, time, and more time. Everything will be slower now, the car parking or bus offloading, the check-in and security, the movement through the airport. Extra time in the airport is now extra time for play so that they can burn off some energy, hopefully having them ready for naptime by the time they are on the flight. If they are high speed and flighty, and even if they aren’t, consider ‘tagging’ them with a handy wristband that has your name and number. You may have opted for priority boarding; keep in mind this does mean more time in total spent on the plane and in your seats. When it comes to take-off and landing, depending on age, a bottle, lollipop, or hard boiled sweet can be very helpful for ear pressure. And once landed, once again just take your time, and consider letting other passengers off first – it is easier to juggle pulling items from the overhead luggage and keeping an eye on kids if there isn’t a hastily moving crowd around you.

Consider your airport transfer in regards to being slower moving as well, to ensure you aren’t rushing or missing any connections. The change of pace will also be reflected in how many activities you can fit in daily and when; dinner time and incorporating naptimes will have an alternate flow of time than holidays without kiddies. You can prebook many attractions, but make note of the cancellation possibilities in case one of those curveballs come your way. A holiday is the ideal time for older children to practice some words from another language, however when it comes to important matters such as allergies or dietary requirements, we recommend creating and bringing several copies of cards that contain this information in the destination’s language.

Most importantly, try to relax and enjoy this family bonding experience. You are creating fabulous memories for you and your kids that will last a lifetime!