- You don’t need to travel with all your baby equipment. “Although I was not able to make use of this service because I did not book in advance, but there are actually companies where you can rent everything from a bottle sterilizer to a camp cot. This makes the packing so much easier, and it allows you to travel lighter”
- Arrive early at the airport if you are flying. “We arrived at the airport early, so we had time to figure things out. You don’t want to get to the airport late when travelling with kids. Thank goodness Khumo is a very chilled baby, he did not give us any grief. He just had a bit of a cry in flight, probably due to the air pressure”
- If you are travelling by car, have a car seat. “Ensure that you have a car seat that baby can comfortably fit in, with padding and adequate head and neck support”
- Be prepared with bottles/breastfeed to keep baby hydrated. “Keep baby hydrated because airplanes are drying. I also recommend bringing a bottle — something to suck on to help relieve air pressure, especially during take-off and landing”
- Bring your child’s favorite toys. “I made sure that I only packed soft toys for baby Khumo, nothing that has sharp edges or that can hurt him if there is turbulence. This will help it feel “like home””
- Always sit right next to your baby. “You are his comfort zone, you are HOME to him… mom and dad are everything,” says Gail
- Keep your child entertained with music, sing songs, tell stories and make up rhymes
- Have Huggies wipes nearby to wipe those sticky fingers as well as to help with those little accidental messes that kids make
- Have fun and try to take lots of photographs – baby’s first flight is a huggable moment worth capturing as a keep’s sake.
- If you can, take help – whether it’s your helper, mother, sister or aunty. Especially if its more than one child – the more hands on deck the better!
Having a little one doesn’t mean you have to be “grounded”. Travelling with babies bears a mix of emotions not only for the parents, but also for the children and fellow passengers. If you are properly prepared and have packed adequately, travelling with babies can be a pleasurable experience as babies are adaptable and often feel secure wherever their mommy or daddy is.
When asked about her first flight trip with baby Khumo this is what Gail had to say. “Wow, travelling with Khumo was hectic. I knew it would be, but it was more hectic than I had imagined. I guess when I last travelled with a child, Zoe was the only child. Travelling with two kids is a totally different ball game. Flying is tricky, especially with regards to my luggage. But overall, the experience was good, and we survived."
Gail’s tips on travelling with a baby:
There are huge benefits to travelling with a baby. Nothing will make you friends around the world like travelling with a baby. Everyone loves them! At the end of the day, whether you travel by plane, train or automobile, the idea is to be sure you are prepared – “take a lesson from me, you can leave your heels, hairdryer and straightener, just don’t leave the stroller behind!”.
Plan well, pack well and have a good schedule and always remember to pack enough Huggies nappies and wipes for the duration of your stay.