Christmas holiday travel

Travel is usually an inevitable part of the Christmas holiday season. The distances can vary from a lengthy car journey to catch up with friends, to a plane trip for a family reunion. Whatever type of travel you do during the holidays means extra planning and preparation, especially when a little one is involved. And while the idea of a trip with a baby or toddler in tow can strike fear into the heart of the most experienced parent, by taking some sensible precautions a holiday can be enjoyable for all involved.

Holiday travel will involve not only checking out your accommodation for it’s suitability and safety for your little one, but also making sure you’ve packed enough for the trip itself. It’s important to remember that your little one will have no qualms about making their displeasure known to you while travelling! With that in mind, it is important to keep their needs at the forefront of your holiday travel plans.

Planning your Christmas holiday travel.

By air:

  • If you’re flying somewhere, book your flights as early as possible. Travelling at this time of year can be a pricey exercise so the earlier you book the better.
  • If you’re going overseas make sure you’ve secured a passport for your little one. Every family member flying will need their own passport.
  • Request the cot early. There are no guarantees you won’t end up holding your little one in your arms for the flight, but it certainly makes life easier if you can stow them in the cot safely for at least part of the flight.
  • Arrive early enough at the airport to avoid rushing, but remember that waiting around with a little one is no fun. Plan accordingly.
  • Plan feeds with departing and landing. It is easier on bub’s ears to be drinking at these times as it reduces the painful pressure build up in their ears that they can find quite distressing.
  • You can always ask your flight attendant to warm bottles and baby food for you. Check it first before giving it to bub though to avoid them having something that might be too hot for them.
  • Remember to get off the plane last. It might seem like the only thing you want to do is get off, but it helps you to avoid the crush of passengers and allows time for your luggage to come through.
  • Always check your hotel accommodation out thoroughly before you book it. Ensure that it is child friendly, and more importantly, child safe. Make sure the room has a fridge if you need to store bottles and food. Check that it has somewhere you can boil water safely.
  • If you’re staying with friends and family, make sure they have the basics you need before you set out. A cot and high chair are two essentials that you’ll need to supply yourself if they aren’t available.

By car:

  • Always check everyone is seat-belted up legally for the journey.
  • If you’re driving a long distance with your little one make sure you’ve got a good shade for bub’s window and an easily accessible bag containing a fully stocked first aid kit.
  • Stop every couple of hours for a break. Ideally, share the driving with a partner so neither of you gets overtired.
  • Time your trip based on your little one’s schedule. If they have a long sleep in the middle of the day then start out at the beginning of it. Alternatively, you may need to set off at night time and catch up on some sleep once you’ve arrived at your destination.

Packing for Christmas holiday travels.

Bub’s travel bag (for the journey):

Huggies baby wipes
Huggies nappies (enough for the leg of your journey)
A couple of changes of clothes
Plastic spoons and bowls
A large waterproof bib
A light blanket or quilt
A comfort toy
A pair of socks

Bub’s travel bag (for the holiday)

Case of baby clothes
Stroller or pram
Blackout blinds
Power point covers if bub is crawling or walking
Liquid baby soap
Baby monitor
Night light
Travel cot and bedding (if needed)

Toddler’s travel bag (for the journey)

Bottles
Change of clothes
Plenty of snacks and drinks
Plastic spoons and cups
Huggies nappies
Huggies baby wipes

Toddlers travel bag ( for the holiday)

A suitcase with clothes
Travel cot and bedding
Night light
Toothbrush
Huggies nappies or pull ons
Wet wipes
Stroller
Deodorized nappy bags
Favourite toys
Sunhat
Sunscreen

Routines and safety during Christmas holiday.

When you’re planning your Christmas holiday one of the most important things to remember is to under-schedule yourself. In the past, you may have been an avid sightseer or participated in every family event with gusto. With a little one in tow you will probably have to rethink that approach. You will find your holiday far more enjoyable if you keep activities to a minimum and try to keep your little one in a routine they are familiar with.

Most little ones tend to thrive off a routine and while their surroundings may be unfamiliar, if the patterns you have created are the same while on holiday, they are likely to respond far more positively. If they don’t have their regular scheduled naps or eat familiar foods, the person who will usually suffer for it most, after bub, is you.

If you’ve changed time zones during your travels, the best way to get your bub or toddler adjusted to the new time is by using the routines they are familiar with. In addition it is wise to ensure you’ve got blackout blinds to place on the windows to help them sleep that bit longer if possible.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, whether it is a hotel or a home you need to ensure it is safe for your little one. Remove all objects that you consider hazardous out of reach. If you are in a home, just explain that your little one is a curious creature and that “object x, y, z is safer if it’s put up high out of harms way.” While you cannot rearrange the house to suit yourself or bub’s needs, it is always worth asking if some object can be moved to higher ground if you are concerned about it. Remember that you are staying in someone else’s home and to be respectful of the way they run their home, however it may mean you need to be extra vigilant with your little one during your holiday.

During your holiday, don’t forget to take some deep breaths and spend some quiet time together as a family. While you may not have the holidays you enjoyed previously, you can create some very special memories of a Christmas together. Watching your little one open their presents or meeting a family relative for the first time can be a rewarding experience when seen from the viewpoint of an excited toddler. These will be the times during the holiday where it is good to remind yourself that the effort put into planning your holiday was worth it.