A family holiday, whether at a domestic location or abroad is a great chance to get away from it all and enjoy some quality time in different surroundings. With luck, your baby may be the ideal traveller and sleep for a good deal of the time. That said, it's surprising how much gear she'll need to keep her comfortable and happy. Here's a checklist of items you and your baby shouldn't go on holiday without.
Baby travel accessories
- Travel bag
Pack everything you want easy access to on the way separately so you won't have to dig around in a suitcase. For example, keep medicines, wipes, sunscreen, diapers, mosquito repellent, jackets and hats in their own bag within easy reach.
- Car seat
A securely-fitted seat for safe travel by car. It can also double as a handy baby seat for when you arrive at your destination. If you are travelling by plane, check with the airline in advance if you can take the car seat on board.
An all-terrain pram is ideal for off-road and bumpy walks, while a lightweight collapsible stroller is better suited to town and city locations. You can consider borrowing from friends and family if you don't have one.
Not only will a blanket be useful on the journey for comfort, shade and warmth, but if it smells of home it may also help to comfort your baby.
- Baby sling
A good sling or baby carrier can be invaluable for getting about with your baby easily, especially in a busy airport, train station or city. Food and drink supplies
Take a dupatta or stole if you are breastfeeding your baby. This can be useful when there are lots of people about, such as on a flight. If you want to express milk while on holiday, pack a breast pump too.
- Bottled milk
If you want to bring expressed breast milk or formula, take enough for the journey. You may want to bring enough formula for your entire holiday. If you're worried about it being available at your destination. In this case, pack formula powder, plus bottles, teats, sterilising equipment and a bottle warmer. Ready-made formula is another option, though may not be easily available everywhere.
Pack some jars or tubs of food, either homemade or ready-prepared. Bring more than you think you'll need for the trip, just in case. If you're flying, the usual restrictions on liquids don't apply to your baby's food and drink. But do check the airline policy in advance.
If your child is on solids, bring plenty of snack options in case of any delays. Biscuits, fruits and breadsticks are quite popular.
You can also pack paranthas, khichdi or stuffed rotis if the travel time is short.
- Feeding equipment
Pack bibs, a sipper, a steel or plastic glass or cup, spoons and wipes and disposable plates. Also carry a plastic bag for dirty items.
- Cool clothes
Choose light-weight, long-sleeved tops, and long trousers or dresses to keep the sun off your baby.
- Warm clothes
If you are going somewhere cool, take warm clothes that are easy to layer so that your baby will always be comfortable.
Even hot countries can suddenly lose heat at the end of the day.
To keep the sun off, pack a hat with a wide brim that covers your baby's face and neck. If it will be chilly, pack a woollen or fleece hat for warmth.
- Plenty of outfits
If possible, find out whether there are laundry facilities available where you're staying. If so, you'll only need to bring a few outfits, but otherwise try to pack two complete sets for each day.
- Diapers and nappy supplies
Pack lots of disposable diapers for the journey. If you're worried about being able to buy them at your destination, you may want to take enough for the whole trip. Also pack nappy rash cream, nappy bags and wipes. You may like to take a travel mat for on-the-go changes.
Bed and bath supplies
Pack your usual baby wash, shampoo, lotion and wet wipes.
Take a few baby blankets, including her usual sleeping bag if she uses one.
- Body suits
Pack a few body suits, onesies and comfortable sleep suits so your little one will always be snug at night.
Depending on your destination, you could take your own travel cot, if you have one.
Other baby essentials
Everyone travelling abroad will need a valid passport, including your baby. If possible, make sure all passports are valid for six months after your return date. You should also check whether you need a visa to enter the country you are visiting. You may also need some extra documents, such as your baby’s birth certificate or Adhaar card.
- First-aid kit
Be sure to take all the important first-aid supplies for you and your baby. You should also pack any medication your child needs. Include useful phone numbers in the kit, such as emergency contacts, insurance helplines and the number for your accommodation.
- Mosquito repellent and sunscreen
Pack a repellent recommended for your baby's age and use as per the instructions. Also carry a sunscreen of at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 and make sure it is effective against UVA and UVB. Use a generous amount on your baby. If your baby is younger than six months, try to keep her out of the direct sun.
- Swim nappies
If you're heading to the beach or pool, take your own swim nappies, as they can be hard to find where you go. Many resorts insist babies wear swim nappies when playing in baby pools or water parks.
- Wet wipes
Carry several packets and keep some in your hand baggage and some in your general luggage. Wet wipes can use very useful during nappy changes, before and after meal and for cleaning up after playtime.
- Plug adapter
If you're going abroad, you'll need at least one of these so you can use your baby monitor or night-light, and charge your phone.
- A toy or book
Carry a small toy and a much loved book. These can come handy when you want to distract her or help her wind down after a busy day.
Finally, don't forget to capture those wonderful memories of your family holiday!
Remember to take your charger and an extra memory card too.