Sponsored post with Original Travel
Although I’m still relatively new to travelling with a child, I’ve definitely discovered that it’s a steep learning curve and every new adventure involves a little trial and error. Having now taken Oscar on three international holidays and a few UK breaks I’ve started to hone my skills of family travel. I’ve collaborated with luxury travel agent, Original Travel, to bring you a few top tips for travel with children.
1. Choose you Destination
Depending on your travel style different things will be important to you and your family. Do you want a city break and if so are there plenty of attractions that will interest your child. If it’s a beach break you’re after, is the beach child-friendly and safe? Are there plenty of local restaurants that you can all enjoy and are they easy to get to from your hotel? What’s the transport system like or should you hire a car? What is the climate like at the time you’ll be there. Think of what’s important to you and what destination would suit all of you best.
2. Pack wisely
I always thought travel with a baby meant packing the kitchen sink… that’s pretty much what we did for our first holiday with O (I’m not joking I bought ‘fancy’ day time outfits, ‘dinner’ outfits, a pack of 70 nappies…’). When in reality we just dressed him in little vests the whole time and didn’t even use half the nappies. I now realised less is more when packing for a child and to only bring the bare essentials.
Another thing I highly recommend is using packing cubes. We can pack Oscar’s different types of clothing in each cube, plus one for toys, one for hygiene etc etc. It makes packing and unpacking incredibly easy especially for multi-destination trips.
3. Choose a child-friendly hotel
Though not vital, we’ve found it so great to stay in hotels that cater well for children. For example, some of the hotels we’ve stayed have a children’s pool, excellent children’s menus, special activities and kids clubs, babysitting services, great grounds for exploring and family entertainment. We’ve also found it so handy when they provide cot and other essential items for us.
It’s also worth checking whether children are free of charge in the particular hotel.
4. Be prepared for the flight
We’ve taken Oscar on a few flights now (both long haul and short haul) and I’ve come to realise that it’s important to be prepared. Have plenty of nappies, snacks, wipes, spare clothes, milk and any other comfort toys your baby or child needs.
Another great idea is an airport meet and greet where families are met by a personal greeter before check in and fast tracked through the airport. Original Travel offer this as standard as part of their service no matter what class you are booked into on the flight. Booking with Original Travel also gives access to the airport lounge (for essential snacks and drinks before the flight) and pre-selected seats on the plane come as standard. This service is also offered on the way home through the airport – especially useful in Corona times as the guide knows the airport inside and out.
5. Take a Travel Pram
One of my top tips for travel with a baby is buy a travel pram. We have the BabyZen YoYo which has been one of my absolute essential items. The pram is small and can be used as you negotiate through the airport, it can then be taken on to the plane and stored in the overhead locker and taken out when you need it on the other side. It’s so small and easy to fold that it won’t take up much space in a hotel room and can be used throughout the holiday.
6. Use a travel concierge
A couple of years ago, Mr S and I travelled to Morocco as part of a collaboration with Original Travel. I was so impressed with how they planned and organised our trip. One of the best aspects of booking with Original Travel is access to a local travel concierge. For every trip guests are connected with someone who lives locally and knows the destination like the back of their hand. The concierge can help with sourcing a family-friendly restaurant, booking a baby sitter, find child friendly activities and more. Sometimes with O our plans change last minute especially if he refuses to nap, so it’s useful to have someone on hand to make alternative booking etc.
7. Plan Carefully…
If you’re a regular or long term reader of my blog you’ll know I’ve always planned my travel down to a tee – yes please to Excel spreadsheets! I think it’s important to make sure things are pre-booked, to avoid disappointment and to avoid going out of your way to get there. Original Travel can help with this by putting together an itinerary and making bookings for you so that you maximise your time in each location. Even more handily, this information can be easily accessed with an app on your phone so you’re not juggling bits of paper while trying to look after the kids.
The itinerary should also be tailored to suit all members of the family so that there is a level of compromise and you’re still seeing and doing what you want to do as well as thinking about the littles ones. It’s also important to build in rest time which can be easy to forget.
8…But also be flexible
Oscar’s home routine is reasonably strict but on holiday I like to be a little more flexible. Going to bed later, waking up earlier and having mealtimes all together for one thing.
If these Corona times have taught us anything regarding travel, it’s that flexibility is important and when things go wrong it’s important to have a backup plan. Original Travel have introduced the Corona Confidence plan which allows full flexibility to change trips 30 days prior to departure up until the 31st December 2020. If travel restrictions mean you can’t take your trip it will be postponed or fully refunded at no extra charge.
9. Have Entertainment
As a tiny baby we needed little more than our faces to entertain Oscar but now he needs toys and the occasional short amount of screen time to avoid melt downs in the car. Original Travel have partnered with beloved children’s entertainers, Sharky and George to provide entertainment packs tailored to each specific holiday and individual child. The packs are great for children aged 3 -10 and include quizzes, challenges and fun facts about the destination. They also run the Help Our Holiday (HOH) SOS service who you can contact in the event of a meltdown to get some extra tips on games and activities.
10. Take Lots of Photos and Make Amazing Memories
I’m so grateful to be living in the age of the smart phone and having the ability to take so many photos of Oscar at any time. I also love having my pro-camera when we’re away getting those really special family shots that I’ll treasure forever. Original Travel also offer photography lessons as part of their partnership with Sharky and George, helping families create even more treasured memories – they even teach trick photography!
Original Travel have recently launched The Voyageurs Collection, a sister brand co-created with France’s award-winning tailor-made travel company Voyageurs du Monde. The new brand offers the same top level service Original but with an exciting new range of itineraries. I love the look of their family holiday ideas and I have my eye on the family holiday to Brazil!
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