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How to survive your first long haul holiday with a little one

Enjoy a stress-free holiday with these family travel tips from Destination2

family on holiday
Chloe Best
Chloe BestLifestyle Features Editor
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While travelling further afield with children can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience, it may also be daunting for parents with so many things to consider. The travelling experts at have shared all the tips and advice you could possibly need to keep little ones happy and entertained during a long journey, and ensure you all enjoy your holiday once you've reached your destination.


Bear a couple of things before you book your flights: If your child is small enough, (usually under 20 kilos) booking a bassinet is a good idea, as it gives your baby a place to sleep, so you can try and rest at the same time. If your little one is a bit too big for a bassinet, make sure you get priority boarding and seating which will give you extra legroom.

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· Remember to book your seats together, with one of them being an aisle seat, so you can get up without disturbing your row of seats.

· Try and book your flights to coincide with sleeping times. It's not always possible, but getting little ones to sleep will be a lot easier. · If there is a transfer, split the trip up in two and stay the night in the airport hotel. This works out much better than doing the entire journey in one go. Make sure your hotel is child-friendly and read the reviews to make sure other guests found it quiet and safe.

holiday packing© Photo: iStock


· Remember, you can buy nappies and wipes abroad! But you can also collect your milk, nappies etc by making an order at the Boots at the airport a day before you travel. You can then collect your package after you get through security.

Baby and toddler travel essentials every parent needs

· Pack a basic first aid kit of antiseptic cream, Calpol sachets, nappy cream, teething granules, plasters, teething gel, thermometer etc. For bottle-fed babies, cold water sterilising tablets are a must. For toddlers, pack a water bottle and baby cutlery.

· Other essentials include clothing travel wash, a travel blackout blind and plenty of plastic bags (nappies, dirty clothes, miscellaneous rubbish – you'll be surprised at how many you go through!)

family at airport© Photo: iStock

At the airport:

Give yourselves plenty of time to get to the airport! If you have kids already on their feet, make sure they burn energy off as much as possible in the airport beforehand. With so much space, young children will turn the departures area into their playground. This will hopefully increase the need to rest when they're eventually seated on the plane.

· Try and put as much as possible into the hold. Only bring the essentials on board with you. Major airports like Dubai have their own buggies that you can use to ferry little ones about if you have a transfer flight.

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· If you're flying with a partner, divvy up the roles. One is in charge of passports and paperwork; the other is in charge of keeping all the children in tow. Tag team on your flight too – give your partner some time off to doze and agree on a swap over time.


family travel 1© Photo: iStock

· Bring a 'fun bag' – a little bag filled with toys, presents, colouring books and everything else to keep a child entertained. The iPad is your best friend on long haul flights. Bring a charger and headphones so your little one is entertained for as long as possible

· Pack plenty of food such as dried fruit, sandwiches, crackers, crisps, rice cakes, treats.

Once landed:

· Ensure your hotel room has both a fridge and a kettle for milk and food preparation, and a microwave if possible.

· Check the dimensions of the cot and make sure they work for you.

· Check locks on doors and windows. If you're concerned with plug sockets, use a couple of the plasters from your first aid kit to cover up them up.

· Try and adapt to local time as much as possible – if it's night-time at your destination, try to sleep. If it's daytime, keep awake for as long as possible. Of course, you'll more than likely find your child bounces into the swing of things a lot easier than you, but bear with it.

Enjoying your holiday:

family on holiday watching sunset© Photo: iStock

· Take the first few days easy. Trips to the beach and to the pool will tire little ones out. Allow them to watch television to wind down in the evening while you can relax on the balcony. As the holiday progresses, you will have acclimatised to your surroundings and you can be a bit more adventurous with day trips and the amount of time you spend away from the hotel.

· Dietary norms will more than likely be thrown out of the window. If it gives you an easier life, forget the rules for a week or two and enjoy the time with each other.

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