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Travel + Fun

21st Mar 2017

The circus that is travelling with kids… and 7 key pointers to make it easier

Gillian Fitzpatrick

So you’ve decided to take the plunge: you’ve decided to go travelling with a baby in tow.

Friends and family politely call you brave… when in reality they quietly assume you’ve properly lost the plot.

Because packing up and heading off with a tiny one is no mean feat.

I should know. When my now 4-year-old daughter was a mere six months old, she was dragged onto a transatlantic flight. Heading from Dublin-Arizona (it takes 11 hours, fyi) for a week-long jaunt, I wish I could report that the results were terrifying or dramatic… but, well, they weren’t.

Instead, the little sweetheart slept for most of the way there, and for much of the way back. The clever thing!

Suffice to say that in the three-and-a-half years since then, she has not continued in quite the same subdued vein.

Yup, I’ve weathered more than my fair share of screaming-child-on-various-modes-of-transport storms.

And while boarding a plane along with a new-born is slightly terrifying (for you and for your fellow passengers), you can still make it as straightforward as possible.

Here’s what I’ve learned…

1) Airports

Give yourself time to stop and change a nappy, but for goodness sake be sensible. That means NOT arriving five hours in advance. The longer you have in an airport, the longer you have to entertain a child in an airport. NO amount of Peppa Pig will pass those minutes.

2) Plane seats

If you’re going short-haul with a budget airline such as Ryanair, it’s worth considering paying for a seat for them too (this tip comes from Believe me, you don’t know a cramped aeroplane seat until you’ve squatted into one clutching a squirming baby.

3) Flights

It is what it is; try not to stress. Truthfully the rest of the passengers probably don’t care about the presence of your too-young-for-inflight-entertainment child as much as you fear they do. Time naps according; bring many back-up bottles and/or snacks and lean on cabin crew for support.

4) Baggage allowance

I spotted some more pretty keen advice from – namely that not all baggage-allowances are created equally. The travel search engine highlights in recent research that Aer Lingus, Ryanair and CityJet permit a pushchair or car seat to be checked in free of charge but CityJet also allows an extra 10kg for check-in luggage. adds that while all of these airlines allow parents to take an extra cabin bag on board when travelling with a lap infant, Ryanair specifies this should be up to 5kg (half of the adult cabin baggage allowance).

5) Hotels

Ask your hotel to source as much baby swag as is feasible in advance of your arrival. Even a day’s supply of nappies gives you time to head to the supermarket to stock up – in turn meaning you don’t have to pack them in the first place. And babies come with STUFF. So much stuff. So anything you can do to lessen this stuff should be embraced.

6) Cars

You might well have a normal child who falls asleep in the car. To those parents I recommend snacks, music, or videos of nursery rhymes. Or you might have a child who hates the car more than they hate all other terrible childhood afflictions (think vaccine administration or nose wiping). I have one of these latter children. Meet my 15-month old son – who possesses the power to scream for entire journeys. He’s fine before; he’s fine after. He is not fine during. To those parents I say, there’s nothing I can do for you.

7) Use the right tools

Don’t just use a search engine – use travel search engine KAYAK.ieit also boasts an app, searches other travel sites and shows travellers the information they need to find the right flights, hotels, hire cars and holiday packages. So pretty perfect for frazzled mums and dads everywhere. Hurrah!