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Top Holidays

75 top tips for travelling with your baby

  • Travel 101
  • By Lauren Godfrey
  • Published 14 March 2024
  • Revised 01 May 2024

Hello new parents. Congratulations on the birth of your little bundle of joy, your milk monster, your sleep stealer… and your new travel companion. Adapting to life with a baby comes with many new emotions making seemingly simple tasks a little more daunting. For example, does boarding a plane make you feel anxious? 

We get it. 

Leaving the house with a little person can add an extra hour onto your morning, and then there’s all the bags. However, we have lots of fantastic tips and little gems of information to help make your holiday as easy as possible. From what to pack for your newborn to how to navigate the airport with a toddler, we’ve reams of expert advice. Most of our team of personal travel managers and support staff are also parents, which is why we’re sharing our first-hand experiences allowing you to learn from some of our mistakes.

Read on to discover how to travel with your baby or toddler. We’ve compiled the ultimate guide comprising 75 top tips split into easily digestible sections sharing everything you need to know before you go.

What to pack when travelling with your baby?

1. A simple packing list
Clothes for each day plus some spare; pyjamas; SPF 50; a sun hat; two swimming costumes long sleeve tops help protect from the sun without the constant need to apply cream; comforters and dummies (if applicable); any toiletries; a bath towel and separate beach towel (ponchos are great); nappies and swim nappies; pool toys and floats, plus armbands or life jackets for toddlers; any food essentials such as bottles, sippy cups, spoons, formula, pouches and snacks. And don’t forget a cardigan or two for nippy evenings and when travelling.

2. Remember stain remover
Do not travel without stain remover and/or washing powder. You’ll have more success removing the evidence of a poonami if you soak the item in the sink straight away, rather than waiting until you come home. 

3. Be prepared with spares
It’s wise to pack a spare pair of clothes for your trip, but a spare outfit for every day is excessive. 

4. Your fairy godmother
Washing up liquid is an essential. It’s great to wash up bottles and any breakfast bits or cutlery in the room, plus it can be used to help remove stains on clothes. 
Oh, and don’t forget a bottle brush to help keep bottles clean.

Baby boy sitting in sand wearing cute swim outfit

5. Bottles on-the-go
If your baby is formula fed invest in a Nuby RapidCool flask to help make your little one’s bottle the perfect temperature in under two minutes. 

6. Always have your meds to hand
Pack a medicine bag and keep it on you while travelling. But this isn’t just for any prescription or regular medication. You never know when your baby may need relief from teething or help to overcome a temperature, so Calpol and some teething essentials are handy to have close by. Of course, medicine can be purchased in every country but it’s easier to give the right dose when the packaging is in your first language. This is also an important factor if your little one has any allergies.

7. Borrow the basics
Speak to your hotel before packing any equipment essentials. Many family-friendly resorts have travel cots, sterilisers, bottle warmers, baby baths and even strollers for guests to use.

8. Save space in the case 
Remember all countries sell baby essentials such as nappies and wipes. If you run out, you can always buy more so avoid overpacking (and the associated costly baggage charges).

9. Recycle and reuse
Did you know swim nappies are reusable? As long as baby doesn’t do a number 2, swim nappies can be dried in the sun and used again.

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Our expertise, worldwide connections, and the way we do things with a relentless drive means whatever your travels needs are, we can make it happen for you whenever, however, wherever and every time.

10. Happy Nappy
Alternatively, choose swimwear with a built-in nappy to save the need for any swim nappies. Or invest in a re-usable neoprene swim nappy from Happy Nappy. The designs are adorable.

11. Safety around water
Inflatable float aids, arm bands and life jackets are all recommended for infants. Team these with a long-sleeved swimsuit and waterproof hat with neck protection to also shield from the sun.

12. Keep cool

For the summer months and hot climates, a fan that attached to the pram is a great way to help keep baby cool.

13. Summertime siestas
To stay cool during daytime naps, a snooze shade may be beneficial. It velcroes onto the pram keeping cool air in, and harmful UV rays and any bugs out.

14. Stay organised
Packing cubes are a great way to keep baby’s clothes and essentials together. They’re also good for organising mum and dad’s clothes, too.

asian toddler in swimming pool

15. Our favourite packing hack
Alternatively, hanging shoe racks are perfect for planning children’s outfits. Just place their outfit and any accessories with the day’s quota of nappies in each pocket and when you arrive in destination you simply pull the organiser out of the suitcase and hang in the wardrobe. Simple!

16. Black out the light
Time difference and a change in environment may affect your baby’s sleep. Stick-on black-out blinds are a good way to keep your hotel room super dark and help your little one sleep soundly.

17. Double up on the sleep sacks
Even if you’re travelling somewhere warm, we still recommend packing a sleep sack as your room will have air con and you don’t want baby to be cold. And even though almost every hotel has a laundry service, if there’s an accident in the middle of the night, you may want to have a spare handy.

baby in pram at airport

The nitty gritty

18. Pack your passports
Since 1998, babies and children under 16 are requested to have their own passport and can no longer travel on mum or dad’s. These passports have a validity of five years (while adult’s are 10) so be sure to check it’s in date when you travel with them at school age.

19. Visa requirements
Check that you have all relevant forms and Visas required for your destination prior to travel, and that your little one has too. The UK Gov foreign travel advice page has everything you need to know before you go.

20. Shoulder season

Make the most of travelling with your children during term time before they are old enough for school. Not only will this save you money, it’ll also mean resorts are quieter. Although the weather may be a little cooler outside of the school holiday dates (especially for Europe), the lower temperature is probably more comfortable for your baby or toddler.

baby on plane with mum

21. Under twos fly for free
Remember that under twos fly for free when sitting on a parent’s lap. This can also be complemented with a resort stay for free or eat for free offer, so check out the hotel’s family policies before booking. For example, Disneyland Paris allows all children under three to stay and enjoy the parks free of charge. We can already feel a trip to see the mouse coming…

Can you fly with a newborn? Of course. Most airlines allow young flyers from 2 weeks of age.

22. Allow plenty of time
You have already experienced the extra time required to leave the house with a little one. So be prepared and allow additional time to park your car, check your baggage, get through airport security and more. It’s one stress you can control.

23. Meet and Greet

If driving to the airport, we recommend meet and greet parking. No one wants to get on a busy shuttle bus with a little one and all the luggage. Especially if it’s cold and dark. Instead drive straight to the terminal and use the luggage trolleys to help make the journey from your car to check-in a doddle. 

24. Express lane
Make your airport experience even easier by organising a meet and greet with security fast track.

toddler at airport

What can I take on holiday with my baby?

25. Know your baggage allowance
Many airlines allow you to bring two items of equipment for your infant (under two sitting on their parent’s lap) free of charge.

26. …And understand the terms
Equipment includes a fully collapsible pram, travel cot, car seat and baby back carrier.

27. Hand luggage restrictions
The majority of airlines also offer a complimentary extra piece of hand luggage per infant. This usually has a weight limit of 10kg, but please check with your individual airline before travelling.

28. Plane sleep aids
Baby bassinets are available on board for children up to two years old. These can be requested at time of booking to allow parents some freedom of movement whilst your little one naps safely and comfortably. However, these are limited per aircraft so may not be guaranteed.

29. Airline approved strollers
Invest in a travel stroller that is airline approved and fits in the overhead lockers.

30. Some of our favourite travel prams
Not sure which travel stroller to purchase? We recommend:
Bugaboo Butterfly
Joolz Aer+
Silver Cross Clik

31. A baby carrier or sling

Great for the airport, but also invaluable for active holidays and those who enjoy hikes and nature walks.

baby in bassinet on plane looking out window

Can I bring food and snacks for my baby or toddler for the airport?

32. The most commonly asked question
Can I take baby milk through security? Yes, you can take enough milk, sterile water and food for your journey through security - however, you may be asked to taste it. 

To discover more, please head to the UK Gov website.

Another popular question is "Can I take baby wipes in my hand luggage"? And the answer is of course you can. We suggest a pack in every piece of luggage so they're always at hand.

33. Airport security screening
Pouches, flasks of sterile water, formula and milk will need to be screened separately at airport security. Be prepared by having all perishables in one pouch within your hand luggage. This will save you time and stress rummaging around your bag while trying to organise your belongings in those grey trays.

34. Snack attack
Pack plenty of snacks for the airport and plane in your carry on. And then some of baby’s favourites in your hold luggage.

35. Protect your formula
For your return journey, if travelling with an opened formula tub make sure you seal it shut securely with some tape and wrap it in a carrier bag. The airline pressure can cause the tub lid to burst open, spraying formula over your clothes and other items, as we unfortunately discovered first-hand.

toddler with suitcase at airport

36. Be prepared for delays
Delays are unfortunately a reality when travelling so be prepared with enough milk, snacks and toys for your entire journey… plus extras.

37. Order toiletries and essentials to click and collect 
All UK airports have a Boots. To save space in your luggage and for extra peace of mind you can order toiletries for both you and baby to collect in the terminal. Please note, Boots allows a maximum of two tubs of formula to be ordered per person.

38. Defrost your breast milk
Frozen breast milk cannot be carried through security.

Our top tips to make boarding a breeze

39. Make use of airport kid’s zones
Let your toddlers burn some energy by utilising airport soft play areas. They’ll soon be stuck in a seat or on a parent’s lap for the duration of the flight, so allow them to explore as much as possible prior to boarding.
Discover London Heathrow’s kids’ zones
Discover London Gatwick’s kids’ zones

40. Take your pram right up to the aircraft
You can use your pram right up until it’s time to board the plane. An airline approved stroller can then be taken onboard and put in the overhead locker. This is essential for when you depart and means you won’t have to carry your baby or toddler through customs and wait for your pram on the baggage carousel. Especially important for sleeping little ones and wrigglers.

41. Bring a baby carrier
A baby carrier can be helpful if you do put your pram in the hold to help keep your hands free while boarding.

42. Safety on board
Infants (under twos) seated on a parent's lap must wear an airline seatbelt. They cannot be left in baby carriers or slings. So, if your little one is looking sleepy before boarding, maybe keep them out of the carrier or risk waking them up when removing on board.

43. Skip priority boarding
If travelling with toddlers, you may wish to ignore priority boarding and get on the plane last. This allows your little one to run around for a bit longer, reducing the time spent on mum and dad’s lap.

44. Divide and conquer
Alternatively, board the plane separately. One parent can board and secure the luggage and pram in the overhead locker, while the other parent entertains the little one at the gate and boards last to minimise your child’s time spent in the plane seat. 

Fun on the flight

45. Bring the grandparents
For extra assistance throughout your entire trip, including in resort and at the airport, bring nanny and grandad.

46. Where to sit
When travelling with an infant on your lap, you’ll be automatically allocated a window seat for safety.

47. Choose your seats
To guarantee your family will be seated together, it’s worth paying for your seats. Otherwise, it is unfortunately likely that you won’t be seated together.

48. Purchase a seat for your infant
If you would rather more space on the airplane, under twos can have their own seat but you will be charged a full child’s fare. However, under twos must be seated in an airline-approved car seat for take-off and landing.

49. Consider extra legroom
For long-haul flights especially, consider flying premium or business. At the very least we would recommend requesting a seat with extra legroom. If requesting a bassinet, you may automatically be given an extra legroom seat free of charge, however, this is at the airline’s discretion. To guarantee more space, you’re best booking the seat you require.

50. Two under two
If you’re travelling with two children under two years old, only one child can sit on your lap with the seatbelt extension. The other must have their own seat and be sat in an approved car seat for take-off and landing. Or, on the lap of another adult who is travelling with you.

51. Ignore other passengers
If your little one cries out, so what? Tuts from disgruntled passengers are short-lived. You’ll never have to see them again once you’re off the flight so just ignore them. However, we’re sure you’ll get more sympathetic smiles from other parents instead. 

 52. Pack suction toys
As you’re guaranteed the window seat, make use of it with suction toys and stickers. Spinners are a favourite for many.

53. Mess-free colouring
Another top choice for children old enough to hold a pen is mess-free colouring. Simply fill the ‘magic’ pen with water and watch the pages turn to colour.

54. Controversial entertainment
Screen time may be sneered at, but on a long flight, for many, it is essential. And we certainly do not judge! 

55. Check your battery
Whatever your poison, make sure all electronics are fully charged. Laptops, phones, tablets, white noise machines… do not leave for the airport without your battery being on 100%.

56. Noise control
Invest in some baby or toddler headphones. The entire plane may not want to listen to Baby Shark on repeat.

57. Snacks, snacks and more snacks
If all else fails, crack open the snacks. Try to keep eating as mess-free as possible if your little one is sitting on your lap, and cover their clothes with an all-in-one bib with sleeves.

58. Don’t forget spares for you

A spare pair of clothes for mum and dad may also be a worthwhile hand luggage item. You never know when an explosive nappy or travel sickness can strike (again, we’re unfortunately speaking from experience)

59. New toys are exciting
Obviously, your little one’s favourite comforter and book should be within reach at all times, but new toys and experiences are exciting for young minds so pack a few treats in the play bag. And to really keep the magic alive, wrap them up and give them out throughout the flight to keep your kid entertained.

60. Never underestimate the value of tape
A roll of washi tape can turn your lap tray into a track for your children’s cars to zoom along.

61. Airlines are child friendly
Many long haul carriers provide kid packs for young flyers. Emirates, for example, offer all parents an Infant Kit with useful essentials such as nappy cream, bibs and wipes.

62. Tiny tummies
Many long-haul airlines also offer kids’ meals plus food specially designed for babies. So do not fret if your little one eats their way through their packed meals before you’re even halfway.

63. Protect little ears
Ear defenders can help protect your little one’s ears from popping… if they’ll keep them on that is.

64. Take off and landing

Give your small ones a bottle, dummy or something to chew while the plane takes off and lands. This should help little ears from popping. 

Choosing the right holiday for you

65. Pick flight times wisely
Try to plan your flight time around your little one’s routine. If you can, opt for a flight that coincides with nap time.

66. Connections
Ensure there’s enough time between connecting flights for toilet breaks as well as adequate time to stretch little legs. Babies may want to roll around so bring a blanket to cover any dirty floors, while toddlers can run free.

67. Travelling to the airport
If you’re driving to the airport for a morning flight, try to keep baby asleep during the drive and get them dressed for the day when you arrive. This way they’ll have your time at the airport to be awake, meaning that by the time you board, they should be ready for a nice long nap.

68. Choose a family-friendly resort
To help reduce your packing list, choose a hotel that is specifically for families. They should then have some equipment readily available for you to use, such as bottle warmers and sterilisers.

We recommend Ikos hotels. To discover more check out our five-minute read: Which Ikos resort is right for me?

69. Location, location, location
Consider flight times and your child’s ability to sit on a plane. Europe is a good option for toddlers. Spain is just a two-hour flight, while Greece is only four. For babies in arms – or bassinets – the Middle East, (think popular hotspots Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman), is seven hours, while Maldives is between 10 and 11 hours.

cute baby crawling around the airport

70. A room with a view
Consider your room or suite choice within your chosen resort. A room overlooking a busy pool area may be too noisy at nap time. And an overwater villa in Maldives will present a horde of safety concerns for toddlers.

71. Level down
Check your resort has a lift before you request a room on a high floor, and that individual villas have doors on the ground level, not up or down a flight of steps.

Carrying your pram with baby or toddler inside is not only heavy but also a safety risk… pool shoes and flip-flops are not known for their grip!

When booking with Winged Boots our personal travel managers and dedicated concierge will handle all these fiddly room requests for you, allowing you to travel with ease.

72. Book with a reputable travel agent
Take the stress away from your holiday planning by letting an expert travel manager take the reins. They’ll ensure all the little details are thought through, such as making sure any equipment required is on the booking notes and that your little one has a travel cot in the room. Winged Boots’ team of personal travel managers are experts in organising family travel and can handle every aspect with ease, leaving you free to relax.

73. Confirm your transfers

Book private transfers ahead of your holiday and request the correct size car seat. 

74. Hire car seats in destination
Alternatively, look into hiring a car seat in destination. This may be easier than checking your seat into the hold. It also avoids any risk of damage to your car seat while travelling. 

75. Multipurpose equipment 
If you’re planning on driving while on your holiday or travelling frequently in destination, you may choose to bring a car seat with you. To save space, you could opt for a Doona, an innovative car seat with wheels that turns into a pram. Just note that this does not comply with airline hand luggage dimensions so will need to be checked into the hold.

This guide has been formulated by personal travel managers and support staff of Winged Boots who have all travelled with their young children. Many tips are formed from their first-hand experiences – yes, there was an incident where a toddler was sick on their parent halfway through a flight to LA – and this is the same approach we use when booking your holidays. We use our first-hand knowledge to create the perfect trip for you, something an online comparison website could never do. We are real people going on real holidays and are ready to assist you in your travel planning. For any help organising your family holiday, contact Winged Boots today on 0203 816 0985. 

Did you enjoy this read? For more family travel tips click here.

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