Holidaying with a Baby – How Too?

Happy holidays

Happy holidays

Blazing hot sunshine, the sound of the crisp ocean waves, ice cold drink in my hand and the dull beats of a little music playlist i created myself, we won’t go into what’s included on that playlist, let’s just say I’m an easy listener. When i close my eyes and think of these delightful thoughts i’m right back to my Summer holiday, total relaxation. One year on, add in a small baby to the mix and things are a little different. Don’t get me wrong, our Summer holiday may have been different but was i still relaxed, did i have a good time, would i go and do it all over again? Yes, yes and without a doubt is my answer.

Freya's first holiday

Freya’s first holiday

Freya was 6 months when we took her to the South of Spain in September along with her teenager brother. The difference being, he only needed an electronic device and wifi and he was happy. We opted for a place not too far to travel and where the temperatures would be milder than the likes of Egypt, little did we know they were going to reach the high 30’s. We had no idea what Freya was going to be like in warmer climates, luckily she’s like her mummy and loves the sunshine. Although she had set times for her bottle, extras were added in to make sure she was getting enough fluids, funnily, she didn’t seem to mind having those extra bottles.

The view from the balcony

The view from the balcony

Passport
First on the holiday to do list was Freya’s passport, let’s do it ourselves we said,how hard could it be? That was our first mistake, why did we think we would be able to lie Freya on a white sheet and it wouldn’t crinkle? Crinkling was a no no according to the government website which tried to guide us. Now i have no idea what we were thinking, but myself and Mark, Freya’s daddy, decided to try a photo booth next. How was that ever going to work you may ask, you are right to ask, it didn’t work. There was always a head or hands in the way and they weren’t Freya’s. So we did what we should have in the beginning and went to our local photographers studio, ten minutes it took, he took the photos, photoshopped my hands out and printed them straight off all for £5.

Lightweight colourful clothing

Lightweight colourful clothing

What to pack
Suncreams, make sure you take two different brands incase one doesn’t agree with baby skin, check out other mum’s reviews on the products you buy as we all know, mum’s know best. Take a well equipped first aid kit with ointments for burns (more likely to be used on our teenager) rehydration powders suitable for babies, paracetamol incase your little one develops a temperature, sterile wipes, teething gel, antiseptic cream. Be prepared!

Freya’s clothing consisted of lots of light cotton garments, water suits for the pool and sun hats, the majority of the time she was in her nappy, but at night times when temperatures were still late 20’s, light weight clothes were a must.

Don’t forget to pack your baby monitors too if your in a villa, just for peace of mind and sterilising tablets, much easier than taking an actual steriliser.

Hats, hats, hats

Hats, hats, hats

Before you go
Research, research, research! Whether you are staying in a villa or a hotel, whoever you are booking it with will be able to help. Questions you need to ask; Where is your closest GP/Pharmacy? If your baby falls ill you need to know how to get help and where to go. Is there a nearby supermarket? If you need to purchase nappies and formula milk instead of packing them in your case, you need a supermarket. Don’t just assume that one of the corner shops where you’ll be purchasing your rubber dinghy will have a stock of products such as Pampers and SMA.

Don’t forget to add to your insurance too and apply for your European Health Insurance card too, this will allow you to access state provided healthcare in European countries for free or a reduced cost, it’s not an alternative to travel insurance!

Have you booked a transfer, now this played on my mind, travelling for 40 minutes in a taxi with no carseat, i couldn’t relax. I’m not saying that Spanish drivers are bad drivers, but have you ever noticed how many cars are in need of a little bit of paint work? If they weren’t covered in dust it was fairly large dints in the side. So, after a little bit of googling i found a whole host of taxi transfers who offered safety seats and it only cost an extra £10…and relax.

Love my pushchair

Love my pushchair

The Journey
At 6 months Freya was drinking formula milk, taking a couple of sealed preprepared bottles and one ready made plus a few sterile bottles, we were good to go. Make sure you work out how many are needed for the journey and what to take in your carry on bag. Airport security may make you test your baby’s milk, although we didn’t have too. Airport security also make you put down your pushchair to go through the scanners, now this is a pain, especially when they are settled and sleeping and you have to take off clothing. My advice, wear slip on shoes, no belts or jewellery, it makes the process so much easier.

Airlines do allow pushchairs to be checked in free of charge providing they are under a certain weight. It’s great as they can stay in the pushchair right up until boarding. We decided to purchase a lightweight pushchair to take with us for ease and because our main pushchair was a little expensive and i’ve seen on TV how they handle baggage. If something does happen to your pushchair you may be entitled to compensation, contact the airline direct.

Now, if you’re anything like my other half, you will panic that you’re going to be that family with the screaming child, no one wants to be that family. Luckily we weren’t, in fact Freya actually fell asleep at take off, the plane had the same effect as the car journey, what a relief. She didn’t stay asleep for 3 hours but we were prepared with snacks and toys (including iPad with cartoons), she liked walking up and down the aisle with me too and people watching, i think she gets that from her mummy too. But seriously, the 3 hour flight was fine going out and returning provided she was entertained, different snacks to sample, able to sleep and able to move about. We did however play pass the parcel between us both and big brother, which helped enormously.

Aeroplane selfie

Aeroplane selfie

The Venue
We opted for a villa, a home away from home, our own pool to have fun or relax, peace and quiet (we’re talking other people’s kid’s) and the ability to pop in and out when we want and walk around in our pants should we choose too. No taking bags of products and essentials to the pool each day, we just nipped inside. A lovely balcony to sit and relax at night usually with a deck of cards and nibbles…oh and the baby monitor of course. We had a fully fitted kitchen to sterilise bottles and do any needed laundry, they may be tiny but they generate some washing. For us it was perfect and it was no more expensive than staying in a nice hotel. We use www.holidaylettings.co.uk and www.owndersdirect.co.uk, but make sure you read reviews before booking!

Both of my babies

Both of my babies

 

Day/Night

Now what? First things first, trip to the supermarket for the men, the traditional stock up of water, a few beers, sweet treats, ice cream treats, fresh fruit, supplies for the BBQ (always make sure your villa has a BBQ, there’s nothing better than a family BBQ in the warm dark nights) supplies for breakfast, lunch and coffee for the caffetiere, perfect for sitting on the balcony early morning watching the sun rise. This supermarket visit also included nappies and formula milk, which were so much cheaper than at home too but just as good (maybe even better). Mummy and Freya unpacked and explored what would be home for the next week.

Roll on Summer holiday 2015

Roll on Summer holiday 2015

IMG_0591

Family selfie…perfect

 

Days would consist of breakfast on the balcony, a wander to explore the area, mummy and daddy would take turns having an hour each on the morning or in the afternoon to lie in the sunshine and relax whilst little madam stayed indoors where it was cool. This part of the day for me was a very warm welcome, i enjoyed every minute of that relaxation in the sun and i would urge everyone to do the same. We still had lots of play time, Freya loved the pool and it was nice and cool for her too, another must for a villa.
Early evenings when the temperature started to dip, we would take a short taxi ride to the marina for a stroll and a bite to eat and end the night with Freya in bed and us three on the balcony competing for the crown of Jacks, Two’s and Eights, a very competitive card game. A one that i seem to be very bad at!
For me, that’s a pretty perfect holiday, the people love most together in the sunshine with no real stresses other than where to eat that evening. Roll on the next Summer holiday.

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