It’s that time of the year when the winter is getting to most of us and we are seriously thinking about holidays, what we want to do, where we want to go. Planning, scheming, budgeting. Are you there yet? Is the travel bug nipping at your heals too?
This year we might do a big road trip across the UK, that depends on whether I can get my head around how I would cope with a 1 year old just on the move. Last year, just after he was born it was so much easier to plan. I also took notes and I’m not sure why I didn’t post my hints and tips immediately… oh yes, the small matter of my blog being broken.
So how exactly do you holiday abroad with a 6 week old baby?
Where do you start?
- Decide: fly or drive. Driving appeals to me more because of less compromises in terms of baby paraphernalia to take, less constraints on timing and therefore less stress, with more than one child I choose driving even for a 2,000km trip, the stress of packing and making the flight in time just ages me a decade each time we try to fly;
- Choose a holiday destination, preferably within a day’s drive ( realising that you will need to double your calculated time to get there with young baby) or flight away.
- Timing– If you book the trip before the baby is born, make sure that your departure date is at least 4 to 6 weeks after your EDD + 2 weeks (the added two weeks is in case baby enjoys the inner comforts more than the prospect of entering this big scary world)
- Get a passport for the new off-spring:
- You need a birth certificate. Have a name for the baby when he/she is born: you will need to register the birth as soon as possible, preferably at the hospital before being discharged as sometimes appointments at the registry office can be as far as a week away (in this case go back to the hospital and BEG to be allowed to register there, despite having been discharged)
- You need passport photos. Find a photographer who is adventurous, patient and meticulous enough to undertake photographing a newborn to the exacting standards of your country’s requirements;
- And immediately thereafter apply for the passport;
- Then pray that Royal Mail actually delivers the passport and not just lies about attempting delivery before sending it back to the issuing office… if this happens, take your heart medication and pray that the passport is delivered before your departure date when it is dispatched again.
So the ground work is done, papers are in hand, you pack the car and then pack a bit more … just in case you need such and such. The doors just about close. Keys in and ready to go…
Getting there and back, aka survival guide for the roadtrip:
1. Feed the baby before you leave, but not when you are due to leave, especially if you are on a tight schedule to catch a ferry;
2. Have an adult sit beside the baby to put pacifier back in when baby wakes during the drive … I know it’s lonely driving up front on your own!;
3. Hang all manner of mobiles and toys above the baby’s carseat, but also be prepared to remove all of these when baby gets annoyed with them and starts screaming wanting to get away from the stimulation;
4. If you are taking a ferry– other than a short one- book a cabin & retreat to rest ( you may need some arctic clothing if their aircon is working overtime, as it did for us)… oh and don’t even think of fitting a pushchair any larger than the small umbrella fold ones in your
5. While driving stop every 2 hours to feed, change nappies, let older children out and loose sight of them for at least half an hour.
6. Have plenty of drinks and snacks for all (triple your original estimate and then you’ll just about have enough)
7. Have a small bag with a change of clothes for everyone & key toiletries in it- this is so you can just take this in when you arrive at some ungodly hour at your destination and leave the rest of the car to unpack in the morning.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to your destination! Now rest so you are ready to explore.
If, like us, you have older children the trick then is to divide and conquer: Dad takes the older ones and sticks to their routine, mum takes the baby sticking to the 6 week old’s patterns.
And this is where your choice of location becomes very important.
Have you chosen right?
Find out what worked for us…in tomorrow’s post
Just a small side-note: Idared to embark on travelling with such a young baby partially because I was breastfeeding and knew this boosted my baby’s immune system and didn’t have the hassle of preparing bottles and sterilising.