Did you know Prince William was the first member of the British Royal Family to travel overseas on Royal duties? He accompanied his parents to Australia in 1983, in an age when many parents wouldn’t dream of taking very young children abroad.
However these days, more and more new parents are also seasoned travellers, and are reluctant to pack away the suitcases indefinitely. Spain is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations for families, and is perfect for parents with younger children and babies. With hot summers and mild winters, Malaga and the Costa del Sol is the ideal location for baby’s first glimpse of the wilder world, and is a great opportunity to introduce them to a different way of life… not to mention the sunshine!
But if you’re feeling a bit daunted by the prospect of travelling with a baby for the first time then our guide to travelling with children should go some way to reassuring you that not only is a lovely family holiday more than possible – but it can actually be a beautiful, memorable experience. In the first part of this guide, we’ll be covering what to consider for your journey…
Watch your weight and cut costs
Most airlines will allow you to carry one item of baby equipment in addition to your luggage (such as a pushchair or travel cot), however few offer an actual allowance for the baby. This means that all the bulky essential items like milk and nappies end up crammed in your case! With the majority of airlines operating strict weight restrictions on hold baggage, this can end up costing you more than just a bad back! Over-weight bag charges can be astronomical, so consider carefully what you’re going to need – if it has to be brought from home or can be bought (or even hired) at the other end.
There are a number of rental companies operating in the Malaga area (and even one in the airport itself) who will rent baby equipment, toys and even order formula milk for you while you’re away. Watch out for deposits, and weigh up if this option is cheaper than paying for an additional hold allowance, especially considering you can purchase many items locally. Some UK airport pharmacies offer a milk ordering service before you fly, where you can order in advance and collect a quantity of baby milk after security. This can be a great option, but don’t forget that whatever you buy goes towards your hand luggage allowance, and some airlines may refuse to let you board if you’re carrying more than one bag.
Use your hand luggage sensibly, and in addition to your essential travel items, think carefully about what you’re going to need for your baby on the flight. Milk (in sealed cartons or that you’re prepared to open and taste in front of security), food and feeding equipment, wipes, nappies (and plenty of spares), nappy bags, a change of clothing for both you and the baby, and some small toys are essential. If your little one uses a soother, don’t forget to carry extras; and a final top tip: an inflatable pillow or rolled up towel will make holding your baby more comfortable if you’re lucky enough to get them to sleep!
Watch out for the next part of our guide to Travelling with Children, where we’ll be covering where to get hold of essentials, food & drink, and sun protection for your little Prince or Princess.