Heading off for your first family holiday with your toddlers or children can be stressful. There’s so much more to remember than when you’re travelling as a couple, but with a bit of preparation you can breeze through your break in the sun without too much hassle.
Sun Protection Cream
Don’t underestimate the amount of sun protection cream you’ll need when overseas. Experts recommend that sunscreen is reapplied every two hours, or after swimming. Look for factor 30 or 50 for children, and choose products which have 5 stars for UV protection. It’s not always the bigger brands which are better – in independent testing sunscreens from Aldi or Sainsburys do just as well as the branded products which are three times the price. Creams are often more expensive overseas, so stock up with plenty before you leave home.
It’s tempting to take the whole contents of the medicine cabinet, just in case. There’s really no need to take everything though, although it’s wise to pack basics such as paracetamol liquid and plasters. If you’re sticking to European beach destinations, most resorts will have a pharmacy with an English speaking pharmacist who can sell other things you might need, such as antihistamines. Any prescribed medication should be taken with you, clearly labelled. Pack your EHIC documents too, remembering that each member of the family needs their own card, even newborn babies. Should the worst happen and you or your child needs to see a doctor or be admitted to hospital, show the staff your EHIC and you should receive trratment under state healthcare rules.
Keeping them Occupied on the Plane
Plane journeys are often the most stressful part of the holiday, and nobody wants to be stuck on a plane with an upset toddler. Pack lots of favourite toys, simple snacks like raisins or crackers, and load some episodes of their favourite cartoon onto a tablet to entertain them if they start to get upset. It’s tempting to try to schedule flights for nap times, but the excitement and different surroundings can make it difficult to sleep. Check whether your airline allows parents with small children to board first as this gives you the chance to settle the children before everyone else gets on the plane.
Eating out or Self-Catering?
Many families choose to go self-catering on holiday as this gives more flexibility over meal times, and guarantees that the parents can provide food that the children will eat. Unless you’re heading very far off the beaten track, you’ll find that most restaurants will serve food which is suitable for children, or will be happy to sell you smaller portions of the adult menu. Many of the brands your children are familiar with will be available in foreign supermarkets, although part of the fun on holidays is trying out new things and encouraging the kids to do the same. If you are travelling with a very small baby and using formula the best advice is to take powder with you, and seek advice about whether to make up bottles using boiled tap water or bottled water.