Baby's First Holiday

For those without children, especially infants, the task of preparing and then undertaking a family holiday cannot be imagined. The simplest little thing while away from home needs to have been planned and thought out, and every ointment, cream, lotion and syrup needs to have been brought along for the journey. Let's face it, for those of us who do have a child, you'll know that the last thing who ever want is to be away from home and discover some vital item has been forgotten.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to make it sound a nightmare. Going away with your child is brilliant fun and being there to witness the wonder that a child experiences somewhere new and exciting is beyond amazing. So what do you need to do to ensure that your family holiday is amazing and not a nightmare?

It may seem unbelievable to some but although he's only 8 months old, Beckett is already a transatlantic traveller. Earlier this year the three of us took a week long holiday to Orlando. This involved direct flights to and from Orlando, each over 8 hours. As you can imagine, spending that length of time in a giant flying bus requires definite planning. For us this meant ensuring that we had an adequate supply of bottles, food and entertainment for Beckett's first aeroplane ride.

The biggest thing to consider here is how many bags you need. We obviously checked in as much as possible and really only carried on bags for Beckett. Jules had a handbag with her but the only items I brought on the plane, my iPad and a pair of headphones, travelled in one of Beckett's bags. In Beckett's two bags we had his bottles, formula, food, changing items and some toys. This meant a lot of containers of liquid over the usual 100ml carryon security limit. This isn't a problem though - any baby items are not restricted by the same regulations. When passing through security they simply perform a swab test for explosive residue and visually inspect any food stuffs.

To be honest, aside from having to carry everything, it really wasn't any bother going through the airports with all his gear. The ground staff, both in Dublin and Orlando, were also very helpful and having an infant means that you get priority boarding. When booking your flights, however, do make sure that you get the front seats with the bassinets. There's a special seat belt to attach your baby to a parents during takeoff and landing but for the rest of the flight they will be in the bassinet or your arms. I would strongly advise that during takeoff and landing you have a bottle ready for your baby to drink to avoid any pain or discomfort due to the changes in cabin pressure.

As for the part of actually being in another country with your baby or child, the only big things for us outside of the usual considerations for clothing and sunscreen were how we would be sterilising and cleaning his bottles. To do this we booked a room where we were staying that had a little kitchen type area (a microwave, sink and kettle). We just bought washing up liquid at WalMart and then used Milton to sterilise. All very easy to be honest.

It helped that we went back to the same hotel that Jules and I have used 4 or 5 times before. We knew exactly what to expect. We knew how the hotel was laid out, what it had to offer and what sort of assistance we could get if needed. This really was key - I would strongly suggest not trying out some place new with a very young child. Know where you're going and what to expect.

I'll write a post very soon about the specifics of going to the amusements parks (Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure) and how to best cater your trip away with a baby, but for now just rest assured that if you are planning your first family holiday, you'll be fine. With a little bit of planning there is nothing to worry about. In fact there's so much to look forward to!
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