If you think just getting to the shops with baby in tow requires a tonne of organisation – wait until you travel with your bub. When taking to the skies with your baby you really need to get your ducks in a row! From passports to prams, allergies and immunisations – here are the travel essentials to tick off before you depart.
All babies must have their own passport to travel, and for children under the age of 16 the passport will normally remain valid for five years. Take the time to go through the regulations involved with an Australian children’s passport, which includes ensuring you have two identical photos of your baby, one of which must be endorsed by a guarantor.
Makes sure the image of your baby is compliant – which can be difficult when photographing a baby.
Be aware that some countries require visitors have passports with at least six months validity, so plan ahead by checking with the relevant authorities or updating passports.
As a parent, you’ll have already learnt to expect the unexpected, and the same goes when on holidays. Taking out travel insurance is a policy against financial disaster. A simple accident overseas could end up costing you thousands of dollars, so shop around and organise travel insurance that suits the country and region you’re travelling to.
Check travel advice
Make sure you’re up to date with any travel warnings or advice for the region you’re travelling in or through. Warnings can be related to political unrest or medical concerns (such as the Zika virus outbreak), so it’s best to make sure your family isn’t being put at risk.
Make sure everyone in your family is up to date with their immunisations, including your baby. You will also need to check whether the region you’re travelling to puts your family at risk of contracting any vaccine-preventable illnesses, by looking through the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
Also, you may like to pack your own first aid kit, so you have sanitary and familiar medical supplies like bandaids and antibacterial wipes to hand.
There are a few things to clarify with your airline, as all have slightly different rules and regulations:
- If you are travelling within seven days of your baby’s birth, most airlines require medical clearance for your newborn.
- Check what can be included in carry-on luggage (formula, expressed milk, baby food, prams, portacots).
- Ask if car seats can be used on the plane, and if so what the width needs to be to meet regulations.
- Check what baggage is allowed for your baby, as some airlines don’t give children under two full baggage allowance.
- If your baby has allergies, be aware that some airlines require documentation and medical clearance to be completed if you’re carrying an Epipen.
- Also check what allergy-friendly foods will be available on the flight if your baby has started solids and suffers from intolerances and allergies.
- Ensure you double check your flight details 24 hours ahead of your scheduled departure to make sure nothing has changed.
- Print your boarding passes at home to save time at the airport.
- Some countries expect you to have certain documentation if your child is travelling with a guardian or only one parent. You will need to check this by getting in touch with authorities in your destination country.
- There are restrictions on taking some medications into certain countries, so if your baby is on medication you will need to check what you can take.
- Ensure your transfer transport is equipped with the correct child restraints if you’re not taking your own, at both your departure and arrival points. While you’re at it, double check the child restraint laws in your destination, as they differ from place to place.
- Check with your hotel if they provide portacots/prams/car seats, and make sure all of these are suitable for your baby’s age and weight.
- Ensure your accommodation has appropriate safety features like pool fencing, particularly around private villa pools.
- If you’re travelling to a non-English speaking country and you’re unfamiliar with the language, make sure you learn how to ask for baby essentials like nappies.
- If it’s required by your baby and children, ask what allergy-friendly options are available from the hotel menu.
As with everything and anything to do with parenting – preparation is key! Take the time to work through the list without rushing, particularly organising passports – and enjoy your holiday!