| *Check in advance what various airlines offer for parents travelling with baby. As well as bassinets and skycots, concessions might include flight attendants specifically allocated to looking after families, pre-allocated seats, babyfood (possibly even organic), toddler meals, children's TV channels, and children's goody bags.
*Choose scheduled flights whenever possible, because you have shorter queues, kinder flight times, and there's less possibility of being delayed. There's also a greater possibility of the check-in staff blocking off the seat between two adults if you're travelling with an under 2-year-old.
*While charter flights are invariably cheaper and sometimes the best option in terms of proximity to your destination, you are more likely to suffer delays, especially if you travel later in the day as scheduled flights always take precedence over them in order of take-off.
*On charters, it's worth paying for a premier baby travel service UK if available. Most operators also offer upgrades for very little cost, and it's well worth it. This will secure guaranteed seating at the front of the plane (no panicking about where you'll sit) and there's usually plenty of space. You also get served first which means the distraction of food/drink comes just when you need it and not after the tantrum bomb's gone off. Also, if for any reason seats are not allocated on your return journey (often happens in Corsica) you don't have to fight your way on to the plane to get a good seat together. They sound like small things, but the little things make all the difference, and it's well worth the extra £25 or whatever it costs!
* If your child is under two, their (virtually) free flight will no doubt be an important consideration. But do bear in mind the size and weight of your child, especially on a longhaul flight. If you aren’t lucky enough to get a seat blocked off, or there are more than 3 or you travelling, your baby will have to sit on your lap for a long time. With a child who’s nearly two (or a younger porker!) this can be extremely uncomfortable, not to mention the potential health hazards for you of no t being free to move. So, think carefully before booking with baby travel services and if at all possible, pay the 60% (see airlines ) or so of the adult fare for a big baby travel if you’re on a long flight.
*Pre-book bassinet or sky cot if available. Otherwise, arrive early for check-in, in an effort to secure good seats. If you've booked a cot you'll get a bulkhead seat. These provide space to park your sleeping baby between your feet and the bulkhead, as well as room for changing, plus a mini play-area out of the aisle.
*Remember that buggies can almost always be taken right up to the point of boarding. In fact, if your child is asleep when you disembark, it's worth asking a steward whether they can retrieve your buggy there and then to avoid you having to carry your baby to baggage carousel and the inevitable wait for your luggage.
*If you're breastfeeding, try and time feeds to coincide with take-off or landing or both. It will help relieve the pain associated with ears "popping".
*For older babies and toddlers, offer beakers of drink during take-off and landing. Alternatively, cartons of drinks with straws are useful (beware of spraying your toddler with them after opening), as well as being a good distraction - particularly if your child does not normally have them.
*"Plane Sailing" - how to survive a plane journey with a toddler.
*For the latest information regarding air travel after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, click here
| *Knowing your child is particularly important when considering a long-haul flight with your child. It's quite possible that a three-year-old might be content to snack, play and watch cartoons on a long-haul flight, whereas an 18-month-old may be less amenable. Very young babies are more likely to sleep for longer periods on flights. Before making your final decision, consult with individual airlines and ask them what provisions they make for customers travelling with baby. Also consider night flights if flying long haul.
*Check what immunisations you and your child will need and leave plenty of time to get these done - some jabs cannot be administered simultaneously with others. www.netdoctor.co.uk/travel/vaccinations.shtml
*Check whether or not you need a visa with embassy or consulate of country you're visiting. Children with their own passports will also need their own visa, but a child included on a parent's passport does not
*Ensure that you've got a comprehensive baby travel insurance policy.
*Find out whether you will be able to get hold of the basics like nappies, sterilising pills, baby food, formula milk and whole milk. Local mineral water may not be ideal for babies.
*Ask your GP if he can supply you with a course of children's antibiotics in powder form so you can mix them up if required.
| *Travel by night or early in the morning so children might sleep - the roads are emptier, too.
*If you are driving, make sure you've planned your route, written out key instructions before you hit the road and take a mobile phone.
*If you have more than one child in the back of the car, frequent stops are even more important for them to stretch their legs. Encourage them to swap seats.
*Allow for regular breaks so toddlers can have a run around and go to the loo.
*Use fast roads i.e. motorways where possible as they're less likely to induce travel sickness. You can also plan a few stops at service stations, which invariably have play areas and baby-changing facilities.
*To keep your travelling with baby full of entertainment, use some or all of the following:
How to prevent car sickness:
Motion sickness (which is more likely to affect toddlers and older children than babies) results from a conflict between the eye and ear: The inner ears detect that the car is moving, but the eyes focused within the car - do not. The brain gets conflicting signals, cue nausea. Hopefully, your child will first complain of queasiness before vomiting so you can take steps to prevent it.
*Persuade your child to fix on a point in the distance, outside the car. Older children might enjoy a game of "I Spy".
*Toddler car seats should be positioned so they can see outside the car.
*Discourage reading which can compound queasiness. Instead, engage toddlers with music and story tapes.
*Ensure plenty of fresh air is circulating within the car and avoid transporting any strong-smelling foods.
*Dry crackers are a good way of settling a small child's stomach. Avoid greasy food.
*Allow enough time for frequent stops.
| *Trains can be more relaxing with young children than cars (you can give them your full attention for one thing), or flying, as you're not in such a confined space.
*Trains generally arrive in city/town centres, which can reduce journey time.
*Eurostar staff are generally reported to be most helpful, assisting parents on and off the trains with buggies and luggage as well as down escalators. There are also babychanging facilities on trains and staff in the buffet car will happily heat bottles. Eurostar (0990 186186).
*Do reserve seats if going by train - although you don't pay for under-fives, you may be able to book them seats for a nominal sum. Call the train company to let them know that you are travelling with a baby and hopefully they will book you into a compartment near the buffet, the disabled toilet and corridors where you can leave your buggy.
*When travelling in Europe ask a conductor where non-smoking end of train is so that you can park yourself by that section before boarding.
| *Ferries offer space for the little ones to wander round and, on some lines, play areas and videos too.
*Reduce chances of your toddlers succumbing to sea sickness by avoiding greasy food on the day. Also to be avoided: chocolate, although mints may help distract some toddlers from their nausea. Fresh air helps so bring warm coats if you want to stay on deck.
Babygoes2 is currently researching cruising holidays along with these baby travel services UK. If you have any comments on ferries or cruises, let us know!