Baby's first holiday: Tips and child-friendly destinations

Going on holiday with a baby is both exciting and scary. From the flight onwards, everything is a new experience and you will need to think about every aspect of your trip to make sure you and your baby are safe and happy. Read our guide to baby-friendly holidays and find the ideal resort for you and your family.

When can your baby go on holiday?

When going on holiday with a baby you need to check with your holiday company or airline what their policy on flying with an infant is. While there is no minimum legal age for babies to travel, airlines and holiday company all have different booking policies. In general, most airlines ask that babies are at least two weeks old when travelling, although some may allow seven day-old infants to fly. Give them a call before booking to make sure everything will be OK.

What should you consider when choosing a resort?

When choosing a baby- or toddler-friendly holiday, there are a number of factors you should consider. First, how hot will the destination be? Since high temperatures could make your child ill, choose a resort that isn’t too hot and, if you can, travel in low season months such as May, June or September. It’s also important to check the facilities at the resort: do they have family rooms with baby equipment such as cots, highchairs and baby baths, as well as dedicated baby changing areas? Also ask if they have a baby club, with trained staff that you’d feel happy leaving your baby with. And if you’re staying in a private villa, check for safety features such as stair gates and barriers around the pool.

Best places to go on holiday with a baby

Baby-friendly holidays abroad are great for both you and your baby, with a host of new sights and sounds giving the experience a new level of excitement. But there are a number of factors that will make the experience less stressful and more fun for you all. If you have a very young baby you may not want to travel too far, so countries such as France or Portugal are ideal destinations, especially if the resorts have specific kids’ clubs for babies. Try Opio en Provence in France or the beautiful Da Balaia in Portugal, with their baby clubs and natural environments to explore. If you think your baby could manage a longer flight, La Pointe aux Canonniers in Mauritius offers a tropical paradise with an overnight flight and no jetlag.

What should your resort provide?

Of course, every resort and hotel is different, but a good resort will be able to provide a cot for your room, as well as highchairs in the restaurant, baby food, microwaves and hot water to heat up baby food and milk. There’ll also be baby changing rooms and trained staff that can look after your child during the day to give you a bit of time to yourselves. Some holiday companies such as Club Med also offer a Baby Welcome service, providing everything you and your baby need for a relaxing stay, along with a Baby Corner in the restaurant, providing sweet and savoury baby foods and all the equipment necessary for preparing your baby’s meals. Make sure that you inform your resort that you have a baby when you book your holiday and everything should be ready and waiting when you get there.

Flying with a baby

The golden rule of flying with a baby is to pack everything you think you need – then double it. So clothes, nappies, milk, food, wet wipes, teething ring, dummies (if your baby uses them), toys, blanket, spare clothes for you both – take more than you think you need and you won’t worry about running out of something vital when you’re 20,000 feet in the air. Most airlines are sympathetic to the needs of new parents and will allow you to keep your child in their pushchair right up until boarding. Remember that the air in plane cabins is very dry, so your baby may need feeding more often, and the changing air pressure when taking off and landing is likely to cause discomfort, so make sure you give them their dummy or feed them during these parts of the flight. Toilet changing tables on airlines are also notoriously uncomfortable, so remember to take a changing mat.

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