Flying with a little one made easy… or should I say, easier!

The thought of flying with a little one is scary so here are our tips on making it a little easier.

We’ve asked families with kids of varying ages for their tips and tricks:
* Georgia took her first flight at 3 weeks old and has been to South Africa, Turks & Caicos, Spain and France a couple of times.
* Martha’s parents have definitely not let having a baby stop her travelling, they travelled long haul numerous times in her first year. Bali, West Coast of USA and Malaysia just to name a few.
* Freddie is now 9 and a seasoned flyer having been to both East and West Coast of USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and all over Europe.

For mums (and some dads), the holiday starts long before even getting to the airport. Packing…. What to take, and how to get it all in a suitcase. A few tips on packing. Make sure you are aware of your luggage allowance, some airlines include 20kgs while others 23kgs. Some airlines like Emirates offer a very generous 30kgs. If you know how much you have its easier to be ruthless and only pack what is needed. Do research and find out what you can buy in destination. Do they sell the same brand of nappies / formula etc where you’re going as those are the things that take up a lot of space / weight and if they can be purchased abroad, its one less thing you need to worry about. Dont forget to pack a few for the arrival day (or if you’re delayed) to make things less stressful on arrival.

This may sound silly but start making a list as soon as you think of something and add to it whenever you think of something else. This way when you finally start packing you wont forget anything. Have your kids carry some of their own things. Freddie loved his Skiphop wheelie with his toys in. There are also other great options like Trunki, Bed Box etc, depending on your little ones age.

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For your hand luggage, make sure you have a bag for the overhead storage with toys, change of clothes etc but keep a small carry bag under the seat in front of you with essentials so that you don’t have to keep getting your bag down. We recently reviewed the StorkSak cabin carry-on.  It’s large, on wheels and has a removable organiser that can be hung up and used without unpacking ! Genius.

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Ok, so you’re packed… now its time to get to the airport. The thought of being at the airport with loads of time to spare is daunting as you are just adding time onto your journey. It is recommended to get to the airpot 3 hours prior to departure and in my experience when travelling with a baby, get there 3 hours before. Airport meet and greet parking is definitely helpful as you just drive up, hand your keys over and they park and keep your car for your return. Dont forget to take your car seat out if you’ll be using it on the other end.

You’re now at the airport and have checked in your bags, car seat, buggy etc. Dont forget a luggage protector for your car seat/buggy if you’re checking it in. Whilst we’re on the topic of buggy’s – have you seen the new collapsable strollers that can be taken on board? We reviewed the Babyzen Yoyo and the Mountain Buggy Nano a while back and they are excellent. There are a few different options in the market now ranging between £130 and £350.

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Another great option is a baby carrier / sling. If you want to check your buggy / stroller in, this option is perfect. One of the main benefits of a carrier is you have your hands free. You will still have to remove your baby and sling before going through security.

Getting through security is the bit that will hold you up.  You are allowed to take any amount of baby food/milk needed for the journey which can often be above the 100ml liquid allowance. This means it all needs to be searched and scanned separately.  For older kids this can be  quite a fun time as they enjoy seeing their bag on the x-ray machine and having to walk through the scanner. Some airports will allow you to fast track if you are travelling with a little one, so its always worth asking.

Once you’re through security, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You’re almost there.

Now to find something to keep your little one busy until boarding. Some airports have dedicated Family Facilities which are worth looking into before you travel. Heathrow airport have stay and play areas which are great for tiring your little ones out before boarding. Airport lounges are also a good idea to get out of the busy terminal and relax with a complimentary drink and snack. Giving your little one a good meal before the flight is a great idea, just incase they dont like what they’re serving on board.

Its finally time to board ! Yay, for toddlers and older kids, this is exciting – the time has finally come. If you’re travelling with babies / toddlers you are able to board the plane first to give you time to get settled.

If you are travelling with a baby, you can reserve the bulk head seats which are at the front of the cabin and have a bassinet if your baby is still small and light enough. Each airline has different weight limits so check before booking. This is great as you dont have to keep your little one on your lap for the entire flight. I would recommend reserving these seats at the time of booking as they are subject to availability.

Please remember that during turbulence (or any time the seatbelt sign is illuminated), you have to put your little ones back on your lap and secure the infant seatbelt. This normally happens just as they’ve finally fallen asleep too! If they aren’t using the bassinet you also have extra legroom which is definitely needed.

For older children that have their own seat, there are some great products out there that extend the seat and make flying a bit more comfortable for them. If you’re on a day flight, try and reserve them a window seat so that they have something to distract them, even if its only for 5 minutes. Dont forget to pre order your children a special kids meal. This can be done upto 48 hours prior to departure directly with your airline / travel agent or online.

There is a debate between the mums i’ve asked regaring what they feel is better, a day flight or a night flight. I think it depends on your children, their ages and sleeping patterns. I personally would recomment night flights all the way as Georgia sleeps well on the plane, even when lying on me. A friend who has a 5 and 7 year old swears by day flights. You know your child and what is going to work best for them.

Toys, Activities, Games and Books – the more the merrier! Kids get bored quickly so having a few new toys / activities that you can introduce when they start getting bored is great. Sticker books are a great idea too. We tried out the Keep ’em Quiet travel pack which is excellent. If they are old enough to use headphones a fully loaded tablet with their favourite films on is a winner ! Most airlines have a childrens section but if not, you can buy a case for your tablet with a valcro strap that fits perfectly over the tray table. It also works around the headrest in the car ! I got mine from Amazon.

Take off and landing can be a stressful for parents because we’re worried about our little ones ears. Breast feeding or drinking out of a bottle / sucking on a dummy can help babies whilst sucking on or chewing a sweet can help with older ones. If your little one uses a dummy – definitely get a dummy clip, and pack a spare incase it goes missing. Its amazing how things can just disappear down the side of the seats on a plane.

The best advice I can give you, is to make flying an adventure – the older your children get the more they will love flying and having a baby shouldn’t mean you need to stop travelling. We live in a day and age where there are SO many gadgets out there that make flying and travelling with a little one easy, enjoy it and your little one will too.

Now sit back, relax and remember, once the flight is over, you have this to look forward to….

Cuddledry – Cuddlebunny Toddler Towel

The same company that created the award winning hands free baby bath towel have created a toddler range, including the Cuddlebunny, Cuddleroar and Cuddlepanda. The cutest bath towels come in 2 sizes (1-3 and 3-6 years).

We were sent the cuddle bunny for Georgia (2 years) to try out.

Georgia loves bath time and hates getting out, there are often tears but ever since her bunny towel arrived, she loves getting out and lying in it. She particularly likes the bunny ears and tail.

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All Cuddledry products we’ve reviewed are of a very high quality and this is no different – the packaging it comes in is beautiful – Georgia loved carrying it around like a briefcase when it arrived. They retail for £29.99 which is on the expensive side but for a product thats used daily, its certainly lasted. It washes well and is still super soft.
Click here for more info or to buy your own. Use code FRIENDS15 to get 15 % discount at checkout.

I love taking her bath towel with us when we go away, its compact and light so these products are great for everyday use as well as while away.

 

Chilly’s Bottles – Chilled or warm – you decide.

A few of my friends have told me about these amazing water bottles. When I say talking – I should say, RAVING about them. I got in touch with Chilly’s as I wanted to see what all the fuss was about – They are amazing. Perfect for every member of the family especially on days out.

They’re made with a double wall vacuum technology that keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and warm drinks warm for up to 12 hours. They’re also Eco-Friendly, reusing your bottle means you will use less single use plastic. It also helps you drink more water – I’ve always struggled to drink water but I’ve been drinking it by the bottle load as theres nothing better than ice cold water on a hot day.

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We received the bottles in the midst of the UK Heatwave a few weeks ago. I put iced water in it straight away and headed out to a friends house. I forgot to take my bottle out of my bag which was in direct sunlight. I went for a sip and when I picked up the bottle, the outside was warm – i thought ‘oh no!’ but when I had a sip, the water was still lovely and cold.

My husband was sceptical at first but he drinks a lot of water through the night so I gave him my bottle and told him to test it for himself – the next morning he was sold! We went on a family holiday to the South of France last week and we took our 2 Chilly’s bottles with us – the temp was no lower than 33c degrees all week, with one day reaching 38c. We spent a lot of time around the pool, meaning our bottles lay around in the sun all day, for days on end – but the result was always the same – our water was always the same temp it was when we filled the bottles.

One note of advice – after reading a few comments on the Chilly’s Facebook page I saw people saying their water hadn’t been cold after leaving it in the fridge or it wasn’t as warm as they’d have expected after a few hours. Chilly’s recommend that you fill the bottle with iced cold water from the fridge, as apposed to using tap water and then refrigerating it in the bottle. The double walled technology means that if your water is room temperature when you put it in the bottle and then into the fridge, thats the temp it will be even if left in the fridge over night. And the same with hot drinks, they advise you to pour boiled water from the kettle into your bottle, warming it up before you add your coffee / tea to keep it warm for up to 12 hours.

Not only do Chilly’s sell bottles, they sell tumblers, food pots and accessories too. The bottles come in 4 sizes, 260ml, 500ml, 750ml and 1.8l. Ranging from £15 up to £35.
They come in many different designs, trendy prints, pastels, metals, neon, matte, mono as well as the Refill bottle.

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Chilly’s is in partnership with Refill, a free tap water initiative designed to reduce single use plastic and promote hydration. There are over 12000 business that have signed up across the UK so far (with over 2000 refill stations in London alone). All you need to do is look for the ‘Free Tap Water’ sign, pop in and fill up your bottle on the go! For every Refill X Chilly’s bottle sold, Chilly’s gives £10 to City to Sea, who runs campaigns to prevent marine plastic pollution and safeguard our oceans.

I would highly recommend these bottles, not only while out and about, but they’re great when flying – have you ever seen the price of water in the airport and nearly died ?? Take your empty chilly’s bottle through security and fill it up when you’re airside saving you on extortionate airport water prices. A 750ml bottle of still water was being sold for EUR4.50 at Nice airport on Sunday. They also make great gifts for those people who have everything.

Holiday Tots readers can get 15% off their Chilly’s order using the code HOLIDAYTOTS15 at checkout. Order yours here

 

KeepEmQuiet – The ultimate Travel Entertainment pack for kids !

I have seen a few posts about these bags and as I’m always looking for things to make travelling with kids easier, I got in touch with KeepEmQuiet and they sent me a bag to review on our recent trip to France.

I requested a girls pack, and this is what I received:

This pack retails for £16.99 (Long trip pack) and had snacks, toys, sticker books, a puzzle, magic painting book, a colouring book with crayons and a story book. 9 entertainment items and 4 snack items. Very good value I thought. I love how you are able to almost personalise your pack by choosing from not only Boys and Girls, but 3 age groups (1-3, 3-5 and 5-10 years) as well as the length of the journey (short, medium and long). Prices range from £10.99 up to £16.99.

Georgia loved the tiger and as she’s very into stickers at the moment, these were a god send. Our flight was 1h40 and this kept her busy for the majority of the flight which meant I could read my book and dad could catch up on some Netflix – winning !

When you check out you’re asked if you want a second pack for the return journey, which is clever. As our flight was only 1h40, our pack had enough for both the journey there and back. I kept some of the books/toys separate and gave them to her on the way back so it was all new for her too.

I normally spend a fair amount of money getting things to keep Georgia occupied during flights, so for £16.99 I felt like this travel pack was really good value for money.

These packs aren’t only great for flying, they’re perfect for car journeys too. Any journey where you’re racking your brains for things to keep your little ones busy – get yours here.

Bob Books – personalised photo books !

Earlier this year we were contacted by Bob Books to see if we wanted to try out making one of their photo books. They make for great keepsakes / gifts. Our Georgia has been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in her first 2 years so I thought what better way to savour the memories – I’m hoping to keep the book for her until she’s older and go through it with her.


If you’ve never made a photo book before, its quite simple.

 

 

I downloaded the app onto my phone, as I have all of my photos saved to my mobile. I did struggle to navigate their desktop site so was much more comfortable using the app.

You choose your book type, cover type, paper type, the size and a theme. You then choose photos you’d like to import and get to making your book. You are able to change the layout and type captions onto your pages to really personalise it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It auto populates your pics onto the pages but you’re able to crop them. It also tells you if the quality of the photo is good or not so good. The finished product is of  a very high quality.

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Bob Books are offering all Holiday Tots readers 20 % off all photo books – click here to start creating your own memory book.

Cuddledry Baby & Me Wash bag

We were sent the new Cuddledry Baby & Me Wash bag to review. Bronwyn, Kieran and Georgia took it on their recent trip to Euro Disney.
baby-and-me.jpgNormally when going away I have to pack 2 separate wash bags so the idea of having it all in one place sounded like a great idea to me. We were away for 2 nights and this wash bag was the perfect size. I feel this wash bag would be a bit small for a 2 week holiday but perfect for a long weekend/weeks holiday.

It has a separate waterproof section on each side which was great for toothbrushes or wet sponges etc. The 2 re fillable bottles were great to decant my little ones body wash and shampoo.

If you like to be organised, this wash bag is for you. Retailing at £24.99 it is on the higher end, price wise. It is made of a hight quality wipe clean material (inside and out) which is great if there are any leaks ! Click here to get your own!

Babble Band – the first wearable baby monitor!

Summer Infant created the Babble Band, the first wearable baby monitor. We were given one to review and have used it at both home and abroad.

BBReviewers: Bronwyn, Kieran and Georgia.

At first glance, the Babble Band is attractive and I was intrigued. I love how it has an adjustable wristband so both myself and my husband can wear it without it being too big or too tight.

The set up is pretty simple, You plug the base in to charge and place the wristband on top. Once fully charged it will last 8 hours which is great when you’re away and need to keep an ear on your little one before going to bed. I wouldn’t recommend using it overnight due to the shorter battery life.

There are 3 settings – audio, vibration and light mode (sound activated LED lights provide a visual cue when there is noise) which is great. It also lets you know if its out of range (this monitor has a range of up to 800 feet) or needs recharging.

I think it’s a great product and have actually started using it at home as im sick of having to unplug the monitor and move it when moving rooms. It was great when my little one was asleep and I needed to hang the washing up outside. I knew if she woke up the Babble Band would alert me.

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This product is great when you’re on holiday. Its light and small. One of the biggest Pro’s for me is that you don’t have to go to bed when your kids do.

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Pros:
–          Light
–          Compact
–          Wearable
–          3 monitoring modes
–          adjustable wristband

Cons:
–          Short battery life (upto 8 hours)

 

b.b4Retailing at £39.99 it is a great price for a great monitor.

You can get yours directly from Summer Infant or Boots