Being heavily pregnant, I've been sadly lacking any travel so having to live vicariously through others! My sister and her gorgeous daughter Abbie recently took a trip from the UK to France and I asked her to review it below.....
At first we were reluctant to book a holiday with our newborn, especially given how much stuff we have to pack just for an overnight stay at the grandparents. However, everyone kept telling us how easy it was to travel with a baby that isn't even crawling yet, so we bit the bullet and I'm so glad we did. We flew Ryanair from London Stansted to Bergerac and stayed in a farmhouse we found via www.babyfriendlyboltholes.com. Here are some things that we discovered along the way:
- Luggage. On Ryanair you are allowed one collapsible pushchair for free (we took our Mothercare My4 pram) and you can pay extra for 'infant items' such as a carseat or travel cot. We took our own car seat for ease (it also fits onto the chassis of our pram) and peace of mind, and packed it in a car seat bag (available from www.kiddicare.com). They didn't check inside the car seat bag for other items, so you could chance it and put some additional luggage in there too. Don't forget a pound coin for the luggage trolley at Stansted, and bring your own transparent resealable clear plastic bags for liquids in your hand luggage, unless you want to part with more cash. And no, they wouldn't let me use a nappy sack instead!
- Airport security. At Stansted they searched the buggy by hand, whereas at Bergerac they put it through the x-ray. Rules on liquids seem to vary. At Stansted I decided not to stress about taking liquids through so I packed a sterilised bottle in my hand luggage and bought a carton of formula from Boots (they stock plenty of Aptamil and you can phone in advance to reserve some). At Bergerac I took several cartons through security and was not asked to open them.
- Changing and Feeding. Stansted have a number of baby changing rooms, with private areas for feeding. At Bergerac this was much more basic, with a baby changing mat in the middle of the ladies toilet. We took sterilising tablets with us which were very easy to use each day.
- Flying. We paid extra for Priority Boarding, which was worth it just for not having to rush to the gate and stand in a queue, although I imagine that they let families with small children board pretty quickly anyway. We used a Baby Bjorn to carry her and left the buggy at the bottom of the steps. I have heard of some people packing the buggy in a special bag. We didn't have one, but we did pull the raincover over in order to protect the carry cot a little. The flight itself was completely fine, our baby fed or sucked on a dummy for the whole flight and barely seemed aware of anything that was going on! On the way out and on the way back the buggy was there at the bottom of the stairs for us.