North Sea or Dubai, beach hotel or farm – in general, everything is possible on vacation with your baby. Whether the time will be a rest or a test of endurance depends above all on your preparation. From booking to packing list: Here you will find your personal guide for the family vacation.
Table of contents
Family Vacation – Planning
Before you pack your bags for your vacation, you need to make preparations. You should ask yourself whether all the basic requirements for your time together are right. Have the most important postnatal examinations been completed? Is your family ready to leave their familiar surroundings? Do you want a change of scenery?
If you can answer “yes” to these questions, there’s nothing standing in the way of a vacation with your family! Now you just have to think about where you want to go: Will it be the baby hotel with childcare or an all-inclusive beach vacation by the sea?
The advantage of baby hotels or family hotels is by far the possibility of baby care. While the parents can go out on their own, trained professionals take care of your child. Many of these hotels also offer spa facilities for young and old, as well as joint activities such as parent-child swimming courses.
And if something is forgotten while packing, you can buy things like pacifiers, bottles or wet wipes directly on site at most family hotels for a small fee. Most of these baby hotels are located in Germany and Austria. On the website www.familotel.com you can discover many offers and orient yourself.
“Just no long-distance travel” you will read on many advice pages. However, this opinion has long been considered outdated. With the right preparations, you can fly to your desired destination without any problems. With a variety of offers from airlines and hotels, you can also travel to distant countries with your family.
Of course, a good infrastructure, modern health system and a high level of security play a central role. We recommend not too remote places, where doctors and shopping facilities are easily accessible. So find out about your vacation region before you book! The pediatrician will advise you if the country is safe for your family and if vaccinations are needed.
If you plan to travel abroad, all children will need their own identification document. The children’s passport is valid worldwide in most countries (exceptions are the USA, Australia and some African countries) for children up to 12 years of age and costs 13€. If only one parent is traveling abroad, the other parent must carry a travel authorization. At border controls it can be determined that you are traveling with the consent of the second parent. Depending on the duration and the country, an international health insurance might make sense. Financing the vacation is also not a bad idea, should you really need a rest, even if it would otherwise not be financially possible. One finds a clear credit comparison e.g. with Kredit-fabrik.de.
Tip: Avoid places with extreme heat or cold. This can be very stressful for your charges and therefore also for you.
Family Vacation – Arrival
Soon you will be faced with the question of which mode of transport you want to use to go on vacation. Whether car, train or plane – each has its advantages.
If your baby has developed a sleeping rhythm, you can adapt the journey to it. Night drives are usually pleasantly cool and, with luck, the baby will sleep for most of the drive. With the car, you can comfortably set the pace of the trip and take breaks whenever you need to. You start at home and end at your destination.
By driving with foresight, the driver can adapt to the passengers and prevent anyone from feeling sick or uncomfortable. There should be enough room in the car for family, adequate provisions and luggage. With all these things, safe driving must be guaranteed by clear visibility. With the car you are very flexible on the road. In case of emergency you can always turn around, go back earlier or go somewhere else.
You cannot control the traffic situation. Traffic jams, road works and detours can surprise you at any time. In the worst case, you’ll be stuck on the highway for hours without access to restrooms or food.
Tip: Make sure you have plenty to keep you occupied: toys, books, music and radio plays – so you’re prepared for anything. Pack a few snacks, too. With delicious fruit or a piece of chocolate, the world looks a lot friendlier!
ICE’s are generally equipped with changing tables and children up to 5 years old travel free of charge. The train gives you the option to reserve a children’s compartment, which gives you more privacy. You can check your luggage in advance and have it sent to your destination. So you would have only your hand luggage with you.
The biggest advantage of traveling by train is probably to be able to eat and drink at any time and to move freely with the children on the train. It is also the most ecological way to travel further distances. If the train runs with Bordbistro you can also provide the little ones with a snack at any time.
Things that you can not influence are of course delays and train cancellations. The ICE is comfortable, fast and offers a lot of comforts, but with the regional train, it looks different. You can’t choose the passengers in the possibly overcrowded train and the journey can quickly turn into stress due to various changes.
Tip: Entertainment and preparation is everything! Pack painting utensils, books and snacks. Look for suitable train connections to your accommodation. And don’t forget the shuttle from the train station to your hotel or vacation home!
Advantages Of Airplane
With the airplane you have the advantage to spend your family vacation a little further away and to get there in a relatively short time. The airlines have many different offers that you can use. As a family, you board first and can take the stroller with you all the way to the plane. At your destination, the stroller will be returned to you as soon as you disembark.
During take-off and landing, your child will sit on your lap. For this purpose, you will receive a loop belt, which is put on like a normal belt and connected to yours. Families with small children usually sit in the front row of the plane. Here, there are baby recliners where babies up to 12 months can slumber in comfort. For infants and children, most airlines have free movies, games and music. They can also run around, sleep or play.
The important thing when flying with children is to make sure you equalize pressure. So take drinks and food with you so they can swallow and chew during takeoff and landing. By the way, you can take baby food and bottles with you on the plane without any problems; the flight attendants will warm them up for you in a water bath. There are also various tools you can use to help your little one equalize pressure, such as special earplugs.
Tip: Register your children and babies with the airline in advance. This way, the crew can better adjust to you and has various goodies ready for you!
With the airplane you are more inflexible than with the car. Remember to inform yourself about shuttle services beforehand.
In the airplane itself, you can hardly influence the draught through the air conditioning system, so you should be careful with sensitive babies. Compared to train and car, flying is more exhausting.
But: if the flight is short, it is a very good alternative to the ten-hour car ride.Also interesting:
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A completely different means of taking a vacation is the cruise. Here, too, the offer of many companies is growing. Babies and children can now more often with on the boat. However, the babysitting service here usually only applies to children over the age of one. Normal baby monitors do not usually work on ships.
On board the ships, there are animators who entertain children and give parents time to breathe in the fresh sea air and listen to the waves. Still, due to the shore excursions and the few options on the ship, you have to be prepared for anything: from strollers to carriers to enough pacifiers (which like to fly into the sea) and diapers, you usually have more luggage.
Admittedly, the audience on cruises is usually more from the older generations. For this, many are very enthusiastic for children and babies. So those who do not like to come into contact with people and rather seek their peace and quiet, should do without a family vacation on a ship.
By the way: babies do not get seasick! Their sense of balance has yet to develop.
Packing For The Family Vacation
Once you have decided on the accommodation and the means of transport of your choice, you can slowly pack your bags. Always remember: you don’t need to pack diapers for the entirety of your family vacation. That wastes space unnecessarily. You’ll have the opportunity to buy things on site later. Your luggage will be much larger than before anyway.
It’s a different story with food. If you breastfeed, you are on the safe side. If you give the baby a bottle, it is best to take the formula with you. Is your child already an eater or does he need certain foods? Find out beforehand if you can buy these things in the destination or if you prefer to take a supply with you. Baby hotels often have a selection of porridges at breakfast.
In addition to clothing, a toilet bag and sufficient sun protection, a first-aid kit is also recommended. Fever thermometer, plaster and ointment for insect bites should at least be included. This can be extended with tea or medicines against gastrointestinal problems, cooling ointment for sunburn or tick tongs.
Find out in advance whether the accommodation is equipped baby- or child-friendly. If you have to bring a travel cot or high chair, this will affect all your luggage and will also influence your choice of transport.
Get all your documents together as you prepare. Valid IDs, health insurance cards, vaccination cards and insurance cards for the car or flight or train tickets should be carried.
Tip: Don’t forget your baby’s favorite things! Cuddly toy, cuddle cloth or music box: pack things that create familiar security.
Checklist – Family Vacation:
To help you pack in a relaxed manner, a checklist is a good idea. You can print out the following, expand it and simply check it off:
Food And Drinks
- Food, drinks.
- Bibs (easily washable, for excursions maybe disposable paper ones).
- Bottles, drinking cups, dishes.
- Shirts, dresses, shorts.
- Sweatshirts, sweaters, pants, jackets.
- Shoes, sandals, rubber boots.
- Underwear and bodysuits.
- Cap or hat.
- Swimwear, water wings, swim diaper.
- Travel detergent.
- Sunshade for car windows.
- Sunshade or beach shell.
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, sun protective clothing.
Toilet Bag And Child Care
- Toothbrush, toothpaste.
- Shower care.
- Creams and lotion.
- Brush and hair clips.
- Diapers, wet wipes, potties.
- Wound cream.
- Plastic bag/laundry bag for dirty diapers or bibs.
- Stuffed animal, blanket.
- Toys, painting materials, picture books.
- Sand toys.
- Music and radio plays.
- Night light and, if necessary, baby monitor.
- First aid kit with plasters and bandages.
- Fever thermometer and antipyretics.
- Remedy for gastrointestinal problems.
- Tick tongs.
- Ointments (insect bites, cooling ointment).
- Nasal spray.
- Drops or candies against sore throat.
- Identity cards and passports.
- Health insurance card.
- Vaccination cards.
- Cash, credit card, EC card (with emergency bank numbers).
- Car insurance card or train or plane tickets.
Have a nice family vacation!