Top Tips When Traveling with Your Family This Summer


Summer 2022 is fast approaching, and we know firsthand how many mums and dads are super eager to escape the heat in the next month or so. It is no doubt long overdue for many families to be reunited with family and friends. However, no level of excitement can calm the nerves, for parents traveling with their baby for the first time or the idea (for many mums), of parenting alone at 40,000 feet with multiple children, whilst hubby is holding the forte in Dubai.


All the above in mind we reached out to the UAE’s Traveling Infant Expert, Jo Holt - International Early Years Consultant at Malaak Mama & Baby Care. Jo is a qualified Australian Maternity Nurse with over 20 years’ experience working and traveling with executive families both in Australia, Dubai and across the globe. Prior to joining Malaak, Jo spent four memorable years caring for families at 40,000 feet during her time as Cabin Crew for Emirates Airline. She has been advising and supporting parents in the UAE for over 16 years with behaviour and guidance techniques for different developmental milestones. Jo is extremely passionate in providing parents with the tools to implement age-appropriate routines and positive sleep associations. So, we thought there is no one more experienced than Jo Holt to share top tips and travel advice for those taking to the skies this summer.


Travel documents

Firstly, it is essential you check your family’s travel documents are all valid and have the required expiry date, including Passports, Appropriate Visas and Travel Consent. Note: As a mother or father traveling alone be mindful some destinations require further documents to be signed off by both parents giving consent for the child to travel. You may check with immigration in Dubai to confirm exactly what destinations require this.


Baggage allowance

Confirm with your airline the baggage allowance for each family member. The weight allowance for Adults, children and infants can vary depending on the category of your ticket. It is advisable to check what baby items, like car seats, cots and strollers are included in the infants/child’s baggage allowance and what is not included. If checking in any of these baby items I strongly advise you protect them in the appropriate travel bags or have them wrapped at the airport. This will avoid the harness clips from being damaged or broken. I highly recommend you invest in a cabin approved stroller, this not only helps parents traveling alone but provides your little one with a familiar place to rest before and after flights.


What time to travel

Jo suggests you travel at night time with the flight landing at the time your little one is normally waking up in the morning. This can make it much easier for everyone to hit the ground running. Jo always recommends you and your baby/child get a good rest the day before your flight. Ensure you arrive at the airport as soon as check in opens. Once you have checked in and have passed the necessary security checks, it is essential you check the distance to your departure gate ensuring you give yourself ample time to arrive at the gate. Some gates are much further than you might expect and with little ones in toe it will feel like a marathon if you have to change nappies, feed your baby and most importantly hydrate and refuel yourself along the way.


TimeZones

Jo recommends you stick to Dubai’s time zone whilst traveling when it comes to your baby’s routine. If you are taking a day flight try to plan the nap times in advance to avoid you baby becoming over tired. Take on board the aircraft, all the creature comforts your little one loves. To help them sleep well, take their own sheet to lay on, a favorite blanket, teddy, and even their PJ’s or sleeping bag for daytime naps and night flights.


What to wear

Jo advises you wear comfortable layers that are practical to make feeding your baby a little easier. Always take a change of clothes for yourself in case you end up with a shoulder covered in baby vomit. Pack at least 2-3 changes of clothes for your baby or child as accidents are common on flights. A scarf/pashmina can be extremely useful in keeping you or baby warm or if you feel you need a little extra covering whilst breastfeeding.


Snacks

It is essential to pack a variety of healthy snacks for everyone including yourself especially if you are breastfeeding. Bananas, porridge and plain crackers fill little toddler tummies, as milk alone can cause more harm than good eventuating in bloated tummies and increased motion sickness. Ideally pack a thermos flask of hot or cold food Jo prefers vegetarian options and pale foods to avoid clothes being soiled, ensuring your little ones are well fed and hydrated is the key to content little travelers.


Feeding on the go

If you feel uncomfortable breastfeeding with other passengers seated next to you, you can simply request to be seated alone or next to another female passenger. Ensure you prepare yourself prior to feeding times eg. safely secure yourself and your baby in correct seatbelts provided, so you can proceed to feed your baby during taxi, takeoff and landing, as the sucking reflex can ease the pressure and any discomfort on the baby’s ears. You may take expressed breast milk on a flight in a cooler bag, however it is best to have it readily available at the security check points to avoid being delayed. Jo highly recommends you clearly label the cooler bag whilst placing it in a large clear zip lock bag to ensure it remains as sterile as possible. The airlines do allow premade formula, however Jo would not recommend the powered formula to be premade as it is recommended to be prepared and consumed within one hour. Alternatively, you could take Premixed Liquid Formula that is available in grocery stores or pharmacies as this is not required to be chilled. Jo highly recommends you take bottles filled with boiled water your baby is familiar with and carry them all together in a clear sealed bag, in order to make security checks a smooth and easy process. (Note) Jo’s most important tip is to remember to calculate the journey time from door to door ensuring you have spare bottles for spillage or delays you may face, not just the flight time.


Go Hands Free

The most important and useful tip is to have your hands free, this is when a baby carrier can be very helpful. A compact cabin approved Stroller and Car Seat can also provide a safe solution when traveling, there are some great options available on the market.


If you would like to know more register for Malaak’s Coffee Morning - Talking Travel with Jo Holt on Monday 27th June 2022.