Planning a family holiday is a bit different to choosing a couple's getaway! Here are a few factors you may want to keep in mind.
Booking that first holiday as a family requires a bit (okay, a lot) more thought than going away as a couple! Don’t worry, though – we’ve created a handy list of the factors you’ll want to keep in mind whilst you’re planning.
Whether your holiday will be in the UK or abroad, you can save yourself a lot of headache – and extra packing – if you stay in accommodation that’s specifically billed as family-friendly. Hotels, resorts and self-catering properties that list themselves as family or child-friendly will likely already have many of the essentials, like cots, highchairs, toys and books. Far better than having to carry even more bulky items in your already overloaded car!
If you’re travelling by air, babies can fly from as early as two days old, but many parents choose to wait until around the 6-month mark; at this age, they’re much more likely to be in a routine and they will have completed their primary course of vaccinations. (Don’t forget that if you’re going abroad, your baby will need a passport, and if you’re visiting a country that requires a visa, your baby will likely need to get one too.)
While your baby is young, you’ll probably want to avoid going to countries where extra vaccinations are needed, as babies’ immune systems are immature and they aren’t eligible for some vaccines. For example, the NHS recommends getting a yellow fever jab for travel to some countries, and this can’t be given to babies under 6 months old.
Malaria is also an issue to keep in mind; currently, the World Health Organisation advises against taking infants and young children to areas where malaria is present. This is because babies under 2 months old can’t take anti-malarial medication, and the NHS recommends that insect repellent containing DEET (the most effective ingredient)
You may also want to give some thought to the climate of your intended destination; after all, basking on a sunny, hot beach might be your idea of heaven, but it’s unlikely to suit your baby so well! In general, families with young children find that travel is easiest when the local temperature is in the “Goldilocks zone” - not too hot, not too cold. A temperature of about 20-25C during the day is just about perfect for a warm-weather holiday with your little one (though you’ll still need to keep an eye out for signs that your baby is too warm or dehydrated).