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PUBLISHED - 16 May, 2011

Taking the kids abroad for the first time

Taking the kids abroad for the first time

family life

Preparing for a family holiday can stressful no matter how many times you've done it before, but if you're about to take the kids abroad for the first time it pays to be organised!


With this in mind, we've put together a list of useful tips to help you on your way...

Packing and preparing for the airport

  • Check passports are up-to-date, purchase travel insurance and get your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC – which has now replaced the E111 form), as well as your travel money/travellers’ cheques prior to travelling. Visit your local branch of The Co-operative Travel for holiday advice and currency needs.
  • Packing liquids – Whether you are packing medicine, suncream or milk for your newborn, this should not be carried in your hand luggage as it will be taken from you by customs. You could either pack this into your suitcase or add to your shopping list for a great excuse to visit the Duty Free area!
  • Keeping your children entertained on the journey is probably the most important thing that you will need to prepare for in order to keep you sane and your journey stress free! Pack as many of their favourite toys as possible…colouring books and crayons are always good on the plane.
  • Pack clever – Pack anything you’ll need on arrival at your destination at the top of your suitcase: swimsuits, sun cream, hats, etc. That way you’ll be able to get your holiday started straight away…unless, of course, you arrive in the early hours and may need your jim jams close at hand!
  • Don’t forget that special comfort item that your little one just can’t sleep without…whether it be a blanket, teddy or a spare dummy, it’s the one thing you do not want to leave behind!
  • Be prepared – take plenty of nappies, milk and baby food in case you can’t find what you need when you get to your resort. If bottle feeding, you can buy a travel size sterilising kit to ensure your baby’s bottles are clean.
  • Travel light through the airport. Pack as much as you can in your suitcase; the less you have to carry through customs, the easier the experience will be, especially if you have young children to occupy and possibly a buggy.
  • Before you board your plane, get organised. Put your boarding cards into the passport picture page of each person’s passport, and get together all your belongings, including your children! If you need your buggy you do not have to check this in with your suitcases - just hand it in to the airport staff when boarding and they will ensure it is put on the plane. This is great if your little one is asleep in the airport and it is usually the first item loaded onto the carousel, ensuring a stress free journey.


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On board the plane

  • Changing your baby’s bottom can be hazardous at the best of times so you need to be well prepared. Aeroplane bathrooms are small, so keep a nappy, small pack of wipes/cotton wool, tube of nappy cream, lightweight plastic change mat/hand towel, flannel and nappy sack in a side pocket of your cabin bag. Take only these essential items into the bathroom for each nappy change and restock the side pocket once you have resettled baby. It may seem a lot to think about, but you’ll be glad you did!
  • When flying, the changes in air pressure can cause ear ache in babies and young children, especially during take off and landing. Ensure you provide your little one with plenty of water to relieve the pressure build up in his or her ears. If your child is older, a lollypop or boiled sweet is a nice treat.

Fun in the sun

Have piece of mind knowing that your child is protected whilst having fun in the sun.

  • It can be quite difficult to re-apply sun-cream as often as needed when your children are enjoying themselves in the pool or the sea. Here are some additional ways to ensure your little ones are protected against the sun’s harmful rays.


    • UPF50+ Sun Protection Swimwear – all-in-ones, hats, T-shirts, shorts, etc.
    • Sun visor and sunglasses
    • Umbrella attachment for the pushchair
    • UV Pop up tent – for protection and shade for around the pool/beach
    • Armbands/Life Jackets – safety in the pool

Health planning for your family

  • Be aware of the of the health facilities on offer at your resort – it is always a good idea to know where the local doctor is should you need medical assistance
  • Insect bites and stings can be painful and uncomfortable so don’t forget the insect repellent
  • Take basic medication and equipment such as paracetamol, antihistamines, rehydration solution, antiseptics and plenty of plasters
  • Prickly heat can really spoil your fun, and children’s skin is particularly prone to this condition. Because it’s caused by blocked pores from overactive sweat glands, the key is to drink plenty, stay in the shade and avoid oily creams.
  • Children are also more likely than adults to suffer from diarrhoea on holiday, and they are more susceptible to its effects too. Seek medical help as soon as your child becomes ill, especially if he or she is also vomiting.

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