TRAVELING WITH INFANTS AND KIDS
We examine 3 important topics in this blog: Traveling with Infants and Kids
1) Flying with Infants and Children
2) What is the best type of vacation for infants and kids?
3) The top 3 places to visit with kids (which you might not have thought of)
FLYING WITH INFANTS AND KIDS
Traveling with Infants and Kids? Choosing the right airline is not only critical, but can be equally complicated. It is not merely the cost consideration which dominates the choice, multiple criteria have to be looked at when choosing flights for infants/kids.
The wrong airline and the wrong stopover choice and very quickly your international flight can turn into a nightmare!
So mommies and daddies which airline should you choose?
a) Infant Seats: While, nearly all airlines will provide a bassinet for long haul flights, on short haul flights, many airlines don’t provide this. Bassinets seats are on request basis and confirmed subject to availability. Hence, do make sure to request your travel agent to put in a request well in advance. Much that you love to cuddle and hold your little bundle in your arms, trust me, it ain’t no fun doing so on an 18 hour flight!
b) Special food and baby kit : Some airlines like Emirates and Virgin Atlantic give special food (Gerber etc.) and baby kits which contains things like wet wipes, rattles, baby lotion etc. Most other airlines do not oblige their youngest passengers with these onboard Freebies.
c) Play and activity on board: For our energetic 3yr+ flyers, thankfully most airlines have in flight entertainment systems. (So Momma’s you can dream of a short nap!) Emirates and Virgin Atlantic are few of the airlines which can boast of one of the best entertainment systems for kids
d) Stop-over destination: You need adequate child facilities like porters, buggies, diaper change and feeding rooms, family lounge. It is important to check if the stop-over airport has the relevant requirements
e) Frequent flyer miles: Unfortunately few airlines reward their loyal infant and toddler flyers. An added advantage is allowing you to transfer miles between family members the few airlines which do allow you to do so are include British Airways and Qantas.
List of baby friendly airlines
Here are few tips by Team Tierra’s on booking and travelling with children:
a) Should you book a bulkhead seat? While bulkheads, generally come with more space and have an option to request a bassinet, the arm rests are fixed. This means it will be difficult to seat the baby on your lap or feed him/her.
b) Should you buy an extra seat for an infant? An extra seat will allow you to carry your car seat in the aircraft and seat your baby in a separate seat. Normally the fare will be the child fare. Make sure your car seat complies with the requirements listed by the airline.
c) Watch out for baggage limit allowed for your little one
d) Never forget to carry the prescription for any medicines you carry for your child
e) Do note that for very long stopovers you can request for complimentary airport hotel. Even if this is not available gratis, it might be a good idea to hire a room on a per hour basis ( available in most major airports)
f) Take along your child’s stroller/ baby carrier to make navigation at airport easier, if traveling alone- make use of porter assistance provided by airline/ airport (available for minimal charge or certain times even free of charge)
WHAT IS THE BEST TYPE OF VACATION FOR INFANTS AND KIDS
a) Resort vacations are the most popular vacations with infants and kids. They allow a relaxed pace of holidaying and come with a range of amenities. Apart from standard services like crèche and play area, you can choose resorts that have baby butler programmes. These programmes will take care of your baby while you are relaxing and even provide infant supplies (diapers etc.), reducing your packing requirements. Many resorts in the USA and Mexico have such facilities.
Cruising is another very popular option. They are all-inclusive and do away with packing and unpacking. The best cruise lines for families with young children are Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean. Disney Cruise Line is the acknowledged leader in cruise vacations for families with babies and toddlers. Their ships offer Flounder’s Reef Nursery for children from 12 weeks to 36 months of age, large family-sized staterooms, and free Oceaneer Club children’s program for kids 3 and up. The ships feature Disney-themed kids pools and there’s also a water play area for children who are still in diapers. Royal Caribbean also has a nursery available on their Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas ships. Do note that Children must be at least 6 months of age to cruise on Carnival, Costa, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. For Disney, babies must be at least 3 months old. Some lines require infants to be at least one year old for trans-ocean crossings and specific types of itineraries. Check with the cruise line or your travel agent. Click here to see some of our cruising itineraries
c) Self-drive. –Self-drive is also a comfortable option when travelling with infants and kids. It allows you to be flexible and carry many pieces of baggage. Do note that in most countries, seat–belts and car seats are compulsory. Thus if you are traveling as 2 adults, one person will need to drive, while the other person will have to sit at the back with the infant
d) Private arrangements – Private arrangements are the best way to travel when you are travelling with kids or infants. Certain destinations allow you to do this in an economical manner. The popular destinations include Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, SE Asia and Morocco. In Europe, South Africa and New Zealand private arrangements can make economic sense if a family group is travelling together. For instance in Switzerland, a private 8 seater van will be less costly than travelling individually through Swiss Pass. You can contact Tierra for private rates in Europe, South Africa and New Zealand
e) Safari’s: Safaris in East Africa, Kenya / Tanzania or South Africa are great options, since they are all-inclusive, and have private transport arrangements. You are “taken care” from the time you land at Nairobi airport to the time you fly out. Plus the kids will love the animals! Here too a family group allows you to save costs. Click here to check out our safari itineraries
The top 3 places to visit with kids (which you might not have thought of)
1) Theme parks: While the Disneylands and Universal studios of the world are well known, the other lesser-heard parks are as much fun! These include the
a) Theme parks on the Gold Coast in Australia, where you have authentic Aussie experiences thrown in.
b) Legoland in Sweden, UK and Malaysia. (Click here for our England itinerary that includes Legoland)
c) Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen. Amusement parks don’t get cuter than this and Walt Disney is said to have taken inspiration from this park to build Disneyland
d) Open air real-life period parks which recreate medieval eras in that country. The best of these is Skansen in Stockholm. (Click here for our Scandinavia itinerary which includes Skansen and Tivoli gardens)
2) Zoo’s: Why not treat your child to some of the best zoos in the world while you travelling. The list of best zoos in the world includes: the San Diego Zoo, The Bronx zoo in New York, the London Zoo, the Aquatic center in Monterrey, California and the Berlin Zoo
3) Farm Stays: What could be more fun than pony rides, feeding farm animals and playing outdoors? For many toddlers, that sounds like heaven. If your tot is one of these, head for a farm or ranch resort on your next vacation. Ranch resorts often feature a variety of activities in addition to pony rides, such a children’s programs, kids pools and indoor waterparks, arts and crafts, babysitting, and a variety of outdoor activities. Petting zoos and other outdoor attractions can also be great for little ones. Popular locations for farm stays include UK, USA, New Zealand and Australia. Click here for our UK farm stay itinerary