Your interactive family guide to France as recommended by local mums | Last updated 7 months ago


Travelling with kids

Below we have some useful articles about travelling with kids, from tips on what to pack to how to avoid jetlag...

  • Tips for travelling with kids

    Centro Yoga Om, Vilanova i la Geltru Image

    Gideon and Philip of Quivertree have been traveling with their kids for over 17 years covering six continents. Here are lessons they’ve picked up over the years:

    "We’re not talking about the things you see everywhere, like finding theme parks or restaurants with kids menus – we’re talking about real life family travel lessons we’ve picked up along the way. Our mantra we’ve developed over the years is that if your children are not happy traveling, you won’t be either. So if there’s a site or museum you really want to see, or a restaurant you absolutely have to go to, think twice about how happy your children will be. Because if they’re miserable, you will be too. You may need to improvise, but it’s worth it. Ultimately, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of discovery with your children" (Gideon and Philip, April 2011)1. FOOD
    There are few topics more discussed and stressed over when dealing with family travel than food. That need to hunt down the restaurant with the kids’ menu, or the one ‘western’ style restaurant in some fairly remote destination. People sweat over this too much; there is an excitement and joy over discovering and trying out new, different foods all over the world. We insist on knowing what we’re eating and we’re not overly daring, but part of the experience is trying local foods whether in a restaurant or in a market. Be careful though that the establishment looks clean. If you’re worried about it, see how many local people are in the restaurant – if there are very few, try somewhere else. If you want to try things out but are too scared of foreign foods, hire a guide for a day. Generally they’ll be very good at ordering for you. We found this really useful in China and Vietnam. You’ll never go wrong with ice cream or candy, and spending time browsing through foreign supermarkets can be a really fun filled family adventure!"

    2. TOILETS
    Again, much is made of this, especially in less developed areas. So, surprise, surprise, often it’s the grownups who make a far bigger fuss over the toilets than kids, who are better able to see the funny side of what can be an absurd situation. Generally, like with other aspects of traveling, they just seem to roll with it. (I have to admit I have had my less than memorable moments when my kids were very small (and not so small) – trying to change a diaper in a toy store in Amsterdam – they did not like that; unable to leave the car on safari – we used an empty water bottle; and more recently a very unfortunate scene in a huge indoor market in Beijing.) Carry toilet paper with you and do your homework! In Hanoi you can dart into any smart hotel and use their facilities; in Turkey all mosques have toilets, mostly very clean – use them!

    A lot of unnecessary stress is caused by not being prepared. Family travel is incredibly rewarding, but there is work involved. Be prepared. Don’t be like me and assume Iceland is warm in summer (it’s not; actually mostly it’s really wet and cold – maybe that’s why they call it Iceland). Check and double check flight times – they change more than you’d think, and sometimes quite a lot. Check flight connections. Check all the regulations different countries have for passports (while my whole family waltzed into Ireland, I was at first denied entry for not having enough space in my passport for the entry stamp) – some want 2 clear pages, some want the passport to be valid for 6 months after entry. We also have our passports scanned into our email just in case. Read a guidebook for tips and scams: in many countries it’s a good idea to carry one dollar bills for small items; check the calendar for local festivals – they create incredible atmosphere, but also generate huge crowds (and food may not be as readily available as usual); never accept a gift from a merchant who is actually selling the item; keep your valuables locked up or out of sight. There are many tips like these covered in the guidebooks.

    4. LUGGAGE
    Ok, this is a topic debated on the same level as food and toilets. Hand luggage only? Overpack or travel light? There are no obvious answers. One thing though is to pack clever. As a family, the more pieces you have the more that can get lost. Mix up your luggage among family members, so that if one bag gets lost, you’re not stuck with one person without luggage (and if you have kids of similar ages, or kids who can share clothes with a parent like moms and teenage daughters, try packing items they’ll all wear). Also, put key clothing in hand luggage, even if you check your luggage. So if you’re going on a beach vacation, put bathing suits and sandals in your hand luggage just in case. And if you’re like me and my boys, and you like buying t-shirts all over the world, don’t bring too many from home. I have tons of long sleeved light running shirts – I always take a few for anyone who needs a bit of warming up. They take up virtually no space, and can fit in almost any pocket. And remember, the more luggage you have, the harder it is to transport it whether you’re carry it, flying in a small plane, or going by bus or taxi.

    Yes, I know this might fall into a mundane category. But family travel can be stressful, so don’t make it more so. Remember, you’re never in total control of all circumstances, so don’t tempt fate too much. If you’re in your home city, consider the potential traffic. If you’re not, find out how long it really takes to get to the airport, and double-check your mode of transport (once in New York City, the taxi driver asked me how to get to JFK. Not good.) My experience is that USUALLY the airport is a breeze. But on those (hopefully) rare occasions when things fall apart, you’ll be so grateful for the extra half hour you gave yourselves. And you probably weren’t going to relax much at home anyway.

    This is a really important but overlooked part of family travel. If you’re somewhere a little remote, usually in the developing world, and you’re offered a great excursion, think very carefully about the transport. How many times my kids have got sick on a car/bus ride on terrible, windy roads, or seasick, I do not want to remember. And every time I thought why did I not anticipate this? If your kids don’t do well on long car or bus rides, or at sea, take this into account when making your plans. Boats are particularly troublesome as there’s no way off. Rather take a ferry: they’re usually shorter, filled with locals (more colorful than other tourists) and probably sell food far more interesting than what the tour provides.
    And then we have tours. By this we mean those incredibly popular mass market day trips to some famous site. A little bit like 5. Tours of course can be excellent, interesting and sometimes a way of seeing something otherwise hard to get to. On the other hand, they’re unbelievably restrictive. Once on, you can’t get off, and if someone’s bored, it’s a recipe for disaster. Much better is hiring a private guide where you’re in charge and can basically do whatever you want, or try doing it on your own. If you have doubts that your children can sit happily through, for example, a one day boat ride admiring the scenery don’t do it. And always, always remember – if your kids are bored or miserable so will you.

    This article has kindly been provided by Quivertree Holidays

  • Tips for flying with your baby

    Centro Yoga Om, Vilanova i la Geltru Image

    I love flying. It is an enjoyable moment for me. But with a baby or toddler, we believe that we are less mobile. It is just a question of organisation, really. I am sure that you know that by now. Baby Included ™ is here for you. In order to help you get ready for your wonderful family holiday, here are some pieces of advice.

    First of all

    Try to flight at night if you go take a long courier, as it will not disturb your baby’s habit too much.

    Try to take as few planes as possible. It may be more expensive, sometimes, to take one plane instead of two or three, but think of your child first, which basically means it is better for your stress level!

    When booking a seat, make sure you ask for a seat with a baby cot in front of you. It can carry babies who weight under 10kg for 70 cm high. They can sit in it, play in it, and of course sleep. Moreover, those special places are by a wall so you have more space for your legs and baby can play there too; and you are near the bathrooms, which is great when it is time for a nappy change!

    Make sure that you see your paediatrician before hand, so he can advise you or not if baby can travel to the desired destination. Ask him if all vaccines are in order and whether he can prescribe a medication or homeopathy so your child can sleep better or remain calmer.

    If your destination is a country which has a jet lag of 3 hours minimum, you should go there for no less than 10 days.

    If the time change at your destination is between 1 to 2 hours and your trip is short, try to make baby live in your normal time zone.

    On board

    Hydrate your baby often, as well as yourself.

    Make him walk in the aisles if he needs exercise, so he can sleep better afterwards.

    Usually, stewardess gives you a pack with soft toys and/or crayons according to his age. Use them while flying so your child can experience a pleasant trip and feel spoiled.

    When it is time to sleep, put your baby in his babygrow, so he understand what is about to happen. Then put him to bed as you do it usually: read a story, sing and rock him… He needs to feel you.

    At destination

    Change your baby in a new outfit, so he feels ready to begin (or end) his day.

    In order to re adjust him to the local time, try to shift his feeding time slowly. You can give him a snack such as fruit puree, a yogurt or a cookie if he is hungry until it is time to eat lunch or dinner.

    Shift his sleeping time too. Remember, babies and toddlers will readjust to time quicker than adults! You may find yourself wanting to sleep (because you have to) while your baby wants to play with you on the bed! Let him be near you, it will calm him down and soon you will be able to put him to bed.

    Time ahead: When the night comes, keep the shutters/curtains close so that he can understand that it is sleeping time and keep lights at their lowest capacities. Put him down when he is ready (a later time than an usual night if you are ahead of time - local time). When morning comes, you see that he is still sleeping like an angel, wake him up to start the day (same as home but in your new time zone.), he can fall asleep in his pram later.

    Back in time: When the night comes, put him down at his bedtime local time (which would be later than at home) and wake him up at the usual time but local time.

    In 2 to 3 days maximum, he is back on track! You can enjoy showing him new places. Have fun!

    This article has been kindly supplied by Baby Included

  • What to pack for your baby

    Centro Yoga Om, Vilanova i la Geltru Image


    Babies can Fly! Yes, its scary and overwhelming to fly with your baby for the first time, but getting over the mental barrier will open your life to so many possibilites!...

    What to pack in your cabin bag

    Buying a stroller is a very good investment as your baby can sleep in it while you are at the airport and during transit on longer flights. Buy one that is very thin and compact so you can take it to the door of the plane. I only suggest to buy one if your baby walks and if he is too heavy to be in a baby carrier.

    In your cabin bag: pack all essentials for your baby’s hygiene, feed time, and play time.

    Passport/ID card and a visa if needed
    baby carrier
    diapers (the disposable ones!)
    changing mat
    wipes or lotion with cotton pads
    medical and first aid supply (pain relievers, arnica in gel)
    homeopathy to calm him down
    a burp cloth
    an extra outfit
    a jersey and a blanket as it is colder in planes
    a pair of socks
    favourite toys and soft toys
    a bib (can be disposable)
    a dummy if your baby uses one
    water bottle
    baby bottle
    powdered milk or already prepared milk formula
    cookies or fruit puree and /or yogurt
    for longer flights, bring all your baby’s meals along, even if you requested a baby’s meal from the air company. Always take a bit more than what you need to be sure. Also, delays happen!

    What to pack in your main luggage

    very few diapers as you can buy them at the local destination (save space for other things!)
    food to start with (a 2 day supply so it gives you time to find the right type of food/ingredients if you go to a foreign country); don’t forget to hire a steamer/mixer so your baby can still taste mommy’s yummy food!
    more compacts and favourite toys and a musical toy to fall asleep
    sleeping bag (you can also rent it)
    enough clothing for cold/warm weather (one change per day plus add 2 more in case)
    hat/swimming suit
    sun protection
    thermometer for the bath and for the body
    wipes/lotion with cotton pads
    cotton buds
    medication (first aid supply)
    small bottle of "baby head to toe" soap
    samples of baby perfume
    nail clipper
    compress/physiological liquid
    face cream
    nappy/rash cream
    cutlery, bowl if you dont rent them
    a baby fan or a sprayer (this is for hot/ humid weather)
    your childs health record book

    Check if you are allowed to take a 10kg luggage for your baby or if it is equal to bring your stroller along.
    For the rest, do not forget that you can hire! You will have more pleasure bring more souvenirs back!

    This article has kindly been provided by Baby Included

  • Babys First Aid Kit

    Here is a list of what you should need for your babys first aid kit. According to your destination, you will need more or less. Always seek your babys pediatrician for advice.

    Infant and/or child thermometers
    Childrens and/or infants acetaminophen and ibuprofen, as recommended by your pediatrician, to relieve fever and mild pain
    Antihistamines, as recommended by your pediatrician, for insect bites, hives, and allergic reactions
    Topical calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream (.5%) for insect bites and rashes
    Antibiotic ointment for cuts and scrapes
    Irrigating eye wash to rinse irritants from eyes
    Saline nose drops to clear stuffy noses
    Aloe gel for burns
    Tweezers for removing splinters, ticks...
    A pair of sharp scissors
    Child-safe sunscreen
    Child-safe insect repellent
    Nasal aspirator bulb
    An assortment of adhesive bandage strips in various sizes and shapes (for childrens sensitive skin, get the less-sticky kind)
    Gauze rolls (1/2 to 2 inches wide)
    Gauze pads (2 by 2 inches and 4 by 4 inches)
    Adhesive tape
    Sterile cotton balls
    Cotton-tipped swabs
    Mild liquid soap (most antibacterial and deodorant soaps are too strong for babies sensitive skin)
    An oral syringe or calibrated cup or spoon or special dummy for administering medicines
    Blanket (space blanket)
    First-aid manual

    Additional items to include if recommended by your pediatrician:

    Rehydration fluids, to rehydrate children with diarrhea
    Epinephrine injector, asthma inhaler, or other prescription medication if your child is allergic to bee stings, peanuts, or shellfish, or if he has some other type of life-threatening allergy

    This article has kindly been provided by Baby Included