Family travel tips and FAQs
We share our top tips on traveling with children, and what to pack and how to make flying easier. And we answer your questions on airline and hotel polices and procedures for traveling with children.
You might think that traveling with children can be complicated, but we can help make the process as smooth as possible. Take a look at our top travel tips and FAQs below - but if you're still in need of advice, do contact our family specialists who will be able to help you.
- How we can help
- Before you travel
- What to bring
- At the airport
- Boarding and flying
- Food and entertainment
- We only suggest destinations, hotels and airlines that we'd use with our own families, and only hotels able to offer rooms suitable for a family, be it a villa, suite or two interconnecting rooms
- We offer you the best flight times suited to your needs, finding the minimum connection and waiting times, booking seats and bassinets in advance and giving you advice on negotiating the airports
- All our transfers are provided by us or our dedicated local ground handlers. You will be met on arrival at the airport and escorted to your private car so you don’t have to think about anything except keeping the children in tow. And we'll provide the necessary safety regulation car seats
- We can request children’s meals for your flights in advance and advise on which hotels cater best for children and offer the most flexibility in terms of meal times
- Upon booking we'll send out a detailed list of practical dos and don’ts for traveling abroad, including what to pack and how to make life easier whilst flying
- Once you've booked your vacation we can assist you with the visa process (if applicable) and advise you who to get in touch with for health advice abroad
- We have an emergency line to ensure we're always on hand in the event of a problem:
+44 (0) 20 8682 5099
- Before you pack, check what’s already on hand at the resort. Our family team can advise you on the facilities and equipment available, and often particular items can be pre-requested
- Small children love to have their own hand luggage to fill with toys and games for the journey, especially small trolley style suitcases or 'trunkis'
- Keep a change of clothes in your hand luggage in case of spills en route
- A mini medical pack with essentials such as antiseptic cream, plasters, arnica cream etc
- Mosquito net for buggy/cot
- Sunshade/parasol for buggy
- Small UV pop up sun tent for little ones
- Plenty of high factor suncream and sunblock
- Mosquito repellent / bite cream
- Swimming aids, arm bands, swim vest, swim seats etc
- Swimming nappies as these are not always readily available abroad
- Formula milk – individual powder sachets are great for travel
- Sterilising equipment – reduce bulk by packing sterilising tablets and a plastic container
- Childrens cutlery / crockery and favorite cups/ bottles (disposable bottles are handy on flights)
- Handheld blender for babies being weaned
- Baby monitor
- A baby sling/carrier
- Remember to allow plenty of time – everything takes longer with children
- If you’re driving to the airport, take advantage of valet parking. Scott Dunn guests are given a discount when they book with Meteor Parking
- If the flight’s not full, see if the airline staff will hold an empty seat next to yours, especially if your toddler doesn’t have their own seat
- Some airlines will let you to take your buggy with you right up to the gate, then it goes in the hold at the last minute. It's worth doing this although it's a good idea to take a buggy cover for protection, as you won't see it again until baggage reclaim and it can get thrown around a little!
- Please note that infant bassinets and car seats for the flight cannot be guaranteed so you need to be prepared for the fact you may have your infant on your lap throughout the flight, unless you book a separate seat for your child
- Most airlines allow families to board first, but this increases the time in a cramped seat. If your children like to let off steam, it’s better to wait until the last minute
- If you have a baby with you, it may be easier to board straight away and get settled
- Ear pain on take-off and landing can be eased by giving your
child a drink to sip or a sweet to suck. It’s ideal if babies can be fed
by breast and bottle at this time. Or a
dummy can also help
- It's a good idea to take antiseptic hand gel, plenty of wipes, tissues and nappy sacks
- Take your baby's favorite blanket/comforter or sleeping bag on the flight
- Bring a change of clothes for babies and young children
- Overnight flights are a good idea with young children, as hopefully they'll sleep!
- In-flight meals are often extremely hot – test first before offering to your child
- For babies, take your own baby food, utensils and disposable bibs. It's advisable to take re-sealable food (you may be asked to taste baby food/milk when going through security)
- You can ask the flight attendant to warm up milk or baby food, but do so in advance
- It's a good idea to take lots of small snacks for your child such as raisins, breadsticks and fruit etc
- New toys will hold their attention longest, or think ahead and hide away some of their old favorites before traveling so they are a novelty again on the flight
- Picture books and activity / sticker books are lightweight and can occupy a lot of time
- Avoid games with little pieces that can get lost, or try magnet toys/puzzles and aquadraw minimats
- Don’t bring all the toys out at once, pace them throughout the journey
- Bring coloring books and crayons (often you will receive these in-flight)
- Allow children to choose a magazine at the airport e.g. Disney, Princesses, Cbeebies
- Handheld computer games are great for older children
- Look out for fast track customs and immigration check points for those traveling with infants
- Dual time watches and clocks are great for keeping track of baby’s routine in different time zones
- Be prepared for the climate outside, with sun screen and hats (or extra layers when on your return!)
At what age does an 'infant' become a 'child'?
A child is an 'infant' up until the age of 2. Before they turn 2, infants travel at 10% of the airfare on most airlines. From the age of 2, the child fare can vary between 67–75% of the full adult fare. If a child turns 2 whilst you are away, you will be required to pay the full child fare.
At what age does a 'child' become an 'adult'?
When a child turns 12 they must pay the full adult fare. If a child turns 12 whilst you are away then you will be required to pay the full adult fare.
Does my infant need a passport?
Babies can no longer travel on their mother’s passport - all infants now require their own passport to travel. These have a five-year validity and you can find out more about applying for one at www.passport.gov.uk/
Are there any hotels offering kids clubs for children under the age of 3?
Most of the hotels we recommend only take children from the age of 3 upwards on their own. Younger children can sometimes be accompanied by a parent or babysitter. OurSpace at Anahita in Mauritius is one of the few hotels to offer childcare for children under 3 outside of Europe. In Europe, Pine Cliffs in Portugal and the Anassa and Almyra in Cyprus are in our opinion the best options.
How does my infant travel on short haul flights?
On a short haul flight, your infant would usually sit on your lap.
How does my infant travel on long haul flights?
On a long haul flight you can book a bassinet position with a small cot available for young infants. These cots are really only suitable for young babies who are not yet mobile, however it is weight-dependent and most infants can probably use these until they reach 9/10 months. Older infants may have the option on some airlines of using a special seat (similar to a car seat) attached to the bassinet table. If the airline does not offer these special seats and your infant is too big to go into a cot, this will mean he/she travels on your lap.
Can I book a separate seat for my infant?
Provided your child is over 6 months old you can book a separate seat. A child seat can be requested with the airline although as these are subject to availability, you may wish to bring your own, providing it meets the airline's criteria and can be attached to the airline seat using the lap belt.
Can I keep a pushchair with me at the airport?
Most airlines will allow you to keep your pushchair right up until you board the plane. Generally you will then be able to pick it up at the usual baggage reclaim area. However, it's worth bringing a baby sling whilst your pushchair is in the aircraft hold ie before boarding and whilst waiting for your luggage on arrival.
Can I request seats on the plane for my family in advance?
This can vary from airline to airline, but most will do their very best to seat families together. If you are traveling with children, British Airways will allow you to select seats three days prior to departure. Other airlines such as Emirates will allow you to book your seats and request bassinets at the time of booking. We can help to make sure that you get seats most convenient for your family.
What are the restrictions for flying when pregnant?
Generally airlines will allow you to travel up to the 36th week of your pregnancy. Beyond the 28th week of pregnancy you will need a medical certificate from your doctor or midwife to travel. If pregnant with twins this time is reduced and you’re advised to seek medical advise before travel later in the pregnancy. These guidelines can vary from airline to airline so please advise us at the time of booking if you are pregnant.
Will my infant be given any luggage allowance?
Generally an infant will be allowed one piece of hand luggage and one piece of hold luggage. If an infant has his/her own seat, they will be entitled to the usual luggage allowance. Restrictions vary between airlines so do ask us at the time of booking.
Will the hotel provide special meals for my children?
Most hotels are very flexible and will provide separate meals for your children at flexible times. Do let us know if you'd like more information about this at a particular hotel.
Will there be lifeguards around the pools and on the beaches?
The majority of the hotels that we recommend for families have lifeguards at the pools and on the beach but please do check with us.
Will a car seat be available for my child for all transfers?
We can request car seats for all transfers and excursions whilst you are abroad. If you wish to bring your own car seat, please notify us.
Can I pre-book babysitting?
Babysitting can be booked in advance of your stay, although it's not usually necessary unless you're traveling over peak season when availability might be limited. Charges are payable to the hotel direct. Please note that Scott Dunn is unable to vet local babysitters.
Do I need to pre-book the kids club?
Generally the European clubs need to be pre-booked. For long haul destinations, this doesn't usually need to be booked in advance and children will usually be invited along on arrival at the hotel. However please ask us about this before you travel as this does vary from location to location.
There is so much equipment to take - can the hotel help?
Some of the hotels and private villas we recommend will provide the baby equipment that you require, such as pushchairs, toys, sterilisers, baby monitors etc. Please ask us at the time of booking and we can inform you what you need to take and what can be left at home.