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Family travel tips and FAQs

Traveling with children conjures up thoughts of a stressful start to a vacation. That's where we come in. With a wealth of knowledge between our teams on how best to prepare for a family vacation, we are well equipped to answer any of your pre-departure concerns, from the number of nappies in your villa to the best children's menus around. We only suggest destinations, hotels and airlines that we'd use ourselves, recommending accommodation that fits the needs of family travel. Flight times and short transfers are crucial to ensuring kids aren't waiting around for hours in the departure lounge, so we take care of everything from reserving airport bassinets to requesting children’s inflight meals, and finding beaches with shallow waters. Our specialists have traveled extensively, experiencing the trials and tribulations of family travel, so rest assured your travel plans are in safe hands.

In the event of a problem, we're always on hand and contactable via our emergency line +44 (0)20 8682 5099.

Travel tips

FAQs

Travel tips

Before you travel 

  • Our specialists can advise you about the facilities, equipment and services available at your resort, and arranging them if they’re not.
  • Little ones love to travel with their own luggage, a mini suitcase filled with toys and games helps to keep them entertained throughout.
  • Keep a change of clothes in your hand luggage, just in case of any accidents!
  • Our team can advise the least disruptive travel times to minimize lost sleep for little ones.

Packing essentials

  • A mini medical pack with essentials such as antiseptic cream, plasters, arnica cream etc for any emergencies.
  • A parasol & a mosquito net for buggies or cots.
  • Small UV pop up sun tent for little ones- great for little ones on the beach.
  • Plenty of high factor suncream, sunblock, bite cream and mosquito repellent.
  • Swimming aids, arm bands, swim vest, swim seats etc. Do bear in mind that swimming nappies are not always readily available abroad.
  • Reduce bulky sterilising equipment by taking sterilisation tablets & a plastic container.
  • Children's cutlery, crockery, cups, bottles and bibs to take the hassle out of meal times.
  • A baby monitor, carrier, and their favorite blanket- perfect for afternoon snoozes.
  • Small snacks for the airplane, to keep boredom & hunger at bay.
  • A new toy, coloring book or sticker book is bound to keep them amused.

At the airport

  • Remember to allow plenty of time – everything takes longer with children.
  • If you’re driving to the airport, take advantage of valet parking. Our 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 up to the gate. It's worth doing this although it's a good idea to take a buggy cover, as you won't see it again until baggage reclaim and it can get thrown around a little!
  • Let your little one choose a magazine at the airport, it’ll be read from cover to cover! 

Boarding and flying

  • 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.
  • Remember 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.
  • To reduce ear pain on take-off, give your child a drink or a sweet to suck on. Take-off is an ideal time to feed babies and a dummy is useful to ward off those dreaded un-popped ears.
  • Take plenty of handy wipes and antibacterial gel with you just in case!
  • Bear in mind that in-flight meals are often extremely hot, test them first before letting your little one tuck in.
  • Take baby food in re-sealable packaging- you might be required to taste it at security. Once on board, your flight attendant will warm up milk or baby food. 

Arrivals

  • You can breathe a sigh of relief upon arrival, the hard part is over! Now it's time to look for fast track customs, to make the process of getting restless and tired youngsters out the airport as quickly as possible.
  • A dual time watch is great for keeping track of your baby's routine away from home. 
  • Be prepared for the climate outside, with sun screen and hats (or extra layers when on your return!)

FAQs

General travel questions

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.

Flying

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.

At the hotel

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.

Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation

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