Travel with kids

Leia Morales on 21 May 2019
Back in 2007 I did a skydive over Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, but if you asked me if I would do it again, I would say a firm no. When I had my daughter in 2015 my life changed. I am now responsible for another life, and I look at risk factors in a different light. But having kids doesn’t mean that you can’t have adventures and experiences when you travel, there is just different factors to consider.

We have taken several family holidays since my daughter was born, and each one has been a learning experience. My personal experience, along with 10 years' experience of booking family travel have led me to compile the following list of top tips.

Infant Airfares

Infant airfares are available up to the age of 2 and are a bargain because you aren’t paying for a seat. But travel with a 3-month-old on your lap is very different to travelling with a 23-month-old. I have spoken to many a parent who want to take their first born to visit relatives the other side of the world and want to make the trip before they turn 2 to save money. They might be booking this flight 11 months ahead, when their little angel is just sitting up and is easily pacified. A lot changes in 11 months, and that baby will be a toddler, who wants to walk and has nowhere to go. Yes, you can save money with an infant fare, but it won’t save your sanity on a 23-hour flight. My advice: pay the extra for the child airfare. Even if your child is under 2 at time of travel, you can choose to pay the higher child airfare and you will be glad you did. Any flight over 5 hours with a child over 1 and I would suggest this.


Most airlines will allow you to take several “baby items” as part of your infant luggage allowance. Do not take your expensive travel system on holiday, I bought a second-hand collapsible pushchair with nice big wheels for moving over the sandy beach for our first holiday when my daughter was just crawling. When she was walking, I took a lighter umbrella stroller for distances. When she was 4 years old and we went to Disneyland Paris I took a stroller, even though she hadn’t used one at home for a year. When it comes to car seats, I would recommend leaving the car seat you heavily researched and spent a fortune on at home and buy a cheaper car seat for your holiday. That way you know it has never been in an accident, you know how to install it, but if it gets unknowingly damaged in transit it isn’t the seat you would normally be using. It also works out cheaper than hiring one from a car hire company, and if you are taking transfers from the airport, you have a seat for any additional taxi rides or excursions you might take.

Hotel Rooms

Our first holiday as a family we went to an All Inclusive in Mauritius and stayed in a ground floor terrace room. I hadn’t really thought about which floor our room would be on, but the check in staff recommended a ground floor and it was a blessing. Firstly, we didn’t have to worry about taking the stroller up and down stairs. Secondly, while she was in bed, we had a lovely terrace to enjoy and could run across to the beach bar for our drinks. Had we been on the 1st floor with a balcony we would have had to go through the room to get to the bar. In addition, if you have more than one child, consider the options for larger family rooms or two interconnecting rooms. But bear in mind, some hotels will only allocate interconnecting rooms at check in, is that a risk you want to take?

Self-catering and All inclusive

Our first holiday to Mauritius was an all-inclusive. My daughter was 9 months old and was constantly eating. Each mealtime we would put some extra fruit into Tupperware for her to snack on between meals. As she got older, the all-inclusive buffets have been perfect for her to see what exotic food she wants to try. She would probably like this option at home! Self-catering when you have a car hire has also been quite good for us. We had a lovely villa in Orlando, with a private pool and a Walmat 5-minute drive away. We could have prepared full dinners, but I wasn’t going to spend my holiday cooking, so we kept it simple with pasta sauces and frozen chips, but again it meant that food was available for her.

Group Adventure Tours

When I was in my 20’s, I travelled around South East Asia on a small group adventure tour. This was a great way, as a solo female traveller, to see the sights and feel safe. I met like-minded people and there was no stress of trying to find a hostel to sleep. Over the last few years, these same group tour companies that used to only cater to the budget gap year traveller have branched out into family tours and this is what I next plan to do with my daughter. They have different minimum ages depending on the activities, but some start as young as 5. If the tour doesn’t specify that it is aimed at a particular age group, I would always ask who is already booked on the tour. The tour companies are usually happy to tell you the age and gender of the other children and whether 1 or 2 parents are accompanying. On these departures you must have a child to travel and they tend to stay at hotels that can accommodate triple and sometimes even quad occupancy.

Whether it is your first family holiday you are looking for, the last before the kids move out, or a multi-generational trip, there are lots of things to consider but I have experience and ideas to make the holiday memorable. Send me an email to start planning your next family adventure.