A family holiday should be something to look forward to, especially with travel being in such short supply over the past few years. The latest research from Vrbo®, a global expert in family holiday rentals, has revealed in the third edition of its annual Family Holiday Insider report how parents are looking to go on holiday with a ‘new’ type of traveller: ‘lockdown babies’.
For children who are now two years old, the pandemic is all these dubbed ‘coronials’ have ever known. But despite the potential concerns and challenges of travelling with little ones, there’s so much to gain from spending quality time with loved ones on holiday.
Vrbo’s latest data reveals the concerns and challenges faced by parents when looking to travel with ‘lockdown babies’:
- 70 per cent of parents are looking to travel with additional family or caregivers for extra support
- The lack of the usual socialising during the pandemic is another area of apprehension, with many parents feeling a sense of anxiety about how their baby will react when meeting or being handled by strangers, as this isn’t something they’re used to (23 per cent).
- Holiday rentals are considered the most convenient type of accommodation by parents travelling with babies
According to Vrbo, it’s clear that getting away on holiday is a priority for the majority or parents this year, with 8 in 10 parents with children under two intending to travel in 2022. More than half of these (54 per cent) will be staying in the UK whilst four in 10 plan to venture to Europe. Summer is the favourite season to travel for 45 per cent of families, with the school holidays providing the perfect opportunity for some R&R, whilst nearly a quarter (23 per cent) plan to take advantage of the spring bank holiday for a trip this year. And with a third planning on taking a trip at Easter, it’s time to get planning and packing for a holiday to remember!
Travelling with the family in tow
As a result of the pandemic and lockdowns, babies and toddlers have been prevented from having a great deal of interaction with their close family and friends. For this reason, their first holiday with extended family and friends acts as the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together, with 7 in 10 parents holidaying with babies and toddlers in 2022 planning to travel with other people as ‘potential caregivers’.
Childcare expert and celebrity ‘nanny’, Shada Lambert aka “Nanny Sharz” shares her tips on finding the positives in parental challenges. Top of the list to invite along were grandparents (30 per cent), extended family members such as uncles, aunts and cousins (16 per cent) and adult siblings (16 per cent). One in 10 even stated they’d be looking to travel with a nanny in 2022.
Childcare expert and celebrity ‘nanny’, Shada Lambert aka “Nanny Sharz” commented: “Parents with young children can feel as though they are on duty 24 hours a day, which can be a hefty burden on holiday when they’re trying to relax too! Arranging to go away with other adults for support, from family members to nannies can be a great way to share the responsibilities and help the holiday feel like a restful break for everyone!”
The pandemic bought a whole host of fresh concerns for families looking to travel with the newest members of the family. The top three worries new parents have when travelling with their baby since the start of the pandemic include:
- Becoming ill and not being able to take care of their baby properly (36 per cent)
- A sudden change of travel restrictions, being stranded with their baby somewhere abroad (35 per cent)
- Their baby struggling to get used to a new environment (31 per cent).
The lack of the usual socialising during the pandemic is another area of apprehension, with many parents feeling a sense of anxiety about how their baby will react when meeting or being handled by strangers, as this isn’t something they’re used to (23 per cent).
Nanny Sharz commented: “The thought of travelling for the first time with a new baby since the pandemic can of course be a worry for parents, with so much to consider, remembering what to pack and the fear of the ‘unknown!’. But once you’re prepped and ready to go, you can start getting excited about a trip away and spending some quality, undivided time with your baby, without the distractions of day to day life at home!”
The holiday doesn’t start till you get there…
Travelling with little ones has always come with its own set of challenges, even pre-pandemic. For over a third (36 per cent), the hardest part of getting ready to jet off is the immense number of things to remember to pack. From toys to toiletries, nappies to nightlights, there’s a lot to consider when taking a young child away to ensure they feel settled, especially in a foreign setting.
Taking a baby on a plane is something that most parents approach with nervousness. Whether it’s your child or not, a screaming baby mid-air isn’t fun for anyone. In fact, over a quarter (27 per cent) of parents listed other travellers getting annoyed by their baby’s noises and complaining about it as one of the main challenges they face and worry about when taking their children on holiday!
Where to stay for a stress-free trip away
According to the research, parents travelling with babies and toddlers stated the most convenient type of accommodation would be a holiday rental (35 per cent) as somewhere they could get together and enjoy their babies first holiday with family and friends, as if they were at home. This was followed by a hotel (27 per cent) or a resort to be able to socialise with other people (15 per cent).
The research also revealed that finding accommodation suitable for babies was another significant matter for many parents (31 per cent) when looking to book a trip away. The most important things parents considered when searching for accommodation were child-proofing safety measures, such as stair gates and (36 per cent) the availability of baby equipment (high chair, crib) and cleanliness (33 per cent). Sufficient space, easy access to childcare facilities and good kitchen equipment, including a microwave were also important (20 per cent), as were privacy (17 per cent) and a parking space (14 per cent). Holiday rentals are a good option for families looking to cater for young children on holiday, with many rentals providing helpful amenities such as cots and most importantly, plenty of space and privacy, to avoid the worry of upsetting other holidaymakers with unsettled little ones!
Karen Mullins at Vrbo commented: “When travelling, who you’re with matters just as much as where you go. We believe finding the right place for being together is so important for families travelling for the first time with their babies and toddlers. Having extra space where you can maintain a routine with your baby means everyone is able to relax.
When staying in a holiday rental, why not contact the property host ahead of time to see what facilities and equipment are available – it may prevent you from packing unnecessary items and provide you with some much-needed peace of mind on any questions you may have about the property or local area!”
The benefits of a family holiday
All challenges aside, the research revealed parents recognise the unique value of spending quality time together as a family on holiday, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life (34 per cent). When asked the top ‘expectations’ parents had for a holiday with their babies, a third said they anticipated giving their baby ‘new experiences’ to aid their development, such as their first swim in the sea – a magical moment for any parent!
Other benefits parents expected to gain from taking a hard-earned trip away with their youngsters included increased bonding time and making valuable and lasting memories with the family (34 per cent), getting young children comfortable with air travel (20 per cent), sleeping away from home (18 per cent), socialising with other parents and babies and adjusting to a different routine (17 per cent).
Top tips on travelling with babies
Nanny Sharz shares her top tips on travelling with babies and how to find the positives in parental challenges – especially on holiday!
Plan a list
Making a list of everything that needs to be packed, helps to prevent you from forgetting the essentials i.e.,nappies, wipes, sleep associations, sunscreen etc.
Check with the host that the Travel Accommodation is child friendly and suitable for families
It is always best to do a risk assessment of the property before you travel. Liaise with the host about the health and safety requirements of the property beforehand.
Notify them that you are a party with a Baby or Toddler so they can make the right adjustments if necessary, such as a Travel Cot, Bath etc
Be up to date with travel restrictions for your holiday destination
Before you travel check the travel restrictions in your holiday destination as restrictions may differ from the UK
Research the local area and weather beforehand
It is always important to know what children’s activities are on offer locally and ways to book. Also, knowing the weather helps with knowing what to pack clothing wise.
Checking for the nearest hospital, pharmacy, shops etc will help you be more prepared in case of an emergency
Hire accommodation with extra amenities pool, games room and outdoor space
Staying in a home away from home with extra amenities can really make or break a holiday. On those days when you’re tired or want a relaxing day you can do so by the pool or in the garden. Also, a games or toy room will keep the children entertained during your stay
Feed Baby or Toddler during take off to ease any pain in the ears
Your child’s ears might hurt or pop on the plane so feeding them during this time may ease the pain and discomfort.
Pack some favourite toys and age-appropriate activity travel packs that you can rotate to prevent boredom
Keep your child stimulated and entertained on the trip with items such as Water Doodle Fold up Mats, Sensory toys, activity packs, soft books, soft toys etc.
Don’t take everything out at once and remember to rotate the toys!
Invest in a travel buggy or baby wearing
Travelling can be quite exhausting so it is very important that you have the correct equipment to transport you from home to your holiday destination.
Baby wearing is a simple way to avoid extra baggage and travel lighter. A Travel Buggy is usually lightweight, easy to fold and more practical to get around smoothly
Be prepared for delays and cancellations by packing extra supplies
In some cases, delays and cancellations may occur so it is always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.
Ensure you have extra supplies of clothing, wipes, nappies and baby food/pouches in case your trip is delayed
If possible, book a Travel Nanny for your trip
A Travel Nanny like myself will be responsible for assisting your trip from home, entertaining your child on the plane and providing flexible childcare on your trip so you can relax.
The Travel Nanny is also responsible for packing all of your child’s clothes, baby essentials and luggage, planning age-appropriate activities and trips whilst abroad, and research the area prior to the trip, which is one less job for you.