Holiday travel with kids, how to organise your start.
23 Feb 2019
While children can stay at any of our hotels, there are some that are particularly family friendly, such as the UNAHOTELS Naxos Beach Sicilia with its private beach and children's club or the Fattoria Santo Stefano in Montaione, Tuscany, which offers serviced apartments and babysitting on request.
Planning holiday travel with kids, however, can be daunting; here's a top-ten list of tips on how to travel with children or how to make flying with a baby easier.
10 tips for successful travel with children.
1. When planning to travel with children in Italy, be realistic, especially if it's your first holiday as a family. Children love to explore at their own pace, so you may not be able to cover as many things on the agenda as when on a couples holiday. However, you'll get so much enjoyment from watching their wonder as they paddle in warm waters or gaze in awe at Rome's magnificent Colosseum.
2. Gear holiday travel to kids by planning your budget, airport transfer times and flight departures carefully. Don't assume that babies and toddlers travel free or you might get caught out by unexpected ticket costs, especially with low-cost airlines. Pick flight times that allow babies and young children to stick to their normal routines as much as possible.
3. Take full advantage of online check-in, bag drop-offs and any airport assistance that's available. It's worth paying a little extra for early boarding to ensure your hand luggage is close to your seat and that you've time to get settled before the plane gets too busy. Research airports' websites before leaving home to see where changing facilities and play areas are located.
4. Entertain older children during flights with games or films on mobile devices as well as activity and reading books. Even young babies can be distracted for a few minutes with sing-along sessions. For real time-passing treats, give children a bag of small toys and games they've not seen before.
5. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks. In-flight food is not to every youngster's taste, so stock up on their favourite nibbles and buy water once through airport security. If flying with babies, check out the airport's security policy on baby milk before you leave home. Now's the time to relax the rules on some sweet treats, especially as sucking hard sweets lessens the pain that flying can inflict on young ears.
6. Having a youngster with special needs, medical issues or allergies shouldn't stop you enjoying an Italian holiday. Check out the airport's policy on travelling with prescription medicines, and always have a list to hand in case supplies run out or get lost. If your child has a special condition, think about getting an identity bracelet that carries essential emergency information (medicalert.org.uk), while Allergy UK produces information cards in 27 different languages.
7. While an Italian summer almost guarantees good weather, if you're visiting out of season, check on what you can expect before you pack. For summer holidays, pack clothes in natural fibres to protect delicate skin from heat rashes, and expect children to need at least two sets of clothes every day. Long sleeve T-shirts, sun hats with neck flaps and wide brims and sunglasses or baby goggles are all essential -- along with plenty of sun cream.
8. Prepare children and build up excitement for their Italian adventure by talking about and researching the journey and destination. Let them help plan an itinerary that covers both their interests and yours and teach them a few basic words of Italian to impress the locals. Older children might want to keep a memory journal, filling it with notes as well as postcards, sweet wrappers, sketches or even messages from people they meet along the way.
9. When flying with babies or toddlers, it's important to consider their health and hygiene. Overpack on bottles, baby food, nappies, changes of clothing and wet wipes to lessen the stress of any delays. You might want to pack a small travel steriliser or some sterilising tablets for keeping cups, dummies and teething toys squeaky clean.
10. Paperwork is a fact of life, and there are now some instances where you will need extra documentation to travel with children. If your child is adopted, you must carry their adoption papers, and if you're travelling alone with a child, you might be asked for proof of consent from their other parent. You might also need extra documents if the name on your child's passport is different from yours.
Take a look at our other articles for information on beautiful locations, vibrant events and our luxury hotels all over Italy.