Family Travel Adventure – Getting Started

Written by LouiseElizabeth

1st February 2019

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Our Family Travel Adventure will begin at the start of 2019. We set off on our world travel with our two small children Dylan aged 2 and Orla only 3 months.

Family Travel Preparation

I’m Louise, a mother of two from the UK, currently preparing to set off on a new travel adventure at the beginning of 2019. After 20yrs at the same company, only taking a break for holidays and maternity leave, my partner and I decided to take the plunge and go travelling. So, after the birth of our daughter Orla (born October 2018), we decided to make the most of my maternity and take a year off and travel as a family.

Family Travel 2019
Dylan & Orla 2018

Luckily, we are in the fortunate position that we can do this together as a family as we also run a small business and able to work remotely from anywhere (with a WiFi connection).

We wanted to go traveling before the arrival of our family but kept putting it off. Pregnancies and life just kind of got in the way. Only 1 week after my daughter was born we thought its now or never and booked a one-way flight from the UK to Hong Kong using our Virgin Atlantic air miles we have saved throughout the year. With Thailand, Bali, and Australia on the list of future destinations, we have no set agenda or time limit!

So with our first flight booked, it’s time to figure out how we’re going to do this all with 2 small children in tow…

First up, vaccinations…what a palava this has been…

Family Travel Vaccinations

Children's Travel Vaccinations

Travel vaccinations are a little easier and cheaper for us being from the UK. We are lucky enough to get some of our travel vaccinations on our NHS (National Health Service) I called my local GP surgery and filled out a holiday vaccination questionnaire to see what was required. A few lost forms by the doctor later, the nurse called to let me know that the surgery cannot cover all my vaccinations on the NHS. The nurse advised that I’d be better off getting these privately at the likes of a Boots, Superdrug or Nomads Travel store.

The following day, off we all trot to Boots. Only to find the most unhelpful person decided to serve on the counter that day. They tell us we’d need to book the appointment online and the only availability was in 2/3 weeks time (due to the Christmas period). Also, they were unable to help my daughter as she was under 2 years of age.

Waiting 2/3 weeks was really frustrating, as we’d given ourselves 2 months to get everything ready and this would effect our timescales. We knew from past experience that we needed to give ourselves plenty of time to arrange vaccinations as some may require multiple visits.

Therefore we visited another Boots store where there was an earlier appointment available (within 24hrs) and the pharmacist was very helpful. She explained the reason that they couldn’t cover my daughter was due to the location of the injections. As children under 2 are injected in the leg and they are currently not qualified to do this.

I’d really recommend taking your full vaccination history with you to these appointments. I requested this from my local GP before my appointment. It definitely helps to speed up the 1.5hr designated appointment slot (for each person) which was a bonus!

For travel and vaccination advice check out Boots.com for more information

My partner, son and I had all been to Mexico 11 months earlier, so we’re already covered on a few more injections than the norm. We were lucky to have got these from our previous GP surgery (on the NHS) and this really saved us some money. When having the private consultation you could see the prices escalating for each injection recommended or required.

The Boots consultation is a risk assessment of areas you are traveling to, along with reasons for your stay and what you’d be doing whilst you’re there. At the end you are provided with a list of recommended injections as well as required ones.

We decided against some of the recommendations such as Rabies. As we felt that our risk was low for the purposes of our trip.

My daughter is due her 8-week injections mid January 2019. Therefore I will update this post with what she needs after she’s attended the appointment and once I’ve interrogated the nurse!

Next thing to consider was how to feed my 12 week baby whilst we’re away.

Feeding An Infant Whilst Travelling

Travelling and feeding a new born
Breast Feeding Whilst Travelling

So far I’ve been lucky to be able to breastfeed my daughter. With my son, I found this more challenging, only managing a few weeks due to an infection and bottle fed.

This time I had a purpose to continue, mostly due to the fact I couldn’t handle the thought of washing and sterilising bottles on the road. So through thick and thin, mastitis and 2-3hr feeds, I’ve figured breastfeeding is personally the best option for me. Milk is always to hand, I don’t have to worry about water quality, bottle temperatures or cleanliness. I’ll also probably bring my electric breast pump in case of emergencies.

Sleeping Arrangements

Family Travel sleeping arrangements
Koo-di Pop up Travel Basinet

Sleeping arrangements are fairly easy for us. We have always traveled and very rarely settled in one place for too long, so our son will happily co-sleep with us in a double bed.

As for our daughter, after doing some research, I found I could buy a pop-up travel basinet which would be perfect for us. We’ve gone for the Koo-di Pop Up Travel Basinet. It’s lightweight, easy to pack and comes with a mosquito net which will really help with our list of destinations.

This should also save us money when staying at hotels, as you can be charged for a hotels travel cot. You’re also not too sure how hygienic they are either.

Family Travel Packing

In terms of packing, I bought an Osprey Fairview 55 last year when we went to Mexico. The reasons I went for this backpack is that it’s designed for females and being short (5ft3) this one fits perfectly. The Fairview also comes with a 13L daypack that can be used for day trips.

Although it comes with a daypack, we found it quite small for all the necessities you need with small children. We, therefore, purchased an Osprey Quasar daypack. The Quasar is great and comes with plenty of compartments, which means everything can have its own place; laptops, nappies, etc. Side pockets also come in handy for keeping drinks away from the rest of the bag.

Amazon Basic Packing Cubes

When on the road I found it tricky separating the children’s, my own and dirty clothes. Rummaging and unpacking everything to find a single item was a real pain. Taking a bag per person just wasn’t an option. Especially with the car piling up or not enough strength or arm space to carry it all. I found the Amazon Basic Packing pods/cubes a great solution and would highly recommend them.

Transporting Our Children

How to transport our children whilst we are away, has also been a bit of minefield. Not knowing the best options to take…traveling with two separate buggies wasn’t a viable option. Nor was buying a new double buggy, so we decided to buy a buggy board to connect to one buggy. This is important to us as our son often gets tired and wants carrying on trips out and about.

Maxi Buggy Board

So the best option we’ve found is to take our Maxi Cosi car seat along with our Bugaboo frame. We will then use a Lascal Maxi Board that our son can ride on when his legs get tired. I’m hoping that this will save us carrying him around airports too.

One of the reasons we chose the Lascal Maxi board over the Bugaboo version is the fact that it’s universal. So even when the baby is out of her buggy, we can use it on a lighter weight buggy later. Also, the price of the Bugaboo wheeled board kept increasing as the straps don’t even come with £100 plus price tag.

Right now, I’m hoping it’s not just a novelty that he wants to ride on the buggy board… but I’ll keep you updated!!

Travel Insurance

Nationwide Travel Insurance

We’ve held a Nationwide FlexPlus account for several years now. And finally can make the most of the benefits that come with it and use the worldwide travel insurance for our trip. My partner and I have a joint account, meaning that we are both covered as well as the children. This only covers us for a 30-day trip, so we needed to get a trip extension. There were several extensions available however we decided to go for 4 months, which costs around £156.

A lot of people have recommended World Nomads insurance, which I heard are also very good. Ross used them in 2008 when he went backpacking but was fortunate enough never to make a claim. But when it comes to travel insurance (and protecting your family) I’d always recommend doing your own research.

Interest in what happened next? Check out Family Travel Adventure First Stop – Hong Kong

Traveling with 2 infants Hong Kong
Family Travel Adventure – Hong Kong – First Stop

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