Skip to content

Travelling abroad with a baby

Travelling with a baby: Essential guide and insurance tips

Collette Shackleton
Written by  Collette Shackleton
Alicia Hempsted
Reviewed by  Alicia Hempsted
5 min read
Updated: 07 Mar 2024

Planning a trip with an infant? Explore our guide for travelling with a baby, offering practical advice, a handy checklist, and insights on choosing the best family travel insurance for a stress-free journey.

Travelling abroad and making memories with your little one is so precious, but there's no denying that travelling with infants comes with certain challenges.

The best thing you can do is plan ahead and get organised before you travel. This includes choosing the right travel insurance for your family.

In this guide, we discuss our tips for selecting the best baby travel insurance policies and share our travel checklist to help you prepare for your exciting trip abroad with your baby.

Things to consider when travelling with a baby

When travelling abroad with a baby, there are a few considerations and decisions to make before you set off. These include:

Choosing a destination

The main thing to take into account when choosing a destination is the weather. If you go somewhere too hot, your baby won't be used to the warmer climate and could be irritable in the heat. There are also risks of sun burn and dehydration, and they may find it difficult to sleep.

To make your trip more enjoyable, it might be wise to choose travelling to a cooler destination, or opting to travel to a hot country outside peak summer months, where the temperature is lower but still warm enough to have a good time on the beach and by the pool.

Mode of transport

Each form of transport comes with pros and cons when travelling with a baby. A plane is probably the most popular choice for many families, as it gives you more options in terms of destinations.

But if your baby doesn't enjoy the flight, you are then stuck in the air in a very compact space trying to tend to their needs and calm them down. The same can be said for travelling long distances in a car. You may not always be able to stop when you need to.

If this is your first trip away as a family, a train or cruise might be a more flexible option, as you have more space to manoeuver with your baby while you help soothe them.

Length of your trip

It's also a good idea to look at how long it will take you to get to each destination. If you're on a longer flight or on an overnight cruise, you might want to consider travelling overnight and try and keep your baby's schedule as close to normal as possible.

If you're driving, make sure you stop at regular intervals for nappy changes, feeds, and to stretch your legs.

It also helps to factor in the time it takes for transitions from the airport to the hotel or to park at the airport and get through security to reduce stress and keep to a schedule.

Cruising with a baby

A cruise is a great option for a holiday when you have a baby. You have the flexibility to return to your cabin for naps and nappy changes, or just to have some downtime away from all the excitement and stimulation.

Plus, most cruises are very family-friendly, and offer facilities such as baby pools, babysitting services, children activity clubs, and some even let young children board for free.

Some will even provide baby supplies in your cabin, such as travel cots, sterilisers, and baby baths if you request these in advance when you book your trip.

It's worth noting that most babies need to be at least six months old to go on a cruise, but some cruise liners with specific routes and ocean crossings require your children to be one year old, so check with each one before booking.

You will also need to add on cruise cover when you purchase travel insurance, as this isn't usually included with standard travel insurance.

What you need to organise in advance

While it can be challenging with your baby requiring your undivided attention, try to set aside some time to get organised ahead of your trip to sort out the following things:

Apply for a passport for your baby

If your little one doesn't have a passport, make sure you allow plenty of time to apply for their passport on the GOV.UK website before you travel. This can take up to 10 weeks to arrive, even when there aren't any delays or an influx of applications.

Check if you need a visa

Some countries have specific visa requirements so check whether you need to apply for these on the government’s foreign travel advice website. Once you know the entry requirements, get your documentation together and apply as soon as possible.

Get your baby a GHIC card if you’re travelling to Europe

Each person in your family needs their own UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) including your children, which you can apply for on the NHS website and check which countries it covers.

A GHIC card is free to obtain, so only ever use the official website to apply for one and look out for scams that try and make you pay for this.

Arrange vaccinations for you and your baby if required

Some countries carry diseases and illnesses that you can avoid by getting a vaccine before you travel.

Book in an appointment with your doctor or midwife at least eight weeks before your trip and listen to their advice about precautions and vaccinations you and your baby need to stay safe while abroad.

The Travel Health Pro website provides lots of handy advice if you are unsure if you need any vaccinations before you travel.

Check airline policies for infant passengers

If you're flying abroad, it's important to check the airline is happy for you to bring your baby on the plane. Many require children to be at least two weeks old, but each airline will have its own policy.

Book your seats and other baby essentials in advance

You can book seats in advance to select the most comfortable options and right amount of space for you and your baby.

It's not ideal sitting with baby on your lap for the entire journey, so if you can afford it and your airline permits this, it pays to book an extra seat for your baby and bring a carrycot or child seat for them.

If you're flying long-haul, it might be possible to reserve a free bassinet for your baby, which can be set up on particular seats on the plane. There is a weight and age limit on these, so again, you will need to check with your airline before flying.

Also, if your baby is travelling on your lap, they might not have a luggage allowance, so bear this in mind when considering what you'll need for the flight.

If you're hiring a car, make sure you inform them you will require a baby car seat. Also check with your hotel or accommodation to see if they provide essentials like travel cots and high chairs.

What to pack when travelling with a baby

What you need to pack for your baby will depend on where you're travelling to and how long you're going away for. Whether your baby is of weaning age will also affect what you need to pack.

Here is a basic essentials checklist on what to pack in your hand luggage when travelling with your baby:

  • Food and drink for the baby - milk, bottles, water, and snacks depending on the age of the baby

  • Any medication or vitamins they need

  • Favourite toys, books, and a comforter

  • A foldaway travel changing mat

  • Blanket or sleeping bag, or both

  • 2-3 spare sets of clothes for the journey

  • Wipes, nappies and nappy bags

  • A baby carrier or travel buggy

  • For longer flights you might need a travel steriliser to keep bottles and teats clean if your baby is formula fed

A good tip is to split baby supplies across any checked luggage, just to mitigate the risk of lost luggage.

How much you need to pack will depend on how much access you have to local shops and if you have on-site laundry facilities.

Does a baby need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is essential if you want peace of mind abroad, especially when travelling with a baby.

Each family member should be protected under your policy to ensure you are covered for emergency medical care, curtailment, cancellation cover, and coverage for lost or damaged items.

There are a range of policies available, so make sure you spend time researching which one works best for your whole family, including your baby, and make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions.

Compare family travel insurance

Family travel insurance often provides protection for one or two adults and up to eight children under 18. This makes it easier to manage and works out cheaper than buying separate policies for each family member.

As with any insurance policy, it's important to check over the wording and terms and conditions to look for any exclusions.

Once you're happy with this, you should purchase your chosen travel insurance immediately after booking a trip to ensure you are covered for any cancellations.

Why compare travel insurance with MoneySuperMarket?

With MoneySuperMarket, you can compare quotes in minutes to get the best travel insurance policy for your family, with flexible options to suit your travel plans.

Simply pop in a few details about your trip, and choose your policy from a range of the UK's leading travel insurance providers.

Compare travel insurance
Start a Quote