What should I keep in mind when travelling with a baby for the first time?
When planning a trip with your baby, consider the following:
- Each child needs its own European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)** if you’re travelling within one of the 31 EU and EAA countries covered by the EHIC – it’s free for the parent or guardian to apply for this on behalf of the child via the NHS. The EHIC gives you access to emergency state healthcare at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free (you get care on the same terms as a local). This typically includes treatment for pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care (assuming you’re not going abroad to give birth). However, the EHIC shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for getting travel insurance.
- Documentation Your baby will need the right paperwork, such as a child passport, before you head overseas.
- At the airport Check what your airline says about infants. For long flights, ask for a free bassinet where your little one can sleep. Some airports offer an ‘order and collect’ service for baby food
- Vaccinations You should see your doctor or midwife at least eight weeks before your trip – they can tell you about any precautions you should take or vaccinations your child might need. Keep any medicines with you as hand-luggage when you travel.
- Food and drink Check you have enough snacks, bottled drinks and baby wipes both for the journey and after you arrive at your destination (and be prepared for a change of climate). The government’s website has more information on what baby food and drinks are typically permitted at UK airports.
- On arrival If you’re driving aboard, again, make sure you’ve got enough provisions for the journey, along with suitable seating. If you’re using a car hire company, let them know in advance about your requirements.
**The rules around the EHIC are likely to change after Brexit. If the UK leaves without a deal, the UK Government has proposed that a similar scheme will be available, but this is subject to EU countries agreeing to that proposal. This was correct as of 6 May 2019.