Navigating the airport with a baby was actually much easier than I expected. Despite the fact, security was the most stressful part of the holiday! Unfortunately, this was my fault. I spent too much time worrying about Thomas and all of his things and ended up setting the alarm off myself. This meant we spent a lot longer than anticipated going through and little man started to get very hungry! Luckily, we got through just in time, before things got really loud! Here are 5 tips, for making the experience less stressful.
1. Valet Parking
We decided to drive to the airport and leave our car there. We didn’t want to take our car seat abroad with us and we didn’t feel comfortable leaving it with a taxi company. We also had a lot of stuff, and we wanted the time to pack the car and stop on the way if necessary.
We went with the valet parking service at Gatwick Airport
. This was fantastic, and we will definitely be using this again. We booked and paid online and then all we had to do was turn up, park our car, hand over the keys (once we had finished faffing about and sorting ourselves out) and then we just had to pick it up once we got home. There was no rush to unpack the car and this gave us the time we needed.
The car park had a direct link into the airport, meaning if you were travelling with children of a walking age, it would be much safer. The only thing I will say, is that we struggled without a luggage trolly. Unfortunately, at Gatwick you now need a £1 coin, to access the trollies. We didn’t have any change, so weren’t able to use one. Next time we will defiantly be remember to bring one!
2. Plenty of time
Make sure to leave plenty of time, it will make things much less stressful. We arrived the usual 2 hours early at the airport, with an additional 1 just in case. This meant if there had been any poo explosions or urgent feeds, we would have plenty of time.
It was actually a really nice experience and we ended up having brunch at the airport. I think this helped to normalise things for Thomas. After all, there was a lot going on and it was nice to just sit down and chill out for a bit. It also gave us time for a photo shoot…of course!
We were able to feed and change Thomas in plenty of time, before boarding the plane. It wasn’t quite as easy on the way back. We travelled with TUI and were unable to choose our pick up time from the hotel. I felt very rushed at the airport and ended up having to change Thomas in his pushchair while waiting at the gate. It was fine and we made it all in one piece! But the Gatwick experience was much nicer. I may consider booking a taxi to the airport, on future trips for the way home.
3. Family/Priority check in
Family check in at Gatwick was great. The que was much shorter and we didn’t feel as rushed sorting our things out. Before we travelled, I was worried I would be asked to taste Thomas’ milk and as the premades only last for 2 hours once opened, I really hoped we wouldn’t have to. Luckily, at the family check in, they can now scan the milk to check it is safe.
Unfortunately, I was so busy worrying about Thomas, I ended up setting off the alarm myself and I also forgot to take my ipad out the bag. This meant I had to be scanned and all my things had to be rescanned. But even with all that, it really wasn’t that bad.
Over in Greece, we were also allowed to use the priority check in lane as well. This once again allowed us to feel less rushed and the staff were really friendly towards Thomas. This time it was Mr Mitchells time to set off the alarm and need to be scanned!
4. A baby carrier/buggy
On the way out, we decided to check in our buggy and use a baby carrier around the airport. However, there is the option to take the buggy right to the plane door if you would prefer to do that. We decided to check in our buggy, as we had a buggy protection bag, that we were able to store extra items in (find out more in my 10 packing hacks blog).
Our flight was also at a good time on the way out and Thomas’ was wide wake for most of the time at the airport. He enjoyed looking around at what was going on from his carrier. When he napped, I just turned him round to snuggle into me.
On the way back, we decided to keep the buggy up until the plane. The flight was later and Thomas’ was far more tired. Once we reached the plane, we collapsed the buggy, transferred it into the buggy bag for protection and put Thomas into the carrier. This just made it easier for me to carry him and get our things sorted.
If you have a carrier, I would defiantly recommend taking one if travelling with a baby. On the other side, you often have to wait until luggage collection to get your buggy back. It made carrying Thomas through passport control, much easier.
5. Organised hand luggage
All my liquids were pre-packed in a see-through bag, prior to the airport. I then packed them at the front of our hand luggage. This made security much easier, we didn’t have to worry about making sure we had all the liquids out and it made things much quicker. It quite difficult sorting things out while trying to entertain your little one, so the more prior preparation you do, the easier it will be.
I also made sure to pack smart. Things we were unlikely to need I packed at the bottom (spare change clothes etc) and all the items we would need easy access to, at the top (nappy kit). The nappy kit I packed was great for ease of access, both at the airport and on the plane (you can find out more about this on my 10 packing hacks blog). This was so handy and we were defiantly grateful for it.
Overall, we had a good experience of the airport with Thomas. He was an absolute star and took everything in his stride. The only time things were a bit much for him, was when he got hungry during my search at security! But that was Mummy’s fault and I will be sure to remember next time.
I hope you find my airport tips useful.Let me know in the comments section below, if you have any airport tips?
I would also love to know if you use any of the above.