- Vaccinations. Check which vaccinations you and your child need in plenty of time before your trip; some vaccinations need to be given a month in advance for your body to develop immunity. If your child has not yet had all their vaccinations in the childhood vaccination programme, it may be necessary to bring a vaccination forward. Take your vaccination card with you on your trip.
- Passport for baby. In some countries, your passport has to be valid for six months after you return home or you won’t be allowed entry, and temporary passports aren’t valid in some countries. Check which rules apply at your destination and check when your passport expires. Remember, in Sweden anyone under the age of 18 has to have written permission from all their legal guardians when applying for a passport.
- Visas. For some destinations you have to apply for a visa in advance, while for others you don’t need one or you can get one at the airport when you arrive. You can apply for a visa at the embassy of the country in question in Sweden, or via various online service sites that help with visa applications.
- Travel insurance. Well before you plan to travel, check what insurance you have and what it covers during your trip. Some debit/credit cards, e.g. VISA and MasterCard, come with inbuilt travel insurance if you use the card to pay for your trip and if you have home insurance you’ll often find travel insurance is included for a certain number of days. Print out your travel insurance certificate and take it along with you on your trip and make sure your insurance policies cover your child as well.
- Rules for luggage Will it cost extra to take a pushchair and car seat on the flight? Airlines have different rules about how much check-in and carry-on luggage a child under the age of two travelling without their own seat is allowed to take with them. Some airlines let the child check in a suitcase with the same maximum weight allowance as an adult, but not take any carry-on luggage and others have a lower maximum weight for a child’s luggage. Check the policy of your airline before you travel.
- Airport rules. European airports have restrictions on the amount of liquids you’re allowed to take aboard a plane, and creams, gels and sprays count as liquids in this respect. Check which rules apply at the airports you’ll be travelling from. If you’re not allowed to take the kind of liquid you want, you can take along empty (feeding) bottles that you can fill up when you’ve gone through security or are on the plane.
- What does your hotel offer? Many travel agencies have special offers for families to make it easy to travel with kids and lots of hotels offer fun activities for kids. If you haven’t booked via a travel agent, many hotel booking websites contain information about how child-friendly the hotel is; some tell you about childminding, kids clubs and activities for kids close to the hotel.
- Road safety at your destination. If you’re travelling in your homeland, you’ll probably have a better idea of how road traffic works than if you go abroad, and you may also be travelling in your own car. If you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before, you can plan ahead to make your journey safer. If you know you will be travelling by taxi or rental car a lot, check if it’s possible to rent a car seat as well or if there’s a car rental firm that specialises in families with kids. If this is not an option, check with your airline to see if you can take a car seat on the plane free of charge.
- Apps, apps, apps! A good way to prepare for travel with kids (or without) is to download popular travel apps for your mobile. They make certain things so much easier. Before your trip, you can use apps to book your hotel, read reviews and collect all your travel info in one place. And once you arrive, travel planners, maps, city guides and translation apps are all extremely useful. Pick and choose in the Travel category in App Store, Google Play and Windows Phone Store.
Can’t get enough of apps? Check out our list of 9 popular travel apps!