Travelling with a baby

Perhaps you’re travelling with a baby?

The first couple of months of having a newborn is tiring, and can put pressure on your relationship.  Perhaps it’s time to get away, and spend some nice time together as a family.  Most of the latin countries are family friendly.  Spain is no different – it welcomes families.  The chances are you don’t want to go somewhere where you’re having to jostle your buggy (stroller/pushchair) through throngs of people.  Consider coming to Mojácar.   Take a look at where is Mojácar to see exactly where it is in Spain.

Our daughter was born in July 2014.  My parents live in this part of Spain, and we’ve visited the area 3 times before she was 5 months old.  A couple of my friends have asked me about my tips for travelling with a baby – so I thought I’d jot a few notes, but first I thought you might be wondering Why Mojacar as it’s probably somewhere you’ve never heard of, or considered for a holiday destination?

Mojacar Promenade - Small

Why come to Mojácar if you’ve got a baby?

Mojácar is a family friendly location, with good access to local services (pharmacists, doctors etc), so you’ve got access to pretty much everything you have in the UK.   But it’s warmer.  More information about Mojácar climate.

There are long stretches of promenade to push your (UV protected) pram (see walking Mojacar for more information), whilst you soak up some sun – pretty much year round.   Once you’ve done all that walking or when your little one needs a feed – you’ll probably want to head to one of the many cafes or restaurants which are all along the sea front.  There are a good choice of cafes, restaurants and bars, with either a Spanish or English theme (oh, and of course the obligatory Irish pub … and a Greek restaurant, Indian & Chinese food – and of course numerous Italian and pizza places!).  Most places can typically easily accommodate your pram.   I haven’t been to a restaurant that didn’t welcome us (I’ve been taking my daughter to this area since she was about 8 weeks old – she’s now 7 months).

If you just want to be “somewhere a bit warmer” but don’t want the hassle of speaking Spanish – then there are a number of restaurants that cater to the Brits.  If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous – there are loads of places that are far more Spanish, and the staff are generally delighted if you want to try out your spoken Spanish.

Why now?

If you traveled before the arrival of your little one, then no doubt you’re itching to get away.  If you didn’t travel too much, then perhaps it’s good to get an overseas trip in while the costs are significantly reduced.  When I last booked a flight for my daughter, her flight was £22 each way and that included two items of luggage – I took her maxi cosi car seat and wheeled base).  However, for this price, your little one doesn’t get their own seat (although you could upgrade).  Your little one will sit on your knee (or lie on you).  I figure it’s probably easier to do this whilst they’re smaller, and having flown once with a baby, the 2nd time was far less daunting!

Family Friendly Mojacar

Older children

There is a fairly flat promenade along the front which is suitable for prams, pushchairs.  Additionally, dotted along the beach, there are play areas for older children.  From swings and climbing equipment there are also basket ball ‘courts’ and areas for football.   As well as a “walking” lane, there is a lane for cyclists.  I’ve seen children cycle in this as well as use their scooters and rollerskates.  The image above shows the walking promenade.  There is a “central reservation”, and on the other side of the bench is the cycle lane.  Most of the hotels and apartment complexes have their own swimming pool.  Additionally Mojacar beaches are blue flag which is an external body which rates the beaches for cleanliness.  These factors will become more important as your little ones start to paddle around.

Things to bring from UK / tips

  1. You will need a passport for your little one(s).  The photo needs to be verified before you send the forms – so do allow enough time.  I only booked my first flight when I had my daughter’s passport in my hands.  Child passports only last for 5 years, so if you have one for an older child do check it’s still valid, and remember to (re)apply for them in good time.
  2. Add your little one to your travel insurance
  3. You might also want to ensure you have an (E111) European Health Insurance Card this is FREE.  Ignore sites that ask you to pay for this card.
  4. The Mojacar Climate is WARM during the day even in January.
    1. I couldn’t find a SUN CREAM that was suitable for babies under 6 months, so I bought a Koo Di UV sun and sleep cover – which has been great.  (I’m still bringing my daughter over in her maxi cosi car seat – for our hire car – which also fits on a pram base).
    2. A sun hat and sunglasses for your little one.
      • There are many shops locally to buy hat ans sunglasses etc – but my recommendation is that you have them before you arrive.  Having pretty much everything you need, will ensure you don’t spend your first afternoon hunting for them, when you’re tired from the flight.  There is still a tradition of siesta – and although tourist shops do stay open throughout the day, after a day of travel with a child / children – dashing around in the heat to find these items may not get your holiday off to the relaxing start that you’d hoped for.
    3. I’ve got a I’ve also recently bought a parasol that attaches to the pushchair – although I guess I don’t yet have it fitted correctly because when I go round a corner she’s back in the sun until I adjust it.  Did I say, I LOVE the Koo Di UV cover!
  5. Formula feeding?
    • The tap water in this area is not really suitable for drinking.  If you’re formula feeding, check with your health visitor, my HV recommended Evian water due to the low salt content.  If you do stay at my apartment in La Mata I will ensure there is enough Evian to mix feeds for your stay.
    • You can get formula feed in Spain, although the brands might not be recognisable.  I chose to buy Aptamil from a pharmacist (which is the brand my daughter has in the UK)  it cost almost 3 times what I would pay in the UK.  So my tip would be to bring enough formula (and the little travel containers)!
    • I also brought some liquid / instant feeds with me – but I’d been spoilt in the UK by my instant Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine.
    • A flask for hot water
    • Sterilizing kit (I have a microwave sterilizer which can also take sterilizing solution.  The sterilising tablets take less room than Milton fluid.  You can buy this in Spain, but to arrive and not have it might be a bit stressful.
  6. La Mata Master Bedroom 2Sleeping?  I used a travel cot.  A tip I picked up is to put into the cot an item of clothing that smells of you.  There can be lots of different smells in a new location – so a familiar scent can be reassuring.  FYI our apartment in La Mata  has a travel cot which fits in the main bedroom.
  7. Night light (and adapter).  Just to avoid the full on glare of the overhead lights.
  8. I probably over pack my “in flight bag” with an extra set of clothing, 4 nappies and spare feeds in different formats just in case security get a bit over zealous and confiscate some of the liquids.
  9. The airports vary as to how close to the plane you can drop off / pick up your push chair.  At Gatwick, pushchair collection is after passport control in baggage reclaim.  They usually have pushchairs that you can borrow – but if your little one isn’t yet sitting up you may find you end up carrying him /her – along with all the bags you’ve taken on the flight.  I’ve found my baby carrier rucksack thing to be really useful in this situation.
  10. An empty Boots plastic carrier bag.  You might think this one a bit odd.  But EasyJet can enforce it’s baggage policy of only one bag per person, with the exception that “duty free” bought at the airport can also be taken on board, and stuff bought from Boots (and I assume Dixons).  Handy to have.
  11. I also came across a tip of bringing a few spare pairs of ear plugs for the people in neighboring seats.  The one time I might have wanted to give a pair away I couldn’t find them!
  12. I only brought 4 sets of clothes for my daughter (my logic was 2 sets per day ‘just in case’, 1 set in the wash, 1 clean and dry).  There is a washing machine at La Mata – if your accommodation doesn’t have a washing machine – you might want more clothes.
  13. I created a “packing list” and then adjusted it as I noticed I’d forgotten stuff.
  14. I took a (vacuum packed) Activity Mat to La Mata as many of the floors in Spain are hard tiled, not ideal for a rolling around baby!  I recommend the vacuum pack bags – they have a travel version where you don’t need a vacuum cleaner to suck the air out.

If you have other questions – let me know and I can share my experiences of travelling to Mojácar with my daughter.

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