The trip was arranged as a birthday present for my mother-in-law. We had originally decided to go on the trip before finding out that we were to become parents, but fortunately hadn't booked anything. We would have been travelling during the month before our baby daughter was born if we had booked it. Whilst we did still travel to the Netherlands earlier in the year we postponed the Paris holiday until September.
One of the first things we needed to do was to arrange for a passport. Travelling from the UK to other European countries still requires that each person must have their own passport. Fairly recently this has been changed that even babies need their own passport (with photo) and can no longer be included on a parents passport. Shortly after we had got the birth certificate we applied for a passport. The first challenge was getting the photos in-line with the stringent requirements that the passport office lay down. Full details can be found at: The passport office website. This includes that the photos are of the correct dimensions, with the babies head having to occupy a certain amount of space, with no part of anyone else's body in the image. This would be very difficult to achieve in a standard photo booth (although I believe others do go down that route), but we did manage to get a suitable photo using a digital camera. Considering that she will look completely different in 5 years time when the passport comes up for renewal I think that they are a bit too stringent.
Another consideration is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is a replacement for the old E111 forms. Unlike the old forms where you could apply and get it stamped on the same day, the new card takes between 7 and 10 days (maybe longer to factor in the postal service), depending upon the method you use to apply. The best way is to apply on the Internet see: Department of Health - Health Advice for Travellers. This needs the babies NHS number for the individual ID.
We had decided that we would stay at a caravan site and travel by car. One reason was to keep costs low (having spent lots of money on equipping the nursery we didn't really have much available to spend on the holiday), but also travelling by car made it easier to carry all the extra equipment needed for the baby. In the event we booked with Keycamp (more details about the site in a subsequent entry).
We made a few purchases specifically for the holiday. This included a travel bath (about £10), which was very useful. Whilst we already had a travel system we planned to use public transport within Paris so we purchased a push chair (stroller). It's something we would have purchased eventually anyway, but we specifically looked for one that was suitable from birth. Push Chairs suitable from birth are few and far between but the one we chose in the end was a
Bruin Alpine Stroller. It was about £70 which was a little more than we would have spent had we not required it from birth, but not a lot more than a reasonable quality push chair. When in the push chair our baby was still quite loose, and was better if some padding was applied, but the way that the back went down to an almost flat position meant that our baby could actually sleep in the pushchair.
We also bought a pop-up travel cot which was useful, and we'd already bought an inflatable bath.
Our baby had fairly recently started having formula milk. Rather than take the powder and make up the formula we went for the convenience of ready made feeds during the holiday. We were using Aptimal from Milupa, and they produced milk in 200ml cartons, which was just about the right size for a feed. We already had a microwave steriliser, and as the caravan included a microwave it meant that we didn't need to get another steriliser.
- Part 1: Travelling with a Baby: Before the holiday
- Part 2: Travelling with a Baby: Travelling by Car and staying in a Caravan
- Part 3: Travelling with a Baby: Travelling around paris by RER, the Metro and Push chair
- Part 4: Travelling with a Baby: Disneyland Paris