As founder and director of kodomo.com, a website specialising in hand-picked luxury family holidays, Cass Chapman is a true globetrotter.
Having been around the world as a food and luxury travel journalist, she now focuses on family travel since having had her daughter Lola. Cass shares her favourite #LiveWellTravelWell tips with us, including how to quickly make the little ones feel at home when in a new place.
See more of Cass’ photos on her Instagram: @kodomoluxtravel
1. Take time to pack
Before I leave, I allocate a lot more time than I used to for packing. It’s not that I pack heavy but I find that if I do things in a rush I always forget things. And it’s usually the important things that get forgotten. Unless we’re off as a family to the middle of nowhere I forget bringing wet wipes, nappies (etc) for my daughter Lola because they can be bought locally. They are something familiar for her, which always helps when abroad. She gets to choose a few things to bring with her: a teddy or a doll, her favourite blanket, a puzzle she is really into at the time. Essentially things that bring our home to where we are going, which always helps to settle in. Also make sure you provide non-iPad entertainment on the flight!
2. Plan ahead
When Lola was little I used to call the Boots in whatever airport terminal we were flying from and pre-order her formula. It meant I didn’t have the hassle of lugging it about or trying to get liquids through airport security and I also didn’t have to worry about running out or not being able to buy the right kind once in the main terminal. There is a great website called Purple Parking which has a section of information of all UK terminals detailing family-friendly facilities in each such as play areas which is very, very handy too.
3. Don’t forget familiar items
For the plane journey, especially if we’re looking at something long haul, I fly armed with sticker books and crayons and colouring books which, with my girl at least, can buy me a good three to four hours. Getting Lola into familiar pyjamas, brushing her teeth and so on for a night flight is very reassuring for her and also helps with getting her into sleep mode.
4. Check what is available at the other end
Before flying somewhere I think it’s really important to call ahead to the hotel and ask a lot of questions about what exactly they have that you might need. It’s worth pre-booking it as well as these things can get used and not all hotels and villas have as much of what you need as you may think. Be it bottle sterilisers or warmers, changing mats or high chairs, foldaway beds or cribs, ask as many questions as you need to in the build up to the trip to ensure you can fly light. Lola always settled better as a baby with a sleeping bag or blanket that was familiar and smelled of home but most parents do that anyway I think. You don’t need to travel with loads of other stuff on top of that if possible.
5. Make your holiday accommodation homely
Lola is now four and very much a home-maker, as girls often are. When we travel and arrive at a new villa or hotel room, I always spend time with her “exploring” her new space, “unpacking” her toys and clothes and allowing her to nest. She will immediately start to “decorate” the space where she will sleep with her dolls, or whatever else she has brought with her, and I totally encourage her as I think it makes her settle in far quicker. We always immediately find a good local shop, restaurant (and bar for us!) so we can make the space a home of our own as fast as possible. It makes us relax and, if we are relaxed, Lola is too.
For more information on Cass and her work, head over to kodomo.com.