Travelling with children to Spain or Ireland involves a lot of preparation and organization! Aside from having to pack for all eventualities and weather possibilities and spare spares, it is the thought of the actual journey that is often quite daunting for parents. How do you get through the airport with all the paraphernalia a baby and/or a small child needs, never mind your own bags! Prams, car seats, nappy bags… at the very minimum!
In our experience, most parents prefer to have a pram to get through the airports, a good idea given there is often a very long walk to departure gates, and from plane to arrivals. Slings are a great idea for small babies as they leave your hands free.
Airports, Airplanes and Buggies!
If you do bring a buggy, make sure to bring it all the way to the gate, fully collapse it and have it tagged. It's not a great idea to check it in unless it's well packed as it's more likely to get damaged on the baggage belts. If you can pack or protect your buggy in a travel bag, even better! Also, it's worth checking with your airline if you bring your pram to the gate, where can you collect it when you land. Don't assume it's the aircraft steps, as it depends on factors such as your destination airport, airbridges and shuttle buses. Aer Lingus at Dublin airport will bring your pram to the baggage hall, Ryanair will leave it at the steps.
On arrival, occasionally luggage or baby equipment can be mishandled by an airline… i.e it doesn’t arrive. It’s important to report this in the baggage hall, before you go out to arrivals. It is more difficult to make a claim for damage or lost luggage if you leave the baggage hall.
If your child seat is mishandled
, the airline should provide a replacement for you. In all European countries, a child under the age of twelve, or under a set height (up to 150cms in Ireland), must travel in a car seat appropriate to their weight and height by law, in all private vehicles. You cannot legally leave the airport by car without a baby seat, unless it's public transport.
Consider buying or renting a travel buggy
instead of using your everyday pram. They tend to be lightweight, compact and collapse in one go and some will fit in the cabin overhead storage. Buggies that collapse in two or more pieces are not great for travel. For more information on types of travel buggies, have a look at this blog post
. We don't recommend umbrella strollers, (except MacLaren's). We see so many dumped in baggage halls and around airport car parks. They are so lightweight, they are actually difficult to manoeuvre and they feel like they will snap in half at every curb.
Traveling by Taxi
So, you've made it to the destination airport, now you've got to get to your destination! It is a good idea to have this organised before you travel, so you know if you need to bring your car seat or not.
If you are traveling by taxi, unless you’ve specifically requested and organized it, they do not provide child seats. You can either bring your own child seat with you, or hire from a baby equipment rental company, of which there are several in Spain and Ireland. Renting or hiring your child or baby equipment on arrival saves you from the hassle of struggling with bulky equipment through at least two airports! Most will deliver to your hotel or meet you at the airport, and some will install the car seat for you!
Child Seats and Car Rental Companies
If you are hiring a car, be careful when it comes to booking child seats with the car rental companies. In Spain and Ireland, many staff use the term ‘baby seat’ in a generic way. So, if you ask for a baby seat (for an infant) they may think you are referring to a child seat in general. Be very specific. Also, be careful as the child seats in some car rental companies are not cleaned properly or looked after. Car rental companies that have a focus on customer care will often outsource child seats to a supplier, to ensure clean child seats in all sizes are available for their customers. Car rental staff are not trained or insured to install a baby seat for you.
Baby Equipment Rental Companies
A baby equipment rental company situated at or near an airport, will save you a lot of stress when traveling with your child / children to Ireland or Spain! A very good example is *The Stork Exchange (TSE Rentals). The company partners with RecordGo car rentals in Spain, and Sixt and Enterpise in Ireland. They also have a direct business at Dublin Airport
and Palma de Mallorca
, so you can book a variety of equipment.
They meet you at the most convenient location for you; in arrivals or at the car park to install your car seat. On return you can either leave everything in the car, or TSE staff will collect everything from you, so you don't have to carry anything!
*I know all this, as, full disclosure, I've worked in airports with airlines and car rental companies with TSE for more ten years! Over that time we've seen and learned a lot and we like to try and share our experience and knowledge with our customers... every little helps!