Schools are nearly out – well they already are here in Spain and preparations are underway for the annual family holiday. Suitcases are coming down from the loft and being packed and un-packed a number of times. For families – or rather mothers, travelling with young children it really is an arduous task. What to take, what to leave – in fact, most of the luggage allowance is generally taken up by the smallest member of the family!
Hiring a car at El Altet airport
Those hiring cars are often left unsure whether to take their own child seat or hire one with the rental company – from looking into this I would definitely say take your own! I looked into the cost of the charges from Alicante airport for this week and rates vary considerably – with a daily average of 6€ per day, adding an extra 42€ plus IVA onto the car hire rental cost! A report on BBC breakfast television a few weeks ago filmed the reporter at Malaga hiring a child seat – she was lead into a room and told to take her pick from a mountain on the floor! A number of car hire companies have a disclaimer on their sites such as "You will be required to fit the baby/child seat yourself". This is all good and well if you are familiar with it, but if you pick up an unrecognized make and model then potentially taking a big risk in my opinion.
Airlines more family friendly
I looked at the most popular airlines that fly to El Altet Alicante airport and their policies on taking car seats onboard. Listen up – all the ones I checked allow you to take them on for FREE in addition to your luggage allowance! On the EasyJet website they have the following statement "If you do not plan to use the car seat/booster seat inflight, please drop it at the bag drop desk. We carry booster seats, car seats, buggies, puchchairs and travel cots for free. They do not form part of your luggage allowance and you can bring up to two of these items per child".
Surprisingly even Ryanair, once the scourge of the low cost carriers with passengers have become "family friendly" in its bid to win over customers and do away with the villain image it once had. They even give 5kg of cabin luggage allowance for infants in addition to 2 free pieces of infant equipment. I am sure that your child will feel far more comfortable in a seat that they are familiar with rather than some strange one!
Don´t forget your EHIC
Monarch are generous with their infant allowance, giving you 10kg in addition to a pushchair and car seat, so thumbs up to them. It is stressful enough with trying to work out what to leave out of your luggage – remember that you can buy many things here such as nappies and toiletries which weigh a lot. Don´t forget your EHIC cards – even your child will need their own one incase you need to see a doctor and obviously do not even think of coming without travel insurance. Your EHIC will be fine for emergency medical treatment but if, heavens forbid you need to be flown back then its down to you – and we are talking thousands, so do not take the risk for saving a few pounds!
If you are visiting grandparents or are going out with friends in their car, you are obliged by law to have children in car seats - and remember under 12´s are NOT allowed in the front seat. Taxi´s are exempt from the child car seat regulations here as they are public service vehicles.