Most people love to travel. In fact, it’s getting more and more popular. Everyone wants to “see the world” before they settle down. If you’re one of the travel addicts, you certainly wouldn’t want to give it up just because you had a baby. The good news is: you don’t have to!
In case you always wanted to travel but didn’t get a chance before you started a family, don’t worry, you can still catch up with all the other fellow travelers, you just need to bring a baby with you.
Even if you’re not the traveling type and you only want to lay at the beach for two weeks a year, there’s quite a few things that will change for you too once you’ve had a baby.
Be prepared! For almost everything.
I have to admit, I used to be very lazy when packing for holiday. I always waved my hand over it and said that everything can be bought in my destination in case I really need it. Few hours of traveling time? I can survive without it. As long as I have my passport, bank card and boarding pass, right?
But than I had a baby, soon after I had another one than another one. And surprisingly, only in last few months I’ve realized how nicer it is to just reach into my suitcase if I need something than going to the shop to try to get it. Good preparation is a key! Pack everything you can. Here is my checklist:
- Thermometer and all sort of common medicines – especially pain and fever remedies. You don’t want to look for a pharmacy in the middle of the night when your baby gets a temperature (don’t worry, you won’t actually need it on most of your holidays, but it’s better to be safe than sorry)
- Twice as many nappies and clothes as you usually bring with you in a changing bag
- Food and water for entire day of travel, and also some snacks
- Babies favourite bottle or sippy cup, bib, bowl and spoon – it will make him feel more comfortable in a new environment and you can avoid some fuzz at mealtimes.
How soon can I go on holiday with the new baby?
It’s easy. As soon as you feel up for it. If both your baby and you are well, go ahead. Of course, your baby’s passport needs to be issued before you can go abroad. When you have this one sorted, you can go. Some mums even book their flight before baby is born. Flying companies usually have no problem with it. You can put your due date or current date in a form when making a reservation as you need to fill out something so the system allows you to finish booking. After your baby is born, just ring the airline and explain why you’re making a slight change to your booking details. I’m sure they’ll understand. If you want to be 100% sure there will be no issue or extra fees later on, you can ring them before you buy your ticket. It’s worth it if you don’t want to miss a great deal.
What does baby need?
Mum. That is all baby really needs to feel safe and to be happy. Now when your baby has arrived you realize how long does it take to get out of the house with the baby and how many things does this little person need. But later on you will realize how easy it was to travel with a little baby in comparison to traveling with toddler.
To make things go smoothly, consider taking your baby in a baby carrier or sling so you can be as close as possible. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s even easier as you don’t need to pack baby food (at least for the first few months). Formula fed babies do need their milk. You can buy ready-milk bottles for the day of travel or simply bring formula powder with you and some water to mix with it later. If you’re flying, feed your baby during takeoff and landing to ease off any pain in their ears. Most babies take it really well. Better than we expect. Even if they are little bit cranky, all you can do is be there for them. Try to relax as babies tend to pick up on parents mood. The flight or the car ride will be over before you know it and you will be enjoying your destination.
Is it difficult to travel with toddler?
It is more difficult than traveling with baby but with a good preparation up front, it’s completely doable. Bring as many toys and distractions as you can. If your toddler is big enough to understand treats as praise, bring some too to reward good behaviour. Just make sure treats are small or at least not packed with sugar. You don’t want to deal with a little duracell bunny on the plane.
My 100% guaranteed tip that will always work is to bring something new. Hide some of your son’s favourite cars few weeks in advance and give them back to him during your trip. Buy or print off new coloring sheets and give your kids new set of crayons (yes, I know you have 20 sets of crayons at home already, but for the traveling distraction purposes, they’re considered to be “old”). Almost anything NEW works. I used to let kids choose one of the magazines at the airport shop, the one with a little toy inside. They were so excited to have it and that they could choose anyone they wanted that they were playing half of the flight with it.
Also bring some healthy snacks, finger foods or a pack of dry cereals, something that they like eating and is taking them loooong time to eat.
Other great distractions are small magnetic boards, books and – if nothing else works – phone or tablet.
Summer or Winter breaks?
It doesn’t really matter what time of year you go. If you’re going somewhere with different climate than the one at home, it’s a bit more challenging for packing. It’s not always easy to predict how you’re going to feel about the weather there or better to say, how your baby will feel about it. Also humidity can affect how you feel, it can be 20 degrees at the seaside but you might feel like if it was only 15 degrees so you will need an extra layer of clothes. On the other hand, in a midland, 20 degrees might feel more like almost 30 with no wind and dry air.
Winter is easier in this perspective. You know that you’ll need warm clothes, winter boots, mittens and a hat – the one with strings is the best to keep little baby’s ears warm. It’ll be easier to get out and about if your pram or buggy has big wheels and of course, it has to have a warm footmuff.
What is the best way of transport?
Usually, but not always the one that will take less time. Take into account the comfort of travel too as well as baggage allowances. I’ve tried flying, train rides and car rides. All of those involve different preparation steps and each one has advantages and disadvantages. You can take nearly anything with you when you go by car. You get there the quickest by plane and you have a lot of space and good catering in trains. Some babies get travel sick in a car but are ok in the train. Flying is quick but you need to go through all the security controls that might be a big disadvantage if it’s a short distance flight.
Can holiday with baby be really called “a holiday”?
Well, you’re taking your baby with you so you still need to take care of her 24/7. If it’s a summer holiday, you might be even more stressed than usual as you don’t want your baby to get sunburned or overheated. Some babies are more unsettled as their routine is broken.
But still, there are some things to look forward to:
- beautiful environment, nature, fresh air, nice different architecture or whatever it is over there where you decide to go,
- your partner, family or friends who are going with you will be there and maybe offer a helping hand,
- room service and hotel restaurant will give you nice break from everyday house chores so you can focus more on time with your family,
- plenty of great photos (or just photos) from your baby’s first (second, third…) holiday that you’ll love to look at for the rest of your life.
Prepare for returning home before you leave!
Wherever you go, it will always feel good to come back home. To make this feeling even better, there’s one thing that you can do and that will emphasize your great feeling called “home, sweet home” when you return: Tidy up before you leave. Don’t worry, it will get messy the minute you walk back in, but to see your lovely home all neat and tidy and to imagine that it has been this way the entire 2 weeks when you were gone is priceless 🙂