If, like me, you’re a bit of travel addict and spent your younger years living abroad or backpacking extensively, you may have feared that having a baby would end all that.
Possibly you’ve thought you may as well throw away the long list of travel destinations you’d still like to explore. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way!
Travel with your baby in tow will be different and you may look like a pack-horse doing it, but you’ll find it’s just as rewarding.
At six months, our little Lottie has already taken four flights, travelled 1000s of kms on road trips, spent numerous weekends away and experienced an amazing amount of beach days.
Travelling with your little one definitely takes more preparation, but the pay-offs are great adventures, incredible memories and a photo-album your child can look back on in later life.
Here are my tips for travelling with a baby:
I’ve always despised packing, and I’ve found it even tougher with a baby. Gone are the days where I could leave packing until the last second. I’ve been known to pack for trips to Europe or South East Asia the night before, with a method that involved running around the house throwing various things into my suitcase or backpack.
Travelling with a baby is totally different. You actually need to be prepared. You can’t guarantee that your travel destination will have the things your baby needs, so the following packing lists are key to ensuring a great trip.
Arrive at the airport early. There’s nothing worse than the stress of missing a flight. Make sure, if you’re traveling internationally, that your baby has a passport and the appropriate visa (if necessary).
We like to book valet parking at the airport. Yes, it costs a little more but it makes arriving and leaving the airport so much easier – especially when you land totally exhausted after a long flight. If this isn’t an option, you could try to organise a lift with family or a friend.
Feed during take-off and landing:
Plan to feed your baby during take-off and landing. That’s when they will experience the most ear pressure and swallowing can relieve some of that. I’ve breastfed and bottle-fed at these times with great success. I’ve also found using a soother during the flight helps with any ear issues.
KEEP BABY ENTERTAINED
If your baby won’t sleep, you can keep them entertained with toys and teethers during the flight. Remember, you don’t have to stay stuck to your seat. You can walk around the plane to ease restlessness.
UNPACK AND SET UP YOUR HOTEL ROOM ON ARRIVAL
Cot and change area:
Ring ahead and organise a baby-safe cot with your hotel. Next to the cot, set up a small change area with everything you’ll need for a quick change post-poo explosion. Nappies, wipes, nappy rash cream – the lot.
Baby-safe play area:
If the room is big enough, cordon off an area of the hotel room that can act as a play area.
Your baby needs to nap, but it doesn’t always need to happen in your hotel room. Take advantage of scenic drives to let the little one snooze away. Or fully recline the pram and take a long walk – walking is such a great way to explore a destination and it’s also a brilliant way to meet some locals. If your little one loves to be carried, a baby carrier can also be a great solution to ensure they get some much-needed rest.
Nap times can also be a great opportunity to enjoy some quality one-on-one time with the hubby. We like to enjoy the odd glass of wine, so whilst the little one is sleeping we occasionally find a small local bar and enjoy a glass at sunset.
We love to dine out, but since having a baby we prefer to enjoy breakfast or lunch somewhere nice rather than dinner. Of an evening, we prefer to stick to a routine of putting our little one to bed early. We always research local places to dine on trip advisor or check out Instagram images of places pre-booking anywhere. Or ask at your hotel – they’ll always have some excellent recommendations.
On our most recent holiday, we found this amazing little take-away seafood restaurant and it was so good we went back a few times.
The MAM self-sterilising bottle came in really handy whilst travelling as all that was needed to sterilise it was a microwave. A lot of restaurants and cafes were extremely happy to let us use their microwave to do this, so we faced no problems there. A really convenient bottle for travelling with a baby!
IMPROVISE WITH BABY-CHANGE ROOMS
When travelling with a baby, you’re not always going to have easy access to a change room. It helps to improvise. Recently our little one did a major poonami mid-rainforest hike. We stopped and I set up a make-shift change area. Yes passers-by had to look at her dirty bum, but everyone was still super friendly. One bunch of older ladies even stopped and commented on what a good Mum I was, which really made me smile.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SIGN UP FOR TOURS
Travel offers new sights, sounds, flavours and experiences for your baby to enjoy. You’ll be amazed at just how much your child will take on board. At six months, we took Lottie to the Wild Life Habitat in Port Douglas, Australia and were totally surprised at how much she seemed to enjoy it. Her little head started turning around attempting to watch the birds, and she seemed really intrigued by the kangaroos you could hand-feed.
We also joined a crocodile boat tour with other passengers and everyone made us feel more than welcome – even when the little one became a little grizzly.
FEED YOUR BABY ANYWHERE YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE
You can feed your baby anywhere you feel comfortable, and if breastfeeding – anywhere you are legally allowed to. Note that sadly in a few countries breastfeeding in public is considered offensive and you may find yourself in trouble with the law – so check beforehand to avoid unpleasant attention.
START PLANNING YOUR NEXT TRIP! BON VOYAGE!