If you’re a new parent, travelling with children seems hard, but it’s all about the mindset. The younger kids are, the more mobile they are and the easier it is to plan the perfect family holiday. And here’s the biggest secret of all – holidays with babies are the best for parents because teeny tots are too young to have any say – so a family holiday doesn’t actually need to be all about the family – it can just centre around you! Here are the reasons why you should start blocking out your calendar now and travelling with baby instead of waiting until the kids get older.
· It’s easier for you (and bubba) if you start younger. Once you’ve done the first trip, packing and moving your family won’t seem so daunting and the earlier you get children used to long air and overland travel and sleeping in unfamiliar beds, the less unsettling it is for them. [For travel tips on getting babies to sleep in foreign environments, see the suitcases&strollers interview with Tizzie Hall here.]
· It’s cheap. Babies don’t add much cost to your travel budget. No airline seat, no restaurant costs, no extra bedding charges. Plus airlines actually give additional baggage allowance on the plane for all those baby accessories like portacots and strollers. Once your child turns two you will be paying for them to come on holidays with you as if they are an adult. [For more travel tips about travelling on a budget, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
· The logisitics are easier. If your baby needs to sleep, just make sure you have the stroller with you and you can stay out all day. In the evenings, infants can sleep in a portacot anywhere in your hotel room – they don’t need a separate bed or room. Once babies become toddlers you will find yourself returning to the (carefully selected) hotel multiple times a day when you are on holidays just for proper nap times. (Not to mention the hundred of toilet stops at the most inopportune times.)
· You still have time to do the things you want. If you’ve never travelled with a child, it might seem like a big change to take a baby on holidays with you, but wait until they are older and have their own opinions. That’s when you will really have to compromise! Infants can be strollered around while you shop, dine out and browse the museums to your heart’s content, so it’s a good time to keep ticking those travel boxes while you can. (We even know one family who took their little one on a yoga retreat!)
· It’s a great way to meet new people. Babies are a fantastic ice-breaker, no matter the culture or the language barrier. People will want to stop and interact and, in the process, open up themselves to you. Older kids will certainly be a point of introduction in other ways, but nothing quite encourages a person to spend some time with a stranger like a tiny tot.
· People will help you. Because babies are such a magnet, complete strangers are also far more willing to hold doors open, have a cuddle and generally help out to give you those much-needed breaks to just get it together. When it’s your first child, you presume this is a life-time privilege. Enjoy it while it lasts, because it’s not!
· It’s a fun way to expose your bubba to new sights, sounds and experiences. Some might argue that you should save your travel for when you’re children are old enough to remember, but from an extremely young age kids are absorbing information all the time. They might not specifically remember the time you took them to India, for example, but exposing them to people of different coloursand cultures early will mean that they have a bigger base of experience about the world.
· Travel photos make the best family portraits. A new baby is always a very special time. Family getaways – even to a local beachside area – make for a precious “push present” to celebrate the new arrival and your new family. [For tips on how to take the best travel photos from a professional photographer, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
· Holiday time is happy time. Vacations allow you, your partner and your baby to spend prolonged family time together outside the normal routine that you don’t normally get to do at home. And if you’re relaxing and enjoying yourself, baby bonding can only be more special too.
For more travel tips on travel-friendly toys for infants, see the suitcases&strollers story here.
Image: Innika Choo