Going away for the holidays with your baby? Masilo Founder and mama who travels extensively with her tot in tow, Eisha Maskara Sheth, shares some of her learnings for new parents planning their first trips with baby. This list also includes her recommendations for baby travel gear.
Luckily, my little one is used to checking in and out of hotels and has adjusted to his adventure seeking parents quite well! Having just returned from our 9th trip together in 15 months, we've learning a few things along the way that I'm sharing here...
SLOW IT DOWN
Traveling with a baby means that simple things you would normally do on holiday like visit a museum or shopping can take three times longer to get done than without. Even just getting of out the hotel room can be a mission with dressing your baby, packing their bag for the day and last minute diapering delays. So always keep more time in hand. Out of the 3 or 4 things you may have planned to do in a day if you manage only 1 or 2 – that's ok! Do things at their pace, not yours.
DESTINATION HOPPING? ERM...
We started our baby travels on a California road trip, pit-stopping at new towns and switching hotels every two nights. That was crazy. We quickly realised that we could no longer plan action packed trips the way we used to, before having a baby. So now we do atleast four nights at every destination, allowing time for our baby to adjust to every new environment. And that's made our trips so much smoother!
APARTMENTS OVER HOTELS
When possible, try staying in apartments with kitchenettes and washer/dryers instead of hotel rooms. This way you can stock up at your local supermarket and prepare fresh, simple meals or snacks for your baby when they're fussing over restaurant food. And no matter how many extra clothes you pack in, there's a good chance of needing to do a round (or two) of laundry anyway. Your mini will find ways to be messier than usual on holiday! So having easy laundry access is a huge help. Plus the extra space apartments offer is always a bonus, especially when your baby decides to wake up in the middle of the night and wants to play! Atleast one parent can accompany them farthest away from the other who may just have a chance to get some zzz's in.
TAKE THE DAY FLIGHT
If you're thinking taking the night flight or a nighttime layover will be easier because your baby will sleep through it, think again! You may end up on a plane or airport with a baby who's overstimulated by their new surroundings and won't sleep at all. This means you won't get any sleep either. And it's definitely tougher for sleep deprived parents to keep it together around hyper tots in the middle of the night!
DO THINGS YOU LIKE
So far we've found planning the day around what we like instead of what our tot might like has worked out better. It never stops to amaze me how our son can engage himself in the most mundane surroundings (like playing with a stick in the mud or gravel in a pathway) but fall dead asleep when we hit an interactive art exhibit that I thought he would absolutely love! Soon enough, I know he'll have stronger opinions about what he wants to do on holiday, but so far he seems happy to tag along for the ride!
CHECK OUT MY BABY TRAVEL MUST-HAVES BELOW: