I don’t have kids, but luckily, I know someone who does. My friend Jess has a daughter named Audrey, an adorable 22 month old. So when I had some questions about traveling with a baby, I knew exactly who to ask.
At what age did you feel comfortable taking Audrey on vacation?
We felt comfortable taking Audrey on vacation a few weeks shy of her first birthday because she had received the bulk of her vaccinations and was eating “regular” food like us so we wouldn’t have to worry about purees or special baby food, other than her formula.
Did traveling with a baby affect where you decided to travel?
Traveling with a baby definitely affected where we decided to travel. I couldn’t imagine doing a 10 plus hour flight to Europe or something. Even being on a flight as short as ours was, people were getting annoyed when she would fuss a little bit and it’s hard keeping an infant entertained and happy for an extended period of time. We figured if the duration of the flight was about the same amount of time as her nap, that would work out perfectly, and it did.
Did traveling with Audrey play a part in the type of resort you chose?
We definitely wanted to stay at a family friendly resort. It helps when the resort’s amenities are geared towards babies and/or kids. It also helps when other families are at the resorts especially if your baby decides to stop cooperating and becomes fussy etc., people traveling with babies/young kids seem to be more understanding than those who aren’t.
When I’m looking at hotels, as long as the room looks clean, I book it. Do any other factors come into play when traveling with a baby?
Something we didn’t consider before booking the resort was being able to plug in any devices we might need for Audrey, like the bottle warmer we used to sterilize her bottle nipples. The outlets were different than our standard north American outlets but thankfully there was one “standard” outlet in the room that worked. I never thought about this before we left but definitely something to consider if we need to use a similar device in the future.
Did you guys consider flights times when booking your trip?
This was a definite factor we took into consideration. I didn’t want one of those flights that left at 6 am requiring you to be at the airport at 3 am. We left early in the afternoon which was perfect because it coincided with Audrey’s nap time and she slept 90% of the flight, making our neighbouring passengers happy.
I’ve been on planes where a baby has cried for a good chunk of the flight. Their parents are visibly stressed. Did you and Derek come up with a game plan to deal with any possible meltdowns ahead of time?
We didn’t really think too much about it because Audrey (thankfully) has never been a baby who cried a lot. We had her soother at the ready and a bottle on hand in case she got fussy. She wasn’t fully walking yet but was mobile so she was at an awkward age where she didn’t want to be held for an extended amount of time. Our seats (mine, Derek’s and the rest of my family’s) thankfully were all in the same row so if she got fussy we all could take turns passing her around and keeping her entertained. Next trip with her, the iPad and colouring books will be a must.
I have a hard enough packing myself for a vacation. Did you find it difficult to pack for Audrey’s first vacation?
We packed way too much stuff for Audrey, she had her own suitcase lol. I figured it was better to err on the side of caution, especially for a baby, and pack more instead of less. You just never know when your baby’s gonna have a blowout lol. I packed about two outfits for her per day. I would dress her each morning and then have a back up outfit for each day in case she peed/pooped/spit up on her clothes. Then I packed a few dresses for dinners and of course, a few different bathing suits and hats. Not to mention all the diapers and wipes for an entire week. Next time, I definitely wouldn’t bring the excessive amount of clothes because she spent so much time in a bathing suit but, obviously the diapers (regular and swimmers), wipes and formula were a must and took up quite a bit of room.
Any food and drink precautions you took when vacationing to a new destination with Audrey?
The buffet had pasta every night so we knew she wouldn’t go hungry and it was “safe” to give her. She also had things like eggs and toast for breakfast and there were plenty of fresh fruit for her to snack on. We also brought a few snacks from home that we knew she would like and kept them in our diaper bag if we needed a quick snack for her and the restaurants were closed/busy. The thing we were most worried about was her formula but there were no travel restrictions we had to worry about so we felt much better knowing that and after discovering the travel bottle warmer.
Anything you’d do differently that first family vacation?
The only thing I can think of right off the bat would be to bring a different kind of formula that would work better for traveling (pre-measured packs). Other than that, I think we picked a great resort that was super accommodating and perfect for families, especially those with babies.
Any other advice you can offer parents planning to travel with their baby for the first time?
The most important thing to remember is to not get too stressed out and enjoy yourself! Maybe another tidbit would be to bring a good sun cover for your stroller (if you’re traveling with a stroller). We didn’t have one for ours and everyday Audrey would have a nap by the pool or the beach and we didn’t have anything to cover the stroller with except a towel which didn’t usually work very well.