Summer holidays abroad – yaaaaay !!!
We have a baby so no Summer Holidays abroad for us this time….
I am aware that many people have a different view on this topic and I respect it but personally, I am totally pro-travelling with a baby. It is possible, it is ok to do so and it is a lot of fun! What more, it’s been proven that a baby actually benefits from travelling because it becomes more open and happy – we’ve literally seen that happening to our Little Man.
One Condition – WISE TRAVELLING.
This year we will be spending our holidays locally, at a lake, in the countryside, near Karkonosze Mountains but last year we visited the Greek Island of Rhodes with 8-months old Little Man and it was a perfect decision! Well, as first time parents we of course had a lot of doubts regarding travelling with an infant so we first discussed the topic with whoever we could in this world to make sure we wouldn’t do any harm to our tiny Tip-Toe. We consulted the idea with Little Man’s pediatrician, with our favourite travel agency and finally some more experienced friends of ours. The conclusion was – GO!.
(Read more here: Holidays With a Baby – To Go or Not To Go)
This time I’d like to share with you a few tips collected from all the above mentioned plus my own experience as to HOW TO PICK A DESTINATION if you have already made the decision to travel with your baby in the first place of course. These tips are not written in any specific order of importance because all of them should probably be equally important.
- KEEP THE JOURNEY AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE
Rather choose shorter flights if possible, up to a max. of 3-4 hours. Remember you also have to wait at the airport once you’ve checked in. All this, together with climate changes, air-conditioning, pressure changes etc. can be very tiring for your baby so just try to keep it short. I’m not talking about intercontinental long flights to visit family or relocation and so on. Of course a baby will make it. We’re talking about holidays and making them nice to everyone…every single one (: And this also relates to travelling by car.
TIP: When choosing a destination, remember the journey also includes bus transfer from the airport to your hotel. Transfer times range from 15 minutes (our transfer was this long in Rhodes) to 6 hours or more (Croatia for example, which also includes ferry transfer and then bus again…).
- RATHER FLY THAN TRAVEL BY CAR, AVOID BUS!
Most buses don’t allow infants anyway. It’s not that their being mean (agencies not buses (; ), it’s for safety reasons. Buses are simply not suitable for infants. Again, we’re talking about long distances where a bus or car trip would take more than lets say 10 hours. If you still decide to travel by car with a baby though, make stops as often as possible, preferably book a hotel / motel or two on your way and make sure someone is seated at the back with your baby to keep checking up on it.
Out of all these, flying is actually the best option.
More about flying with a baby here: Baby On Board
- STAY AWAY FROM PLACES THAT COULD POTENTIALLY CUASE SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUES
Egypt and Tunisia out of the most popular destinations from Poland (cheap and relatively close) aren’t safe for an infant – there’s a different bacterial flora in these places compared to European countries thus many tourist suffer from severe (!) diarrhoea for a few days. You shouldn’t drink tap water and anything that had contact with tap water should be avoided – ice in drinks (avoid), washed fruit (skin should always be peeled off) etc. In Egypt there’s even a name for this and it’s “Pharao’s Curse” .Whatever the name, as long as adults are usually able to cope with it, in the worst case spending a few days in the hotel room, stuck to the toilet, crying over spilt milk (however I do know a few cases when hospitalization was needed), just imagine what this could do to your baby. Of course there are people who take their newborns away for holiday to Egypt and they come back all fine and healthy but this surely is not recommended and for me – not worth risking. This type of diarrhoea could even kill your baby, it causes really quick dehydration. Furthermore, try avoiding typical tropical heats or heats with not even a spell of wind, this causes breathing and heart problems to an adult, not to mention an infant. Common sense is always the answer.
- MAKE SURE UMBRELLAS AND SHADED SPOTS ARE AVAILABLE AROUND THE HOTEL AND BEACH
Infants’, and especially newborns’ bodies don’t have the ability of temperature control so it’s better to keep them in the shade throughout the day.
- IF YOU PLAN ANY SIGHTSEEING, CHOOSE A PLACE THAT OFFERS CAR RENTAL SO YOU CAN TRAVEL BY CAR AT YOUR OWN PACE
Well, that’s just an extra condition but worth giving a thought because, no offence, a whole group of tourists might not really want to wait for you to change your baby’s nappy or feed until its happy…
- CHOOSE A SAFE PLACE OF COURSE
Not even relating to the last events in Tunisia as it’s always been known that visiting a Muslim country might carry some risks along (again, no disrespect or offence).
- MAKE SURE THE HOTEL YOU ARE PLANNING TO GO TO HAS CHILDREN AMENITIES (high chairs, lifts, cots )
It depends on the age of the infant but it’s always good to have these around. Also, make sure the hotel prepares a cot before you reach the hotel, just ask the travel agency to send such a request to the hotel.
- CHOOSE A HOTEL THAT IS NOT FAR FROM THE BEACH (unless you only plan to stay inside the hotel or near the swimming pool area)
Be careful with this because many hotels in Greece for example are placed a few kilometres away from the beach. If you also need to return to the hotel for meals this is a massive disadvantage when travelling with an infant. I would say impossible to overcome because those few kilometres usually lead along a road without any shade on the way, in full heat and without any pavements unless you’re lucky, very lucky. Furthermore, it’s good to stay near the hotel wherever you go because you never know what else you might need from your room or your baby might simply not want to stay outside for some reason.
- THINK BROADLY OF THE PLACE YOU WANT TO GO TO
Are there any pavements and walking paths around (pram/stroller), what is their condition? any taxi services?, shops and restaurants in short walking distance? how far is the nearest hospital? Any culture difference issues – breastfeeding might be an issue, it might offend someone, you might need to cover yourself up etc.
- TRY TO PICK A PLACE THAT IS TYPICALLY DEDICATED TO FAMILIES WITH SMALL CHILDREN – Ibiza is rather a no no (;
You’ll avoid the “I kill you” look when your baby starts crying and you won’t need to watch all those drunk people around nor listen to them until early morning. No offence again because holidays are meant to be fun and everyone understands that in their own way but when you have a baby, you need to think about avoiding such „attractions” as well as crowds or any other potential baby- stress factors.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Rather avoid using baby-sitting services unless you are 100% sure everything is fine. On the other hand we’re talking about infants here so this shouldn’t really refer to you as you shouldn’t be leaving your baby in a new place on its own with a stranger anyway. Moreover, do not ever leave your baby fast asleep alone in the hotel room! I know, some of you will think “No shit Sherlock” but as with leaving babies in a boiling hot car – sadly these things really keep happening.
- This space is for your advice that I’ll be waiting for in the comments below. Feel free and welcome to share any tips you might have, please (:
Most of all, remember, you’re the baby’s parent and you know what’s best for it. Follow your common sense and instincts and if those say, choose a different place, do this or do that, or don’t go anywhere then that’s fine too. All in all a happy parent is a happy baby so even if you choose to spend your holiday at home, as long as you’re happy with it – just do so and enjoy (: