Why travelling with babies is awesome
Travelling with a baby? Those few words are sure to fill many new parent with a sense of dread, especially when they are both sleep deprived and there is a house full of baby items that you are (repeatedly) told are “essentials” that you need to take everywhere. But travelling with babies (even better for those who are not crawling) is great and I would actively encourage to all families to really consider it as an option. So heres my list of why travelling with babies is awesome!
Travelling with children under 2 is great as you only pay a tiny percentage of the cost that you will be forced to pay once they turn 2! So long haul flights, they are pretty much free, which is great (we travelled to Malaysia, Sharm el Sheikh, Dubai, Paris, Antalya, Istanbul and Marmaris with under 2s!). They stay in your room for free and most hotels do not charge for children under 2. A small caveat here, keep an eye on administration charges of an infant travelling on cheaper airlines. In 2010, we travelled to Agadir and whereas Doc and I paid £20 return for flight tickets (for the both of us), Maya had to pay £40 as there is a £20 infant charge each way….for what I do not know as they don’t even get a seat!
Most hotels will give you a cot
One child is often allowed to sleep free in hotels if they use the existing bedding but this doesn’t seem to apply to babies and most hotels will provide you with a cot for the baby (usually free of charge). A baby in a cot means that you get have the luxury of your own hotel bed (which you will be forced to share in a few short years!) and often helps with babies sleeping better like they would at home.
Making future travellers
I often hear what is the point travelling abroad with babies? what can they actually take from the travel experience? OK, to be fair in terms of travelling being a hands on education, this doesn’t apply to babies but the more you do travel with babies and young children, the more used to the travel, waiting and routine that you do when you travel. Flying is a long and often arduous process and children who are used to the process of this part of travelling are much easier to deal with. Travelling need not be a holiday abroad, a stay-cation can involve travelling significant miles in the car. We used to do weekly trips from Warwick to Lancashire and it has resulted in our little adventurers being (and long may it continue) great car travellers. They are so used to sitting in the car for hours without a stop and managing to occupy themselves and each other that it makes our travelling around the country much, much easier!
In the pre crawling stage, your baby is quite content being held and being played with which makes you so much easier to fly. They will not want to charge around the aeroplane or restaurant or cry to be placed on the ground. Enjoy those days as this will be the easiest it will be as the more mobile the children it is often hard to have them sitting still for any length of time.
I still sometimes carry Zayn in our Manduca backpack carrier at the age of 2 but for babies its even easier to do some “babywearing”. They are light enough that you can carry them for a few hours without you really noticing the weight and it means that you are pretty much hands free to carry on with life.
Long Haul flights you get the best seats
Unless you are a true luxury traveller and fly first class, every cm of leg space you get in economy class makes all the difference. On long haul flights, travelling with an infant aged under 12 months allows you to request a bassinet (availability depends on your flight) and means that you will be sat right at the front with a little more room. It makes it easier to have the baby in your lap and means that your baby wont be playing with the passengers seat in front of you. I love the bassinet and its great to sit your baby inside with a few toys even if you decide not to have your baby sleep inside the bassinet.
You get special treatment if you have a baby in tow, whether its being fast tracked in passport and immigration queues and most queues in places, or babies attracting attention from everyone. I have noticed that having a baby with you is always a good ice breaker and most people will go out of their way to smile, talk and generally make you feel welcome.
You don’t have to worry about what you will feed them
For babies under 6 months, whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your worries about meal times will be very limited as they can only have milk. Breastfeeding is great as you are pretty much ready to feed at any time during the day, whilst bottle-feeding is very useful as it allows you more freedom, to actually have some me time and even better if you are on an extended family break. For babies up to 12 months, it does get harder but even then if its a shortish break and they are not loving the food overseas, they will still be having lots of milk and will not be as irritable then hungry older children.
They sleep lots
Travel is educational and does offer lots of benefits to children and I know most of these will not be applicable for babies. That said I believe the more travelling you do with baby the more adaptable they become However, with a baby you are still able to have some of the luxuries that you were used to before kids. Enjoying a lovely lunch with a sleeping baby, having a walk….
You can choose the holiday you would like
OK, perhaps the opera will be out (that said Raihan was amazing in a show we went to watch at 3 months, you couldn’t even tell he was there!) but a baby will be pretty much satisfied to be in the company of two, relaxed happy parents. Once you reach the toddler years there will definitely be more of a split in activities around what the children want/like. Make the most of the baby time as you are still pretty much in charge of the destination and activities.
Having a break
Having a holiday, break, change of scenery does wonders for your mood and being away from work, routines and chores usually means happy, relaxed parents which in turn means happy and relaxed babies. The first few months of parenthood are exhausting and can sometimes feel like you are in a rut, especially if your partner works long hours. Having a few days away, means you can spend lots of time as a family and it really lifts the spirits and rekindle the bond as a family and a couple.
As most people will tell you, it is true that your baby will not be able to recall any of these memories. However, despite your baby not being able to recall them you will have made so many memories that you will cherish and remember in years to come and baby holiday photos are the best ones. And for the doubters out there, our experiences are what shape us as people and the more varied and broad our experiences the more well rounded our children will become. I am a firm believer in this!
So what do you think? We would love to hear from you if you have travelled with your baby and what you thought of it! We are are off to Thailand and Singapore this year with our 6, 4 and 2 year old. None left in the baby stage but I think it will be an awesome experience.