When you have a newborn baby, it’s daunting enough travelling a kilometre to get a coffee, let alone potentially thousands to go on holiday. But sharing new experiences with your little one, and enjoying a change of scenery is worth the effort.
Through trial and error and countless discussions with other mothers, I’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts to make that first holiday with your newest travel companion memorable for the right reason.
Do Get excited! Taking your baby to the places you love or discovering new destinations together is a special joy.
Don’t Expect your trip to be anything like previous holidays. Your baby still needs his routine, meaning cocktails or shopping trips on a whim are unlikely.
Do Make a comprehensive list of what you need to pack well ahead of your departure. By now you will have discovered just how much “stuff” a little human needs every day, and with baby brain in full swing it’s easy to forget the necessities.
Don’t Take up your precious luggage space with anything you can buy on arrival, like nappies and wipes. Better still, order online so they’re waiting for you at your destination.
Do Choose accommodation that makes life as easy and relaxing as possible. For example, ensure it has a kitchenette with a microwave, fridge and stove; amenities such as pools are in baby monitor range; and shops and restaurants are in walking distance.
Don’t Book accommodation with stairs. Lugging a baby, pram and nappy bag up and down a staircase every time you want to go out will feel more like hell than a holiday.
Do Schedule your departure for your baby’s naptime if you’re driving to your destination, and plan breaks around feeds.
Don’t Choose the scenic route. There’s only so long a baby can handle being cooped up in the capsule before the tears set in.
Do Become familiar with your airline’s policies on travelling with infants, particularly baggage allowances. Most Australian airlines won’t allow a check-in bag for baby, but will carry up to three infant items – such as a portacot, pram and capsule – for free.
Don’t Forget to book a seat with bassinet if your airline offers one, or extra leg room if not. A change of clothes for both you and your baby is also a must for the inevitable little accidents.
Do Invest in or borrow a baby carrier. They’re essential for getting around the airport when your pram is checked in, while also keeping your hands free.
Don’t Think you can give travel insurance a miss. Not only do you want peace of mind if you or your baby becomes ill, but after shelling out thousands for your baby gear the last thing you need is for it to become lost, damaged or stolen without cover.
Do Consider renting some of the items you’ll need, such as a cot, high chair or pram. Look into what your accommodation has in its inventory or check out websites like treehutvillage.com.au.
Do Get the most out of your holiday by planning your activities ahead around sleep schedules and tag-teaming with your partner.
Don’t Leave home without your camera!