Here are our top tips and ideas for the perfect family vacation with a baby!
Planning and packing
You need to bring extra EVERYTHING. What if you can't find your child's brand of formula or diapers or the fever medication that works?
Does your baby need any documentation to travel? Birth certificate, passport, Immunization card?
Would you need to give them any special medications to protect them against malaria or other local illnesses?
If you baby is on solids, is there suitable food for him to eat?
Where will baby sleep? Take a travel crib, it is a good long term investment if you travel fairly regularly. Many of them have a convenient changing mat attachment and side pockets for easy access to diapers, wipes, creams and powders.
Top Tip: Put your baby down for their naps in the travel crib in the week before you travel. That way, even though the room may be new and strange, their safe space will be familiar.
For your first family vacation with baby, consider staying relatively close to home.
If you travel further away, you need to consider jetlag. Which is bad enough before you have a baby that wakes multiple times a night.
The excess baggage is less of a concern over a shorter distance. If you are in a neighboring area, the local stores are more likely to stock the same brands as you are used to having.
People who speak your language. When you have a baby, not being able to express exactly what you need to can lead to misunderstandings that could be dangerous.
On the move
Exploring and taking in the sights as a family with your baby is doable! Take a sturdy stroller that can handle any terrain. Or, even better, choose a baby carrier that is light and easy to pack!
Family flight tips
Don't pack all your baby's stuff in one piece of luggage; split it up across multiple bags. Losing one bag won't mean having to start from scratch for baby.
Feed baby when the plane takes off and when it lands. The change in cabin pressure can hurt baby's ears.
Family car trip tips
Try to stop regularly to stretch your legs and take your little one out of their car seat. A baby should never be in a car seat for longer than 2 hours. This is because the semi-reclined position of the baby in a car seat puts strain on their developing spine and it can cause the baby’s head to fall forward blocking their airways.
If you are flying or taking a boat to your destination, rent a car on arrival! A car is much easier than using public transport once you are there. It allows you to set your own schedule. It ensures that you can have a safe car seat that it is installed properly. And it provides a private place for you to feed or change baby when out.
Where to stay
As part of researching where to stay, check for events or festivals. A big occasion is likely to push prices up and they aren't always family friendly. Check what activities are nearby. You can strap baby into their stroller or baby carrier and do walking historical tours, explore a rainforest, and visit an aquarium, bird sanctuary or a zoo. Even the littlest of children will be enthralled by brightly coloured fish, birds and animals and will nap through quieter walking excursions.
A villa or beach house
Families with babies need their own space. Privacy, not worrying about disturbing others, and easy access to a kitchen are priceless. You can also bring family members at no extra cost! A nice treat for them and allowing you to venture out alone while they watch baby.
Family resorts and hotels
Go for an all-inclusive package. Family focused accommodation usually offers in-room babysitters and some offer baby specific play care and activities.
Top tip: If staying in a hotel, ask for a room with a view and that offers somewhere for you to relax. A balcony or doors opening out onto a garden patio, and a beautiful view, will mean the time when baby sleeps can be spent enjoying a mini-vacation while they are just in the other room.