Last year, whilst I sported a fledgling bump on a “babymoon“, my husband and I joked about our next holiday. We laughed and looked each other wistfully as we daydreamed about the romantic idyll of baby travel. We longed to have our little bundle with us as we soaked up some rays on holiday.
We are idiots.
Having just returned from our first baby travel trip abroad with a one-year-old, the word ‘holiday’ needs to be redefined.
It used to mean a time out from the usual routine to unwind, reflect and recuperate from the stresses and strains of everyday life. Not any more. Baby travel is the same stuff as at home with the sun thrown in. This, of course, means adding baby sun cream and insect repellent by the bucket load into the mix.
We got through it and we actually had a gorgeous little time. Baby travel can be good fun, as it turned out. But, that didn’t happen without armour. Here’s my guide on what you need for successful baby travel should you find yourselves in this situation. I’m not talking sun hats and swim shorts (although you should obviously pack those too).
I used to totally judge the parents who shoved a tablet in front of their offspring. That was until I became that parent. I swallowed my guilt as we put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on … again. I convinced myself that it’s loosely educational.
Cue a repeat of the prior judgement and parent guilt. We opted for the baby-friendly organic variety. However, they look a little too much like Wotsits to avoid the disapproving looks from other travellers. But, they were a huge hit with TJ and were pretty much the only thing that kept him still on the plane.
TJ spent much of the week away behaving like a performing seal. He enthusiastically sought out and absolutely adored soaking up attention from anyone he caught the eye of. In a resort largely populated by French and German tourists, my GCSE knowledge totally failed me. I had to rely on a smile and nod during the awkward moments when TJ stared at smiling strangers.
A strong stomach
The resort we were staying at had a rather beautiful all-inclusive buffet. But, baby must be fed first. So, I patiently filled TJ’s tummy before my own and I ignored its rumbles of protest as I made my paunch waited patiently to be refuelled.
I am a stickler for routine. I run TJ’s life by the clock as much as possible to avoid hunger or sleep related crankiness. Although our baby travel holiday destination wasn’t in a different time zone, it simply wasn’t possible to stick to the clock. This definitely had its bonuses though. For example, we decided TJ’s afternoon nap could be taken at the poolside, which meant I could treat myself to the odd Gin and Tonic while he snoozed in the pram.
The journeys and their difficult times did inevitably bring on two public meltdowns – one on the coach from the airport and one on the plane home. Both of these resulted in the odd glare from people around us. I just had to shake that off. We did, however, make friends with fellow parents who knew exactly what we were dealing with and for that I will always be grateful.
It took meticulous planning and more than a little convincing from TJ’s dad for me to even seriously consider baby travel abroad. It wasn’t the usual break from the norm at all. But, that’s not such a bad thing when the norm is pretty awesome. Would I do it again? Probably, but I may need a rest from it all first.