Adventure Travel with a Baby, is that possible?
Adventure travel with a baby is not as odd as it may sound. No, you're not going to bungee jump with an infant. But it is very well possible to go hiking with a baby in your backpack. And traveling overseas is no big problem either. Your baby doesn't require much, with a few adjustments, just about anything is possible.
To which destinations can we go?Many destinations are suitable to travel with a baby. On the other hand, many are not. In choosing a suitable destination for a vacation with a baby, we always keep the following in mind:
If you might think that this rules out most of the tropical destinations, you're wrong. Many regions in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Morocco, Jordan, Mexico, South Africa, and Brasil are among the many possibilities to travel with a baby.
Flying with a babyAs you may have noticed from the suggestions above, flying is no problem with a baby. In fact, children under the age of 2 fly for free on most airlines. If you take your baby on a plane, here are some tips and things you need to know.
Babies sit on your lap during the flight. There are separate seat belts for them, that will be fastened to your own. On long flights of large airlines, you may be able to get a bassinet. This is a small bed connected to the wall of your own seat. It will be easier for your baby to sleep in, and it also comes in handy for changing diapers. If you cannot book a bassinet in advance, try to check-in early so you can claim one.
Try to book a direct flight, so you don't have to wait with all your stuff on a foreign airport. But sometimes, it is inevitable to have a transfer, or your flight may be delayed. It is good to know whether the airport has a baby lounge. Many large airports have one, where your baby can sleep in a bed, and parents have a quiet comfortable seat as well.
Luggage and airline securityNowadays, airline security means a lot of restrictions for your luggage. For your baby, it is allowed to carry 10 kilograms extra luggage. At some airlines it is only 6 though, with 4 extra for a stroller. The extra luggage is only for products you require for your baby.
Fluids, gels, and sprays in your hand luggage should not exceed 100 mililiters per piece. There are three exceptions though: baby food, medication, and special diet food, only for use during the flight.
What you should bring for the baby in your hand luggage includes diapers, wipes, moist washcloth, spare clothes, towel, baby food, spoon, milk powder, water (in 100 ml units), a toy, pacifier, chalice.
During an intercontinental flight it is best to change to the rhythm of the new timezone not earlier than upon arrival. Indicate the baby's eating schedule to the cabin crew, so that they have the time to warm the baby food.
Babies drink more during a flight. Give as much as they ask for. When breast feeding, drink more yourself as well. And bring extra milkpowder in case the breastfeeding is not sufficient.
Taking the TrainThe train can be a perfect alternative to travel with a baby. Make sure, however, that your destination is close to a train station. Forget about it if you need transfers to bus, trams, or subways. With your baby you will have a lot more luggage to carry, plus a pram or stroller.
But the train is a very relaxing way of traveling. You will have all the time to yourself and the baby. You might even want to consider to do one of the large train routes in the world with your infant. The Trans Siberian Express, Cape to Cairo, Orient Express, or The Ghan in Australia.
Travel with a baby by Car
Traveling by car is an excellent choice when you have a baby. You will be flexible, have all the luggage you require on board, and the baby can take a nap while traveling. Book your accommodation ahead and use either your own or a rental car to travel around. This is the best way to see more of your destination when traveling with a baby.
Obviously, a good baby seat is important in the car. Book it ahead when you rent a car. In a good seat, a baby will sleep almost immediately when you start the car. Plan your driving times well, so your baby has enough time to play, and sleeps while you drive. Make sure you also have some toys to play in the car.
What facilities do you need?What facilities are required merely depends on the amount of comfort you desire. When you travel with a baby, you probably require a little more comfort, so you might want to check whether the accommodation has a baby cot, baby chair, a bath, or even a baby box. If you want to rent these, be sure to mention that when you book ahead.
We preferred to have a little kitchen (or kitchenette) in our accommodation. It comes in handy when you need to warm up baby food. But you might also use it to cook a meal for yourselves, when the baby or you have an off-day.
When camping, try to pick a spot that has shade in the afternoon, so the baby can take it's nap.
Precautions for a happy vacationIf you take the right precautions, your baby will stay healthy and a happy vacation is almost guaranteed.
Most of the hygienic precautions you need to take for yourself also hold for your baby. Don't drink unboiled water in tropical countries, and refrain from raw vegetables (washed in unboiled water). Don't use ice cubes, and only eat well heated food. And finally, wash your hands before cooking, feeding, and after using the toilet.
Although you stay away from malaria areas, mosquitoes and other insects are almost everywhere. Protect your baby from them by using long sleeves in the woods and at night. Better yet, use a mosquito net.
It seems like a lot of concerns, precautions, and preparations for adventure travel with a baby. But that's inherent in having a baby. In fact, our experience is that being on the road with a baby does not require much extra's from being at home with him. A baby is flexible enough to bring almost anywhere.
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