Having a child is one of the most significant life-changing moments anyone would have ever experienced and for avid travelers like my wife and me, it definitely altered the way we move. There’s a little one now in the midst with his own wants and needs, progressively changing as he grows up and learn new skills.
Throughout our 15 months of parenthood, we have embarked on a number of vacations that include road trips, ferry rides and flights, domestic and international. Having been to various places and taken all sorts of transportation, here are some of my tips on traveling with an infant.
1. Start ‘Em Young!
I always have this firm belief that you are never too young to enjoy traveling. Bringing your child along to explore the world, however close to home it may be, creates a sense of wonderment to them as they become familiar to unfamiliar surroundings, open to socialize with people and find joy in the smallest of things, all under the wings of their parents. Don’t restrict yourself to only kid-friendly activities and attractions (Legoland will come soon enough!) and let them be a part of your wanderlust.
2. Plan According to Your Child’s Routine
Starting from the age of two months, your child would have develop their daily routine of meals, naps and play time. You can put this pattern of eat, sleep and play to your advantage by planning your itinerary around it. Our son usually naps after his breakfast and bath around 10 a.m. so on road trips, we would get moving when his nap time is around the corner. He will have a sound sleep in the car and will be fully refreshed by the time we arrive at our destination! This way helps maximize your time for sights and activities for everyone without your kid being cranky or sleepy.
3. Synchronize Your Meal Time
Part of this planning includes having your meals as a family. Travel can be hectic at times so your meal times could be earlier or later than usual. As long as your child is not super hungry, try to make it a point to have your breakfast or lunch together. Our little one had a good time eating out when we went food hunting in Kelantan recently. Although he could only eat purees, his appetite did not seem to diminish and was happy people-watching and interacting with the servers. I feel that having meals together, although at irregular times, teaches a child both discipline and flexibility on their travels.
4. Ensure The 3 Basics of Accommodation Are Available
I’m a bit adventurous when it comes to choosing a place to stay on our travels as long as we are provided with all the basic facilities vital for the comfort of our child. Of all the amenities provided, I’ve narrowed it down to three important ones which are hot shower, refrigerator and kettle. A hot shower is much needed for a warm bath and a kettle is useful for boiling drinking water and sterilizing the baby’s utensils. Meanwhile, if your child has started eating, the fridge is the go-to place to store opened food jars or pouches.
5. Be That Blanket of Protection When Trying Something New
During your travels, your infants will encounter many new things so parents have to be the blanket of protection when they feel scared. On a recent trip to Pangkor Island with a group of friends, we decided to do some island-hopping. Our son started crying when he had to wear the kiddie-size life jacket and he was bawling when the boat, with its loud engine noise, zipped across the choppy waters. I was gripping him tightly throughout the ride to make sure he feels safe and when we finally stopped by at a hidden beach, he was happily playing with the sand!
Do you have any tips or thoughts on traveling with an infant? Share it in the comment box below!