I’ve recently written a post about travelling with a baby and the “consumables” we took with us to Europe, this one is less about the stuff, more about the shit that goes on in your mind and the handy tips.
So let me start with:
1. There will be meltdowns.
When travelling with a baby, you will say mean stuff to people who are helping you. It’s ok. Just make sure you say sorry. You will also start crying and not really know why. That is okay too. Travelling with a baby is tough shit. And no one thinks about the whole picture the way you do. (Except perhaps your husband, but in my case, he wasn’t with us.). It is all a-okay.
2. Babies are more clingy in a new environment.
This was news to me. I spent a fair bit of trip walking behind Aru’s pram or avoiding his eyes! Sounds crazy now. But he just wanted me. Most. Of. The. Time. It’s a great ego boost till you get to COS and you just want to shop. Now that we’re at home, he is much more relaxed and even happy to stand as far as one end of the house away from me.
3. Travel will be different.
I can imagine a lot of people struggling with this concept. Instead of a day full of things to do, you might be able to pack in 1-2 things. I can’t explain why, but I was okay with this. We didn’t see the baths in Budapest, but it’s ok. My family was totally cool about having takeaways at home most nights. He was happy. I was happy. I think I know that so many people don’t travel when they have kids, it was just lovely to get help and just make it to Budapest itself. For this one, I think you need to change your mindset and be okay with it. Travel will be different. Then one day, you might get lucky like my parents and have kids who are the best travel guides in the world and hand pick your accommodation, worry about the food selection and carry your luggage for you from door to door 😉
4. AirBnb / house stays
I mentioned it in the other post – but it’s a valuable one. Do it! You all get to enjoy the conversations and every one gets to feed / bath / cuddle Aru a whole heap more. It’s easier. Easier. Easier.
5. Toys are a joke. Save the space and just use what is in your sisters’ handbags.
Aru was always entertained with lip gloss, headphones and mints. Why pack toys if you can get away with less? I refer to my sisters’ handbags because I travel with a diaperbag and Aru is already over that stuff. There is no mystery in a diaper for him anymore (there were days when he was so entertained by them, I could get 10 minutes of chilled our Aru).
6. The jetlag doesn’t really hit them the way it hits us.
When we got him, we let him have a mini cry one night (30 minutes – not bad!). Thereafter, he was totally in routine. First. Night. BACK! Oh and serotonin. Heaps of it. Sunlight makes them happy and it helps them sleep at night. Do it. Even if it means you have to drag everyone out. Do it.
7. You don’t need to have a baby car seat (check cities we visited here) in taxis.
I actually informed a police officer in London. I told him the law (somedays I am so impressed with myself). He was genuinely concerned – but we didn’t have to. And travelling without a car seat was a choice I had consciously made with Aru. You may / may not understand this, even if you are a mum. It’s a choice. You don’t have to do it. If you want to, you can just tell the cab company in advance and they can bring one with them.
8. Old cities aren’t exactly pram friendly.
In Stockholm, there was a old town within the city area called Gamla Stan. It is filled with cobblestones and there is no point taking a stroller, we ended up carrying Aru most of the time. I’ve heard Venice is a lot like this as well.
9. Long haul flights, overnight. Short haul flights, early morning.
Kids need entertainment when they’re awake and they bore easily. Which means more work for you if they’re up over a 13 hour flight. On the other hand, if it’s short haul, arrive earlier and take the time to settle in, fit in a day nap in the new place and grab supplies in your new digs.
10. Share the
Delegate and walk away. It is often hard for me to remember this. I always feel like people are doing me a favour when they help with Aru. But for them, this is love. For you, it may feel like responsibility. Let. Them. If there is one regret I have, it’s this. Everyone loves Aru so much, they miss him heaps now. Not feeling guilty about their help would have made my mind so much lighter.
11. Spend more time per city.
There was a time when 3 days would have been ample. Looking back, we realised that now 5 days would have been more ideal. Our pace is slowing with Aru and we like chilling out more. Travel is no longer a sprint.
One day, we forgot Aru’s bottle. I had a minor panic moment. But then we had a sippy cup thing and worse comes to worse, I thought we’d use a tablespoon. Luckily, he took to the sippy cup thing – grab one here.
13. The pants down diaper change.
We’d never done this at home, it’s awesome. I’d say it takes two. One day, it was belting down with rain and we’d realised Aru had wee’d his pants. We stood him up at a bus stop and did the change faster than ever. Highly recommended when you’re stuck in a tight situation. If this doesn’t work for you, my mum was able to change Aru on her legs (stretched out).
14. Don’t forget to take delight.
If he’s not sleeping and he’s playing with flowers instead. It’s ok.
This is another one of my regrets.
Travelling means flux. It means throw what you know out the window and step into the unknown. I need to learn to do this better.
15. Stop whinging about your fat face and let your sisters take photos of you.
It’ll be all you have left when you come back home. (Aside from your new wardrobe of course).
16. Take time away.
Be it an evening off, or every other afternoon. It will mean you can enjoy things like you did before. Rushed or peacefully. With a pause or with a drink. Take. Time. Away. It will reward you with more love for him.
Got more Q’s? Pop a comment below or send me an email. Till this blog gets ragingly popular, I really don’t mind answering your questions 🙂