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First big trip with baby... need advice/suggestions!

First big trip with baby... need advice/suggestions!

Old Jan 25, 18, 1:37 pm
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First big trip with baby... need advice/suggestions!

Hey all,

My wife and I are thinking about doing a first big trip with the baby, sometimes in May, the baby will be 9 months by then. We have been brain-storming ideas, but hit a dead end. We have thought about Ireland/Scotland (original choice, short flight, lots of outdoor activities, baby friendly), Netherland/Belgium (short-ish flight, lots of walking, shops/cafe/museums), Caribbean (Cayman? Been to DR many times, would like new places not sure where), Prince Edward Island/Nova Scotia (beautiful, fun, laid back), Oregon, Vancouver, or Calgary (Banff National Park) or ???. We are open to suggestions, my wife thinks any place can be baby friendly, but I think places theres certain places like Spain, Germany, France, Asia, S.A/C.A which would be hard with a baby. What do you guys recommend? Thinking about 10-12 days, open to any suggestions and locations.

Second part of my question is logistics, what do you recommend we bring? How do we prepare for a 8-10 hour transatlantic flight? Things to bring, must haves, advice, all appreciated.

Thanks a lot!

Last edited by TravelDoorsOut; Jan 25, 18 at 1:54 pm Reason: edit
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Old Jan 25, 18, 2:34 pm
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Have you checked out the travel with children forum at https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-children-221/ ? They may not be able to tell you where to go, but they will certainly have ideas on must haves to take with you.
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Old Jan 25, 18, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Flyingmama View Post
Have you checked out the travel with children forum at https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-children-221/ ? They may not be able to tell you where to go, but they will certainly have ideas on must haves to take with you.
Will do, thanks! Still need to know where to go though!
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Old Jan 25, 18, 5:25 pm
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Originally Posted by TravelDoorsOut View Post
Will do, thanks! Still need to know where to go though!
Having traveled extensively with babies in the past, I would suggest London as it has lots of high bridges which you can throw yourselves off of. 😜

But in fact your baby at 9 months is unlikely to be walking so that's in your favor as you will not be spending all of your time chasing after baby. With a baby in tow, I would be partial to the Netherlands and Belgium. Amsterdam is extremely child friendly and packed with children and it's walkable as long as you take care not to get run over by a bicycle. Trains from there to other nearby Dutch cities/towns plus Belgium. Bruges is charming, Ghent has the cool Gravenstein castle/fort. Easily accessible by train, you don't want to drive into these towns. There are some lovely small towns in Friesland -- e.g. Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker, etc. -- where you can take a car. We drove from AMS to Franeker and used it as a base for day trips. Low key, charming, very, very child friendly. Smaller cities/towns are nice to be able to easily get to and from hotel for baby's nap or if baby just decides baby has had enough touring for the day.
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Old Jan 25, 18, 6:09 pm
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Old Jan 25, 18, 6:32 pm
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Baby necessaries

Maybe you can get some of the baby necessaries like milk and clothes on the package to go on the plane, and the rest of them are delivered by air transport
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Old Jan 25, 18, 9:40 pm
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It’s a fair few years now since our daughter was a baby, but I remember we always made sure to lay out everything we wanted to take, and then put all the things we had to have during the flight to one side. We then packed the rest as baggage and if we came across anything we thought we might need during the flight, we just added it to the things for our carry on. That way we made sure we had what we would need during the flight.

If I remember correctly (and I might be forgetting something, sorry – it’s been a while now!) we put diapers, extra plastic bags, changing pad, wipes and cloths, bottle, baby food, bib, any medications, a change of clothes, blanket, her pacifier, whatever small toys she liked (one or two), and any documents we needed in our carry on. We never bothered with a normal diaper bag, but used a small backpack instead as it was much easier to carry. Also, we always made sure she had favorite toy (later a book) with her, and we then just had the stroller and car seat to manage.

In terms of getting through the airport, we always took her stroller and she was always in it; the only time she wasn’t was when we went through security and when boarding the plane. We always made sure that her favorite toy was attached to the stroller so there was no chance of her dropping it or leaving it behind. One of us would push her, while the other carried the car seat and we’d swap as needed. Some people use car seats and small wheeled carts, and some kids will not want to go in a stroller, so you’ll have to work out what works for you. If you do use a stroller, make sure they’re always properly buckled in as it’s much safer (we know many never do this, but we’ve seen accidents and kids jump out which caused the parents a lot of unnecessary stress).

When it came to boarding, we’d check the stroller and one of us took the car seat and the other held her. We always made sure she stayed in her car seat for the whole flight. We were lucky that she traveled well and didn’t got bothered or upset too much though we did have to take her out for a few minutes on some occasions. We tried to minimize this because of the potential risks to lap babies, and we knew she was much safer in her car seat (she still uses one now). One last thing to remember is that if you take a stroller and/or car seat you might want to think about removing anything bulky or detachable (like a rain cover, or toys that are clipped on). These can easily come off and cause a hassle.

I’ve probably forgotten something as it’s been a while, but I hope this helps answer the second part of the question.
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Old Jan 26, 18, 7:05 pm
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I would recommend you go to where you want to go. At 9 months the baby will not care where he/she is. All the places you have mentioned would be fine for a baby.

I would recommend not over packing stuff for your baby. Take enough supplies for the journey and a couple of days. Everything will be available at your destination.
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Old Jan 27, 18, 2:23 pm
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Originally Posted by dalehill View Post
Having traveled extensively with babies in the past, I would suggest London as it has lots of high bridges which you can throw yourselves off of. 😜

But in fact your baby at 9 months is unlikely to be walking so that's in your favor as you will not be spending all of your time chasing after baby.
About that not walking theory - don't count on it.

When offspring was 4 months old we booked a hiking trip to the Canadian Rockies for when kid was 9 months old, thinking he'd just ride in the baby pack. Two weeks for the trip he started walking. By the departure date he was running full tilt and not too pleased with the baby pack. We ended up booking a sitter so we could do some of the planned hikes.

Originally Posted by dalehill View Post
With a baby in tow, I would be partial to the Netherlands and Belgium. Amsterdam is extremely child friendly and packed with children and it's walkable as long as you take care not to get run over by a bicycle. Trains from there to other nearby Dutch cities/towns plus Belgium. Bruges is charming, Ghent has the cool Gravenstein castle/fort. Easily accessible by train, you don't want to drive into these towns. There are some lovely small towns in Friesland -- e.g. Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker, etc. -- where you can take a car. We drove from AMS to Franeker and used it as a base for day trips. Low key, charming, very, very child friendly. Smaller cities/towns are nice to be able to easily get to and from hotel for baby's nap or if baby just decides baby has had enough touring for the day.
I love the Netherlands and have made multiple trips there. However Amsterdam with a tiny one was not my idea of fun - way too many water hazards. We were much happier staying in a bungalow park, of the Netherlands has quite a few, which gave us a full kitchen and multiple bedrooms, so kid had his own room and slept far better than he did in hotels. We did day trips to Den Haag, Leiden, the beach, Gouda, etc.

Brugge is a little longer train ride, but a marvelous place to visit.
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Old Jan 27, 18, 2:34 pm
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Originally Posted by TravelDoorsOut View Post
Hey all,

My wife and I are thinking about doing a first big trip with the baby, sometimes in May, the baby will be 9 months by then. We have been brain-storming ideas, but hit a dead end. We have thought about Ireland/Scotland (original choice, short flight, lots of outdoor activities, baby friendly), Netherland/Belgium (short-ish flight, lots of walking, shops/cafe/museums), Caribbean (Cayman? Been to DR many times, would like new places not sure where), Prince Edward Island/Nova Scotia (beautiful, fun, laid back), Oregon, Vancouver, or Calgary (Banff National Park) or ???. We are open to suggestions, my wife thinks any place can be baby friendly, but I think places theres certain places like Spain, Germany, France, Asia, S.A/C.A which would be hard with a baby. What do you guys recommend? Thinking about 10-12 days, open to any suggestions and locations.
Why would Spain be hard with a baby? In general, Spain is very family friendly, as is Italy.

As for making it an outdoor focused trip: think about what would happen if it rained. I don't mind camping or hiking in the rain, but with an infant, that would be miserable. My kid had hit most of your list before age 2 (not UK, Ireland or Caribbean). Oregon, Vancouver, Netherlands all worked really well, and San Diego did, too. Banff, not so much because he started walking young and that trip resulted in some major logistical problems (Hello, front desk? Can you recommend a good babysitter?).

Surf through the Travel with Children forum for what to pack and you will find a very wide range of opinions. What you think you need today is going to quite different than what you think you need when the child 4 months older. Read the posts, make a list, revise as the child develops.
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Old Jan 27, 18, 7:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Lobster View Post
Everything will be available at your destination.
Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
As for making it an outdoor focused trip: think about what would happen if it rained. I don't mind camping or hiking in the rain, but with an infant, that would be miserable.
I think that visits to any of the places youíve mentioned can be tailored to your needs. There are certain things which you can hire at your destination if need be (e.g. a stroller which youíll need for only a day or two). I think the key is never plan to do too much. Whether itís driving, hiking, sightseeing, etc. always plan for a bit less than you would ideally like to complete. That doesnít mean cutting out something completely, but just prioritize certain things where possible.

I would definitely agree with CDTraveler that a more outdoor-focused trip will have some unique aspects youíll need to think about, and that each trip will be different from the last. For example, we made a mistake when we first traveled with our daughter when she was a baby; we took her stroller to use not thinking that it would be impractical on cobbled pavement, and places which only had stairs or steps. It seems simple, and we learned quickly, but with each trip we always learned more about what worked and that made the next trip easier. Some of those things we never did twice, others we still use/do even now.
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Old Feb 2, 18, 2:45 am
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I like the idea of The Netherlands. I would caution against the beach at that age, as everything tends to go in the mouth, and beach sand and mouths aren't a good combo. However, by age 2 onwards, the beach is fabulous with little children: one giant sandbox! (So keep it on your list for later.)

Babies that age can get shrieky, so a place with outdoor options might be nice. The Netherlands has Keukenhoff. France has Versailles, Roman ruins, wineries, etc. Ditto Italy. US National Parks might work, too. I remember nursing my 9-mo-old under General Sherman, the largest tree in the world, in Sequoia National Park. A fun, cherished memory -- and I now have a good answer to the "where is the oddest/most interesting place you've nursed your baby?" question.

Air BnB accommodations are fabulous when traveling with children. I always look for rentals that have at least one bedroom, so we can be up while the baby is asleep, and a washer a dryer, so we can pack less. Many units have a crib available, so that's something to look for or ask about. Some even have high chairs. If not, there are lots of compact high chair options you could bring along. Or get creative and use the car seat or stroller.

We use the washable absorbant bed mats hospitals use as portable changing pads while on the road. They come in handy for a lot of things. We still use them at home as a barrier when one of our boys has an upset tummy.

For toys, we had a subscription to Babybug, and these were great for books for the road, because they're thinner but still sturdy.
These nesting balls are great These nesting balls are great
, because they can be balls, bowls, etc and can be packed small for travel. A couple of plastic cups or water bottles are great fun while on the plane. Pots/pans, plastic cups and bowls, utensils, etc from the AirBnB make super toys.

We'd also take along our own bottle brush for cleaning sippy cups, along with a small bottle of liquid castile soap. And a few detergent pods. Oh- and we bring our own chef's knife. Knives in AirBnBs can be hit and miss.

Don't forget meds: ibuprofen, acetaminophen, Gas drops, band aids, lotions and ointments, thermometer.

For food, our kids didn't really eat purees much, so we were able to feed them a little of whatever we were eating pretty readily, wherever we were. But those puree baby food pouches are pretty pervasive everywhere now, so I bet you'd be fine just bringing some for transit only, along with maybe a couple of instant oatmeal packets or whatever for when you arrive at your destination or for emergency food, or for breakfast the morning after you get there, before you've had time to stock the kitchen.

As for getting around, most babies seem to be game for vehicles. Mine loved trains and boats in particular and would conk out on them so much easier than when stationary. Keep in mind metro stations and buses are a lot harder with strollers than with carriers. So if your baby tolerates a carrier well, definitely bring that along.

One other thing that comes to mind is breastfeeding... Mine still breastfed at 9 months but would get distracted pretty easily if out and about while hungry. I would have to sort of plan accordingly and anticipate when I would need to be in a quiet spot to nurse.

That's about all that comes to mind. It seems so daunting at the time to travel with a baby, but it gets more complex as they get older, so enjoy things now! I'm a firm believer that traveling early and often helps to build in those traits that lead to easy, good travelers later. My boys are proof of this! They are A+ travelers! I'm sure you will have a wonderful time exploring!
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Old Feb 2, 18, 7:18 am
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I didn't breastfeed so the travel packs of formula were a life saver. They were single serve pre-measured packs. My daughter would drink a room temp bottle so that helped. Try to train yours to do so if you can (and you bottle feed).

Spain is very child friendly and understanding of crying babies and they are welcome most anywhere, even bars and restaurants.

Definitely take the stroller. My City Mini folded up quickly and is still used (mine is 5) on certain trips
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Old Feb 2, 18, 10:52 am
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We took our daughter at 10 months to Bali. It went pretty well. I cannot agree more with bringing any meds you might need and a thermometer. Our daughter ended the trip with a double ear infection (we didn't know what it was the time) and we had one bottle of tylenol that leaked on the flight over as the lid wasn't on tight enough. She handled the flights well, but her fever had me freaked out.

I always had a small bag (backpack, etc) when traveling with my babies of just their things - clothes, diapers, wipes, toys, etc. You should plan for them to have extra spit ups, blow outs or accidents on the plane as it happens almost without fail. Also, if the baby is on formula, buy water at the airport and take it on the plane. I wouldn't depend on the flight crew for water for the baby. Since we were in Bali, I brought all the food she needed as I didn't want the food to upset her stomach.

If you can get away with wearing the baby, it is best for all. We had a Boba and it was awesome. It depends on the baby, but for us, a slow day was best. If we had a full day of things, it wasn't fun.
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Old Feb 5, 18, 7:18 pm
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Thank you all! Any other destination advice?!
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