After 7 months we have decided to take the big leap; travelling long haul for the first time with our baby. We had already travelled twice with our baby but we had taken short 2-hour flights and both trips went relatively smooth. If you wish to read more about our previous trips you can check out my post with tips on travelling with a baby. From the first two trips, we learned a lot and we felt confident that we can do this as well. Here are some tips for travelling long haul with a baby:
Choosing the right destination
Travelling with a baby influences a lot our decision on the destination. This time the destination was chosen quite last minute as we found a good deal only a month before, and we decided to go for it. Here are are the criteria we took into consideration when choosing where to go:
- We were travelling for the first time long haul in January and we wanted to go somewhere with good warm weather during this period. During our previous trip to Germany, we felt that we did not enjoy it to the full due to the weather. Our baby spent all the time covered in plastic in the pushchair; most probably we will avoid travelling to places with cold weather for now.
- We did not want to go somewhere that involved more than two flights. Living in Malta, limits us since we do not have direct flights that go out of Europe. We wanted to get to our destination with a maximum of one stop over (ideally not a long one).
- Safety is also another important factor; we wanted to go somewhere where there is a low rate of crime and less risk of terrorism attacks.
- Food: now that our baby is eating solid foods so we needed to avoid places where you might catch Typhoid or other food/water related diseases.
- We had our good share of mountain landscapes and it had been a while since we had a beach holiday; so we decided that this time we would opt for somewhere with nice beaches. Escaping the European winter (which had been very harsh this year) was a must.
- During our previous trips we compared travelling with public transport and going around with our own car and we definitely prefer having our own means of transport; so we opted for a place where we can rent a car and drive.
- We found a very good deal on a cruise that we could not miss. Never before had I ever considered taking a cruise; it is not my style of travelling. However this time round it sounded like the perfect idea! We opted for the CARIBBEAN WOOOOOOHOOOO!! We found a 7-day cruise that departed from Barbados (which has direct daily flights from London) with just $500 per person! We could not resist the idea, since it was impossible to beat that price for accommodation, transport and food in the area. If you would like to have more information on this cruise check out my previous posts.
Enjoying your trip
I cannot tell you that travelling with a baby is easy; it involves a lot of preparation, getting ready will take longer and your parent duties will still be there. However with the right mind set and collaboration you will be able to enjoy your holiday. Here are some tips you might find useful:
- Entertainment for your baby; believe it or not I felt that an 8-hour flight never passed quicker. I packed a hand luggage full of blocks, books, musical toys, soft toys etc. to play with my baby. Between playing, taking some naps, feeding etc. the flight was over in the blink of an eye.
- Travelling with a baby on a long haul flight also entails some benefits; fast lane check in and security at the airport, priority when boarding the plane, extra leg room space and free cots/relaxers for your baby to sleep in, etc. Make sure to keep you are given what you are entitled for!
- Take turns with your partner so that each one of you can have some free time. I wouldn’t be able to do this alone; travelling with someone else gives you the opportunity to take a break for some relaxation; either to go for swim, go for a walk, take a drink etc. You need a break from everything every once in a while.
- The biggest headache before departing was finding food for our baby. On our previous trip we took food with us from home, however this time the trip was too long to take all the food with us. One of the reasons we chose a cruise was the wide variety of food available. Luckily my baby was never a picky eater so I was able to find good food for her every day from the buffet; from soups to fish, vegetables and chicken. Every evening I used to prepare food for her dinner and also lunch for the day after (using ice to keep it cool). Having lunch ready for her allowed us to be free to eat wherever and whatever we wanted during the day.
- Our typical day consisted of some sightseeing in the morning and free time to relax in the afternoon. Do not plan too much in a day; find destinations that allow you to relax and do not try to fit in too much in a day.