People say don’t work with kids or animals. Some people, would say this also applies to travel. But, if you like to consider yourself a little bit of a rule-breaker, chance-taker or possibly even a free-spirit, travelling with kids is a part of life.
Here’s my go-to guide for planning a successful holiday with a baby.
Choose a destination you know from your pre-baby life that will adapt well to your lifestyle. For us, our first choice is and always will be Bali. It’s an island we love, know the ins and outs of and promises a tropical climate. I wasn’t searching for a world of discovery, I was looking for a place to rejuvenate after the exhausting first year of parenthood. Perfect destination to test my traveling-with-baby skills.
Embrace organisation. Gone are the days of throwing a few things in a bag and wondering whether you’ve got enough local currency on arrival. This will be one of your biggest to-do lists of the year and that’s just the packing. Make a list and a make it a good one! Google it and check it twice.
Choose the right flights – and go as direct as possible. If you choose a flight time that suits your little one’s nap time, you may win baby-traveling-lotto and they can potentially sleep on the flight. Don’t try save money and do multiple stop-overs if you don’t have to. You’ll thank me later. Also avoid the over-night return flights – there’s no need for a European jet-lag hangover when you only went next door.
Don’t be stingy with check-in add-ons. Jetstar allowed us to send a pram, cot and car seat for free, but ensure you buy a ticket that includes 20kg of luggage, then add more. Trust me when I say you will be sorry when you are that mother at the airport at 6am having to re-pack her bag as you did not buy the extra kilograms. At the time of our holiday, ten extra kilograms could be bought online before the flight for $24. On the day, it was $25 PER KILO. (For the record, yes that was me).
Pack smart and hire the rest. After that expensive luggage experience, I’ve compiled a list (see below) of what you actually should pack. Many destinations including Bali have lots of online resources to order baby gear and deliver it to accommodation on arrival. I used Bali Baby Hire and for approximately three dollars per item per day, it was a small price to pay to have all of the comforts of home in tropical paradise.
Look for short-cuts. Some airports have express lines for families. I had no idea until I travelled with my son through Denpasar International Airport and it was the BEST!
Don’t be scared to have baby-free fun! I had initial hesitation about booking a babysitter but when that faded, I suddenly found myself out and about embracing a little freedom. It was magic and made me appreciate time with the family all that much more.
My Bali Baby Essentials
Nappies – take enough for 24 hours, then buy MamyPoko.
Baby food/formula – it is expensive to buy there and the range is minimal.
Summer safe essentials – good quality Insect Repellent, SPF, floaties
Minimal clothing – if you run out there are excellent laundry services. ($7 to wash 25 items)
Blow up bath – the water is not safe to drink, so this is an easy and safe way to bath infants ($29 from Big W)
-Ask your accommodation if they provide cots and high chairs before you hire
-Pre-book airport transfers with a car seat
-Take a compact stroller if you value your pram
-Ensure your passport is valid for more than 6 months from departure date
Words and Photographs by Nabula Brdar (www.kindphoto.com.au)