Choosing your next holiday destination can be exhilarating. Travel can take you anywhere. A secluded oasis with powder-white sand, crystal clear water and an overwater villa might be on the top of your wish list. Or perhaps you prefer an adventure off the beaten path, involving hiking the Inca Trail and exploring Machu Picchu. The possibilities are endless and the sky is your limit. Until you add a baby in the mix – and suddenly there is a whole new dimension to consider. We love travelling and were definitely open to travelling with our baby, but had a few key factors to consider when choosing where to travel to. Sure, there are some parents out there that successfully backpack around Europe with their newborn or go on ski trips with their little ones. And as amazing as those trips sound – I’m just not one of those parents. I was after a holiday destination that would make travelling with a baby easy (well, as easy as it can possibly be!). So, we put together a list of criteria for choosing a baby-friendly holiday destination, in the hope of making things a little bit easier for all three of us.
Here are our top tips to help you pick the perfect baby-friendly holiday destination.
Minimise travel time
The thing that scares most new parents about travelling with a baby is the flight there. When choosing a baby-friendly holiday destination, we try to pick a destination where travel time is minimised. We successfully managed an eight-hour overseas flight with a baby, but I think I would still be wary of a 20 hour flight. Long travel days are really exhausting on both baby and mum and dad. If possible, choose a destination that has a direct flight. The last thing you want is to go from one long flight and then wait for another flight or boat trip to take you to your (secluded but inaccessible) destination.
It goes without saying that you need to choose a holiday destination that is safe – both in terms of the stability of the country as well as from a public health point of view. Depending on the age of your child, they may have only had some of their vaccinations. Ensure vaccinations are up-to-date before heading off on a trip. We avoided any rural and remote regions to ensure that there were no major health risks to our baby. Also consider factors regarding food hygiene and availability of safe drinking water to keep everyone healthy.
Location, location, location
Pre-baby, I would blissfully choose a beautiful secluded hotel that is isolated from the hustle and bustle of the main stretch. Post-baby, a convenient location is everything! Choose a destination with an amazing hotel that is centrally located and close to attractions (such as the beach). We also try to be close to good food and public transport, so that we are all well-fed and can get around easily for sightseeing. It is great to be in walking distance of some attractions, so that you can get out and about, and easily go back to the hotel in case of an emergency (read: poonami!).
Consider nearby amenities
Another factor to consider when choosing a baby-friendly holiday destination is the infrastructure and availability of amenities. Is there adequate healthcare or access to a hospital if needed? Can you readily purchase nappies, formula (if applicable) and other key baby items? Although you can be extremely well prepared, sometimes you just don’t know what else you might need. Gain peace of mind by travelling to a destination where you can pick up a few extra items if things don’t quite go as planned.
Paved pathways or cobblestone steps
If you plan to use a travel stroller or pram while on holidays, make sure you consider the terrain of your chosen destination. Some cities are a breeze to navigate with a pram, allowing you to glide seamlessly on the footpath. Others are a bit more challenging, with narrow cobblestone alleys or rough, hilly terrain. A baby carrier can be a great alternative to a travel stroller, but bear in mind that going up steep inclines or lots of steps can be quite exhausting with a baby in tow.
Sightseeing for all
You have a new travel companion with you so make sure that your baby-friendly holiday destination offers something fun for everyone. Try to plan holiday activities that will provide hours of fun for your littlest family member, so that they also enjoy themselves. Our baby is currently obsessed with birds. He spends his days pointing to the windows and looking for the birds outside. Its adorable to see his face light up at the sight of a bird – we can’t wait to take him back to Singapore and go to Jurong Bird Park. We all love the beach and are thrilled that our little one will happily play in the sand for hours. As your kids get older, allow them to get involved in choosing some of the sightseeing at your holiday destination. Having a range of activities means that everyone gets to see and do something special. Just make sure not to overschedule your day with too many activities. Nearly everything takes longer to do with a baby in tow, so bear this in mind when making your daily plan.
Do you have another top tip when choosing the perfect baby-friendly holiday destination? I’d love to hear what you think. Please comment below…
Now that you have your holiday destination sorted, read Six Tips for an Enjoyable Holiday with a Baby here