It’d be such a shame if we hung up our suitcases the second we became parents; why can’t children come along for the ride and get bitten by the wanderlust bug early on, asks Susie Verrill
Why not? Because it’s a daunting prospect, one which makes us choose to stay at home with the promise of picking up where we left off once everyone leaves for uni. As a prolific traveller and mum to a toddler and as an individual who inwardly panics about everything, I promise it can be done, it’s just more than anything about a positive mindset.
Alongside that, use these handy tips to make you feel that little more prepared. Families who travel together make memories together (yes some of them may involve desperately asking a stranger in pigeon French where the baby changing facilities are)
- A buggy/stroller is always preferable, however the width of streets may not permit it, plus you’re no doubt going to be in battle with other tourists. If your child’s too big for you to wear them in a sling, go for the shoulder ride. It’s the easiest on your body, your little one will be entertained and reins in the hustle and bustle of a city is a CRAZY BAD idea. Also, if you do take a stroller, consider buying a cheap one because airlines/other people don’t care one jot that your Stokke model cost a LOT of money.
- If you’re moving from one city to another pack provisions the night before you leave. When you first arrive at your destination your first day or so will be taken up by trying to find your surroundings. You don’t want to be running around panicking because you can’t find a supermarket which stocks the correct size nappies.
- If your baby/toddler is at the weaning stage, don’t be afraid to pack something ready made like one of the delicious Ella’s Kitchen snacks or pouches. You may not always find there’s food suitable to hand so it never hurts to have back up. Plus strawberry puffs are a great distraction.
- If you’re going somewhere hot I hugely recommend a portable fan for your pram. We always take one with us so that our son’s not sat boiling in his own sweat and it’s nice to quickly use on yourself every so often too.
- If you’re using tubes/subways find out which stations have stairs and which have lifts before you go. There are a lot which don’t cater for prams and/or wheelchairs and unless you fancy carrying a buggy up and down flight after flight then you’ll want to do your research.
- Don’t underestimate pointless items in your bag, your child will ALWAYS want to play with them. For a while we used to pack our rucksack, changing bag, handbag with toys and boys. Now we recognise our son will most probably be happiest playing with my purse and the car keys (although for goodness sake keep an eye on them)
- Always take a blanket, even in the heat. Temperatures can change at night, plus if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll probably want something to use as a cover. A blanket can also be used for shading.
- If you’re headed to a beach during your stay, remember that talcum powder removes sand. No more faffing around with pesky grains, just sprinkle some of the white stuff and hooray!
- Take a first aid kit. For obvious reasons. Include a syringe for easy Calpol administration.
- Don’t use rental car seats. They’re very, very often not what you’d want to put a feral dog in, let alone your baby.
Most importantly, have fun! It’s easy to worry you can’t travel without worry once you have children and while yes, you have more responsibilities, it’s so exciting to be able to have adventures with the most important people in your life.