It’s not easy and it is not at all like traveling with your partner just the two of us, but it is entirely possible to travel with babies, even if you have twins! Greeks tend to “park” their baby with his/her grandparents and venture on their own. However, traveling as a family is an amazing experience – just looking at your kids’ faces as they enjoy spending time with you and as they take in all the new scenery is unforgettable on its own. As long as you are well prepared.
So what does it take to really enjoy a family trip with babies?
1. Perfect preparation
Pack thoroughly, yet light, have the right products, research the destination, the accommodation, the means of transport and the itinerary, engage in discussions with other parents who’ve done the same trip, study blogs and travel sites… Be organized to the core!
2. The right products
You need baby carriers, a travel stroller/push chair, a flexible bathtub, foldable food accessories, the right car seats, age appropriate toys…. An you need all of it, because in case one of the “products” is missing, the trip can become hellish.
I’m collecting all of these right products in this page, updating and adding stuff it as my twins grow older and their needs change
3. Research the destination
What’s the weather like at the time of the trip? How accessible is it? Are there parks and playgrounds? Museums, activities or events suitable for kids your age? What family tours are there? Is it budget friendly? Are there ATM’s? Do they accept cash/credit cards? Could you maybe rent baby products there?
You can pose a question at the official tourist page of the destination, facebook groups specializing in family travel, where you’ll find parents who’ve done the same trip and are more than willing to share their experience in order to help you organize the whole thing better.
4. Choose family friendly accommodation
Is it family friendly? Baby friendly? Toddler friendly? Do they prepare baby food? Do they have kids’ menus? Will they be willing to puree your baby’s fruits at breakfast? Do they have high chairs available in-room and in restaurants? Are there baby cots/beds available? Is it accessible?
You can call the hotel directly and make all the appropriate arrangements. You can also ask in family travel facebook groups – ideally ask them which baby friendly accommodation they recommend for the destination you’re interested in.
5. Pack more than you think you’ll need
Make sure you don’t pack stuff you won’t need, because it’s such a pity to carry heavy, huge and multiple bags for no reason.
However, don’t skip the essentials and the season musts:
1. Don’t pack less of: clothes, underwear, diapers, swimsuits, beauty samples (baby shampoo, rush cream), bibs, towels
2. Don’t forget to pack a baby travel first aid kit, jackets, sleeping bags (my babies tend to release themselves from any kind of cover, blanket or linen), your baby carriers, all those must products mentioned above, as well as everything you might need to feed them
6. Have extra budget
For some laundry. For medical issues. To buy stuff you ran out of or that you forgot to pack or that apparently you need. Because the destination is more expensive than you initially thought.
7. Don’t forget your important documents
Health documents, passports, visas…
8. Travel on the right season
It’s such a waste to travel some place exotic on rainy/typhoon/monsoon season.
We also avoid traveling abroad during flu season, as long as the babies are so young. I don’t want to spend my holidays being a nurse in some hotel.
But it’s not safe to travel with babies some place really hot either, like the Middle East or North Africa during summer, when the temperature rises well above 35 degrees.
Northern countries during Spring or Summer, Australia during our winter, exotic destinations at their prime time, the mountains of Greece on a light winter, the greek islands in June and September, are ideal!
9. Pick your travel times wisely
Better travel at nap time. Also avoid moving in the morning by car, boat or airplane, as it might get bumpy and morning sickness happens to babies too!
10. Respect your babies’ routine and follow their cues
You’ll have such a nasty time on your trip if you don’t follow your baby’s cues and if you can’t respect their routine. The best piece of advice I can give you is to feed them when it’s time for their meal, breastfeed them as soon as they ask for it, follow your usual bedtime routine when it’s time, find a quiet corner and let them enjoy their nap once they get cranky. Pacifiers won’t do the trick. Don’t change their schedule, don’t interrupt their routine. Respect their cues.
10+1 Resilience, flexibility, good mood
Don’t be moody, absurd, lazy or negative when you travel, especially if you’re a parent.
Even if something’s not going according to plans, don’t whine about it. Be a good example to your kids.
Be well prepared, so that nothing can get you down.
Make your trip easier with the right products, so that every moment of the day on a trip with babies is easy breezy.
Most important, be ready for changes and prepare to adapt. Your babies are like you, they change when away from home and routine. They might suddenly want to nurse more or eat less. They will probably change their nap routines too. So, be flexible, be positive and happy and savor these unique moments as a new family!