|Fly, Baby, Fly.|
Love travel? This post was featured on the amazing world travel blog, The Lost Girl's Guide to Finding the World. Check it out. Ashlyn is a blogger to follow.
Congratulations! You're a parent! In the nine months prior to meeting your tiny human, you've already experienced scads of unsolicited advice on everything from nutrition to nannies from everyone (your mother, the parking attendant at the mall, even that nice panhandler outside the bank).
When you decide to travel with your new babe, get ready for round two. I'll leave ALL the reasons you should stay tucked up at home with the door locked to Great-Aunt Margaret and your dog groomer...
I'm here to tell you why the first year of baby's life is the BEST time to travel as much as you can.
10. Free. Free. Free.
Babies are like celebrities. They get in free or receive fantastic perks just about everywhere.
Is it because they don't count as people yet? Is it because they are so feared? Who knows and who cares.
|"Cute baby. Hey! Wanna pet this baby lynx?" (Alberta, Canada)|
Brandishing a baby allows extra bags (and paraphernalia, ooh...) on most flights, better connections, upgraded hotel rooms (to the padded block), seats on the subway, extra plates of food at restaurants, and access to VIP airport lounges.
Tip: Ask nicely. Smile sweetly. Pinch baby. Count to ten.
|Free cribs (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol). Now, sleep for the love of...|
9. The Internet.
Have you heard of this tool?
Do your research. We love hiking, camping, airbnb and generally getting outside. Maybe you love 5 star hotels and symphonies. The internet is your friend.
|"I'm thrilled to hear the Parliamentary Tour is available for all ages. *Cough.*" (Ottawa, Canada)|
Check out your destination ahead of time for things like:
- rentable carseats, cribs, and strollers.
- vaccination requirements
- amenities in the area like laundromats
- attractions that allow babies... Tip: In most of the world, it's EVERYWHERE.
|Free Boat Ride from Granville Island. Like taking candy from a baby. (Vancouver, Canada)|
Tip: Planning ahead a little can save a lot of money, sanity, and adorable *couple moments* that aren't going to be funny until well after your sweet bébé is potty trained.
8. Maternity/Parental Leave.
Note: Dear U.S. of A. I am sorry. You have In-N-Out Burger, but this is poor consolation for the lack of maternity leave available to you. Not cool.
|"Well, we better head back. I have to work in ... six months." Lake Minnewanka, Banff, Canada|
Here in Canada (as in many other countries), we receive (up to) one year of paid maternity leave. If you can stretch the budget to take advantage of this and in some cases, work the parental leave portion so both parents can get a block of time off together, why NOT travel?
|Bumming around Kapsowar, Kenya while hubs works at a medical placement.|
Maybe one partner has a job opportunity they've always wanted to try. Time to go along for the ride. Get creative. Visit Uncle Jimmy's cousin's neighbour's son in Australia.
Now IS the time.
|Kootenays (B.C. Canada)|
7. Babies are portable.
|Atop the Big Beehive (Lake Louise, Canada)|
It never gets easier than it is right now... Sorry about that.
Babies keep getting BIGGER. They learn to talk and walk and holy-moly, do they get opinionated. Right now (and for the next 18 months), you are in control.
Do what YOU want,
6. It takes the same amount of stuff to walk to the park as it does to travel on a plane.
So why not go? Believe me, the sound of the waterfall is just as effective as your white-noise app.
|Chutes Montmorency (Quebec City, Canada)|
|Snack time on the road. (Saskatchewan, Canada)|
5. It's a Small World After All.
You're out of diapers? You have to find a medi-clinic? Not sure if little Suzy's poop is the right colour? (Refer back to that handy little #9. Internet)
The world is small.
|"Well this is cooler than Netflix." (Nairobi, Kenya)|
You can generally find the same information you need on your phone at McDonald's in Cairo as you can in your living room at home. Ditto to calling your mom on Skype.
4. Begin how you mean to proceed.
They won't remember this, but you will.
|Eldoret Region, Kenya|
Our life philosophy includes exploration, wonder, and lots of time in the great outdoors. The sooner you start incorporating kids into your rhythm, the more natural it will be for all of you.
|Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada|
3. You won't be sleeping anyway.
I know, I know. All the sleep books say, if you stand on one foot and keep baby in a quiet/loud, cold/warm, sea-level room and rock them/let them cry it out/sing them songs, they will sleep like angels.
|NOT sleeping. (Paris, France)|
Lies, my friends.
Yes, travel can be disruptive to little gaffers, but so can teeth, fevers, imaginary nothings, and growing. The routines you set, even on the road, may or may not make a difference, especially in the first six months.
So the question is... Sleepless in Saskatoon? Or in Santiago?
|Good choice. (Cuba)|
2. Babies are universal icebreakers.
What's the one thing you'll find anywhere in the world?
Toyotas. Oh, and babies.
|Our friend Ednah and some of her extended family (Kapsowar, Kenya)|
|Salome, her nephew, & Emily (Kapsowar, Kenya)|
The more you interact with parents and families from different backgrounds, the more you ease back and relax into parenting your own children and the less equipment you feel like you need to do the job...
which leads me to the top and final reason for traveling with baby...
1. All you need is love.
I know you think you NEED the tent, the carrier, the raingear, the potty seat, and the sleep sheep --- and don't get me wrong, those things are great...
|Bjorn or Ergo? Why choose? (Saskatoon, Canada)|
but the more places I travel, the more I realize that an adult t-shirt, a roll of tape, and a garbage bag will get you through most calamities.
Kids are 100% washable (towel or air dry as necessary) and they are happiest when their parents are happiest.
|"My favourite toy. Rocks!" (Saskatoon, Canada)|
So my advice to you whether back-country camping or beautiful resort?
GO. Make some memories, because wherever in the world your heart takes you, the thing your kids need most FROM you is time WITH you.
And P.S. Don't forget to send Great-Aunt Margaret a worrying postcard or two...
|Dear Auntie, Emily loves jingling the bear bells and we've only spent one night trapped by a landslide. Praise God for free healthcare. -All our love|
LOVE travel and are looking to travel with your littles? STAY TUNED! Over the next few months, each week on Tuesday, I'll be posting travel tips and tidbits under the label Travel Tuesdays.
Want to read these posts without the hassle of checking back? Be my email buddy! No spam. Thank you, Ma'am! Sign up here.