Wanderlust hit when I was 30 weeks pregnant, and I then realised that we had no upcoming holidays on the horizon. I had spent the past few months preparing the nursery, attending pregnancy yoga classes and searching for the perfect pram (while trying to spring clean the house and get myself ready for a little person to come into our lives). And don't get me wrong – all this was really exciting.
But a small part of me was sad that we wouldn't be able to travel for a long while.
Travel is my passion and truth be told, I felt a bit lost without it. I missed daydreaming about vibrant destinations waiting to be discovered. I missed spending endless hours obsessing over the perfect hotel to stay in. I missed meticulously compiling a detailed list of sights to be seen.
Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, but shortly after our baby was born we found ourselves booking an overseas holiday for two adults plus a four-month-old baby.
Were we completely crazy? Perhaps. But I think that travelling with a baby is actually a fantastic idea.
Here are six reasons why you should do it too.
1. Kids under two travel for free
Travelling is an amazing experience, but it does come with a substantial price tag when you consider flights and accommodation. Kids under two fly for free (or for a very small surcharge) when sitting on a parent's lap. Most hotels also have an infant policy that allows baby to stay free of charge, with many even providing an infant crib and other baby-friendly amenities. Babies also generally get free admission into tourist attractions and on public transport. So make the most of this and enjoy free travel!
2. Looking after a baby is hard, no matter where you are in the world
Life with a baby is hard. Period. There are always nappies to be changed, and hours spent feeding, and burping, and getting baby to sleep. So I actually found that being on holiday at a beautiful resort were the easiest times of our early months with a baby. I didn't have to worry about cooking or cleaning or any other daily household chores. My hours feeding were spent in luxury, and our little one napped by the ocean, with the crashing waves lulling him to sleep. I felt energised and recharged and our little one benefited from having well-rested, happy parents.
3. Babies are portable
Getting out and about to explore your new travel destination with a baby seems daunting, but rest assured that is not actually as hard as it seems. You see, babies are actually really portable. Being fairly immobile and light-weight, they can easily be carried in a baby carrier or pushed along in a travel stroller. We took long walks on the beach carrying our baby in our arms, just to enjoy the cuddles. So invest in a good travel stroller or baby carrier and be on your way.
4. A vacation is a great way to spend quality family time
The highlight of our first family holiday was all the special memories that we made.
Yes, our four-month- old baby won't remember them. But we will forever cherish those moments spent splashing around in the infinity pool at Langkawi. We will remember that the very first time our baby rolled from back-to-tummy was in our hotel room in Singapore. And we will treasure that cute gummy smile our baby flashed around as we explored the night markets of Penang.
Sometimes I look back and wonder where the first year of being a parent has gone.
As the saying goes, "the days are long but the years are short". Adjusting to a new little person in your life can be a big change. Quality family time away from the daily grind really helped us to adjust and enjoy this special time.
5. Babies bring out the best in people
To be honest, travelling with a baby does have its fair share of difficult moments, but babies have this extraordinary skill of bringing out the best in people. Our little one loves to smile and stare intensely until you give him attention. He spent his holiday charming absolutely everybody that he encountered, and thanks to his charismatic ways we found ourselves conversing with countless strangers (young and old, local and from abroad) everywhere we went. Grumpy old men would pull funny faces to keep him entertained. The ever-so-serious immigration officer started playing peekaboo as our paperwork was processed.
His friendly persona also brought about some unexpected (but totally amazing) benefits for us – like room upgrades, complimentary entrée and dessert, picnic lunches and more.
6. You get to see the world through a child's eyes
Life is busy. It is so easy to get caught up in the fast-paced way of life that we tend to overlook the simple things. When travelling to a new place we are focussed on seeing as many must-see tourist attractions as possible, while trying to get the perfect photo at every landmark. But perhaps by doing this, we neglect to discover the true charm of this quaint little place.
Travelling with a baby in tow has changed my perspective and has truly enriched my travelling experience. Everything is new and exciting to our little boy, and now I get to marvel at these simple things too. As you see their face light up in delight as they feel sand between their toes or experience a train ride for the first time, you can be certain that these are the magical moments that make travelling with a baby completely worth it.