Travelling with a baby is in itself a very daring act and imagine doing so with twins & all by yourself! While how much so ever you plan, you have to be prepared for the unexpected.
“Europe??!!” – Yes! – we exclaimed in tandem.
Well, yes – we had been contemplating since our twins turned 10 months as to what we could do to make their first birthday special for us- the 4 of us. Perhaps throwing a party and inviting 100 odd guests was never on our mind. We wanted to explore new places with our babies this time.
The idea seemed a bit too odd at first when we told our respective set of parents. We had just gained confidence in managing the babies and traveling overseas for 3 weeks would be a bit of an “adventure”- we were told.
But we went ahead and created an itenary. We wanted to go on a holiday before our Tweenies were mobile . So here we were to cover Belgium, Amsterdam & Paris in those 3 weeks. My most awaited part of this trip was clicking a picture of our twins in front of the Eiffel Tower on the day of their 1st Birthday.
And thus began our travel preparations. I referred several write ups online to know what are the essentials to be carried while traveling with infants. Web being such a vast source of information, I ended up being totally bewildered and jumbled.
So if you are getting ready for the first travel with your little one take a deep breath and read on for a comprehensive “cheat sheet” or I may say “survival tips” to get started!
Book infant seats in advance
Most airlines offer bassinets for babies uptil 12-18 months. This was a saviour for us as were travelling with our “double duty”. Also, some airlines have 1-row-1-baby rule. At first it was a shocker for us as it meant that we would have to split and manage one baby each. But as they say “divide and rule”, it really worked well. We chose aisle seats in all the flights so that one of us was either right in front or across.
As much as possible, match the baby’s sleep time with travel time. It’s more comfortable for the baby also especially the air pressure issues are kind of sorted. If travelling by air, try and include at least 1 halt. It gives enough time to settle the baby with nappy change, feeding and overall refreshment.
If you plan to carry a stroller, pick one that is easy to fold and carry. We opted for baby carriers instead of strollers though. It was a lot easier that way as we had planned the entire trip on our own and were to use public transport at most places. So this worked well for us. Also, wearing a baby through your journey would keep the little one involved in all your experiences. I remember talking to our Tweenies all through the trip ; they used to respond in their own way by smiling or cooing as an indication that they were grasping the experience. By the tine we were back home they had managed to pick up a few words! Babies learn really fast than we can when even imagine!
Research your destination well in advance – weather conditions, facilities offered at hotels, baby friendly areas around etc etc.
Include a bit of flexibility
Travelling with baby means the baby is leading the show. It would be no where close to those pre-baby vacations. It is essential that baby’s comfort is given utmost importance. Making rigid travel plans (for example a group tour with stringent timelines and hectic schedules) can turn out to be a stressful experience for the baby as well as parents.
Plan your journey
Okay, this journey is actually from your home to the airport. Keep in mind nappy changes, feeding sessions and general baby melt downs in your schedule. This is also important during lay-overs at intermediary airports. You may feel you have 1 hour in hand to catch the connecting flight but you wouldn’t really get to know where that 1 hour goes.
Sign the “Peace Pact”
This is the most important of all. Before you think any further and question my statement, let me clarify: make a promise with your partner that however difficult or stressful your travel would turn out to be, you wouldn’t fight amongst yourselves or blame each other. It may sound a bit of an exaggeration but I am talking ground reality. Traveling with a baby and specially twins can turn out to be more of work than fun. Having lesser expectations would help! So don’t get overwhelmed at any point and try to create new memories TOGETHER !
So now you know where to get started.
But hold on, what about the packing? Clothes, feeding essentials, baby food, bathing needs, diapers? There’s a lot more to get started with your journey with the little one. But don’t get boggled, just BREATHE and read our upcoming post in “Travel Diaries” for simple tricks to make the most of your trip with your munchkin. After all, smart planning and meticulous preparation would ensure half the work done.
Travel Diaries – Series 1 – 10 handy travel feeding products