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First time holidaying with baby in tow

11 replies

munchbunch · 22/01/2003 17:06

we are hoping to go away with dd end April/early May when she will be 6/7 months. Feel like I need a holiday now (!) but dh is too busy at work. We were thinking about Florida (good weather) but am unsure about the long flight time and how much we can realistically do on holiday with a little one. We normally like travelling around and seeing a few places, visiting galleries, long walks etc rather than spending a fortnight just on a beach. Any tips on top destinations, what is/isn't manageable with a little one in tow and what to bear in mind when booking so that we don't come back from holiday needing another holiday to recover? Many thanks

OP posts:
Bozza · 22/01/2003 17:14

Visiting places, walks etc sound great at that age. She will probably be sitting up by then but not able to do much on the beach anyway - other than sit in a sun tent if you are in Florida!! If you're not bothered about the beach I'd leave it for this year - you'll probably have lots of years of beaches to come. This is probably the last time that your DD will be reasonably portable and able to fit into your plans.

We went to Cornwall when DS was that age and the journey was a nightmare - but think a plane might have been easier - because can hold, cuddle, feed etc. We were also unfortunate that DS chose this precise time to refuse to sleep in his car seat!!! We had to stop the car and lay him down across the back seat!

elliott · 22/01/2003 17:29

we went on holiday with ds at 9 months to Mallorca. it was a mixed experience!
Good things included going on walks with ds in backpack - this was the best activity for keeping us all happy; eating out at lunchtime; doing fun trips on the train; having plenty of space in accommodation for ds to explore; open stairs which really brought on his climbing skills(!!); nice short flight. Difficult things included the hassle of feeding ds (no blender/microwave in accomodation); no bath in accommodation (shower only); noise which disturbed sleep at night; not being able to relax on beach due to constant supervision of ds; trying to accomodate his need for daytime sleep with our need for activity (one of the reasons why walking was good rather than being on the beach); not being able to get out at night (we were in self catering accomodation in a town, not a resort).
Don't know if that helps any! I think it partly depends on what your dd enjoys and how easy she is with feeding/sleeping. I think what you can do on holiday is largely the same as what you can do at home!! I did miss some of my mod cons though...
Also I guess heat and sun might be an issue - Mallorca in Sept was plenty warm enough for ds and us. Wouldn't somewhere in southern Europe (or perhaps Canaries) be warm enough then and a shorter flight with no jet lag?

SoupDragon · 22/01/2003 17:51

We went to Menorca for a week with DS1 when he was 7 months old - absolutely fine. Bought nappies, baby food etc out there, he played in his sun tent whilst we sunbathed and lazed about, everyone peered into his sun tent to talk to him, he could sit up but not crawl... We didn't have any problems eating out, just put him in the pushchair and off we went. We took his tea with us and fed him that plus bread rolls to keep him amused.

DS2 went to Florida at 7 months old (obviously DS1 came too!) and it was fine too. He sat up in his sky cot on the flight, flirting with everyone behind us and did manage to sleep in it too. It's difficult to compare the two places as obviously we were trying to control DS1 who was 2 1/2 but basically, DS1 played in his sun tent, slept in it, slept in his pushchair, got fed US babyfood plus bread rolls & fries whilst we ate. He did get whingy when transferred from plane to hire car as he was over tired at that point but slept for the journey to our hotel - don't forget to add that bit onto the flight time as it's more stressful than the flight

As Bozza says, this may be the last time for a good while that your DD fits in with your plans! A 6/7 month old will fit nicely into your travelling about and walking more than a recalcitrant toddler. I don't think anyone realises how "portable" they are at that age until they've travelled with a toddler.

jac34 · 22/01/2003 17:56

The first time we traveled with our DS twins they were around 9 months or so.We hired an villa in Spain ( so short flight & all domestic appliances)
and it was May, so not too hot.
We did try to go on the beach, but they hated the sand on them, so we gave up on that one.
We did do most of our usual holiday activities though, site seeing (they fell asleep in the car/pushchair), eating out( we would give them their food, push them around till they fell asleep, then have a nice peaceful lunch),swimming in the pool,etc.
IMO the only real problem is the journey there and back, once your there you just carry on as normal. For me personally, I would not attempt a flight longer than a couple of hours, and that is still the case, eventhough they are now 4yo and seasoned travelers.

munchbunch · 22/01/2003 18:50

Thanks for all the helpful tips - lots of things (like the bath - thanks elliott!) that hadn't crossed my mind. Shows how much you take for granted when you are child (or toddler) free! We were thinking of Europe as Elliott, Soupdragon adn jac34 suggest, but my local travel agent wasn't too helpful on self-catering in Europe(which I think as you mention may be more practical for us)and I have family in St Petes in Florida which may make things easier for us. But yes, the flight is a worry...although I have friends who just took their 9mth ds to S Africa (though I gather they weren't too popular on the flight!)

Assume buying nappies, food etc wherever we go is relatively easy?

Also, any advice on taking pushchairs/ car seat with us vs buying/ renting abroad? Have heard mixed views

OP posts:
jac34 · 22/01/2003 22:26

We bought a stroller for travelling abroad, but hired carseats when booking the car,at extra cost, but that was because we would have had to take two, and we always try to keep luggage to a minimum. I supose with one you could take your own, but there is always the chance it might get damaged in transit.As the boys are in booster seats now I think this year we will take our own.
If on another trip you do fancy S/C in Europe, try one of the sites mentioned on one of the other travel threads. I think I've already mentioed that we use They also have some very nice properties in Florida, why not take a look.

SoupDragon · 23/01/2003 08:52

We've never taken our car seat (other than to the Isle of Man) and rented them in Florida with the car - word of warning, the car hire staff will NOT put them in for insurance reasons!!!

We bought a fairly cheap Mothercare stroller which has done us proud - it gets taken from you at the aircraft door usually.

We've never had a problem buying nappies/food/wipes etc abroad although you may have to be flexible about brands

I wouldn't worry unduly about the flight to Florida - your DD will not be mobile (I think!) and won't complain too much about being stuck sitting in the sky cot. (18 months old is a different matter, I still shiver at the thought of last year's flight with DS2!!). DS1 behaved the same on a much shorter flight to/from Portugal at the same age.


aloha · 23/01/2003 09:31

We took ds to France at nine/ten months (couldn't crawl yet) and it was great. We booked a house on the internet so went self catering (a lot easier with a baby IMO, and we could sit out in the evening and eat and drink wine while ds slept. The owners of our property even had a teenage daughter who babysat for us twice in a fortnight and would have done more but we liked staying put. I too would recommend Europe - book your own accomodation or go with Simply Travel who are great and really good at recommending child-friendly resorts/accom, some even come with childcare so you can really have a holiday and even go out in the evening. Southern Spain is a short flight away, beautiful, historical, full of art and should be warm (but not too hot for a baby) in April/May, and the Spanish are crazy for babies and will really help you out. Just take a reasonably lightweight pushchair. Your car hire company can organise a car seat. And you can buy nappies/babyfood/whatever you need when you get there so don't pack too much. Our ds came with us everywhere all day - shops, cathedrals, restaurants etc and was very happy with the constant changes of scene. He also tended to sleep through lunch which was bliss, as dh and I could have a glass of wine and relax over dinner. If he woke, he'd cheerfully chew on bread or bits of omelette. Our only downside was that he started waking very early - around 5am and dh and I had to take it in turns to get up with him. In retrospect, we should have left him to cry a bit at the beginning so he didn't get into the early waking habit. But this was the only real downside. I think 6-7months is the PERFECT age to take a child away until they get to about six or seven years old. Have a great time.

aloha · 23/01/2003 09:34

If you book s/c the owners will often provide baby stuff like a bath. Our owners gave us a pushchair, baby bath, cot with linen, and even toys. I do think Simply Travel have a good reputation for this sort of thing. I've travelled with them a couple of times pre-ds and am seriously thinking of going with them again.

munchbunch · 23/01/2003 09:49

Aloha and Soupdragon - just wanted to say thanks for all the useful advice. Am feeling very excited now about going and will get onto all those sites you recommended pronto!

OP posts:
slug · 23/01/2003 10:26

We took the sluglet to Barcelona aged 4 months. We stuck her in the baby bjorn and walked absolutly everywhere. Apart from her making very loud hooting noises in the Picasso museum(not impressed with the paintings obviously) it was no trouble at all. She flirted and charmed everyone she met (bless) and the only real hassle we had was trying to find places to change her, though I expect this won't be as much of a problem in Florida.

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