Traveling With An Infant? Keep These 5 Things in Mind
It had been a year since I had stepped out of domestic premises for a real holiday. New motherhood does that, and I was its recent victim. Long days and longer nights made sure that my frustration seeped out of my skin and passed on to my husband, like osmosis. He realized he had to plan something nice and quick. And so, he announced one day, “Pack your bags for a 3-day holiday. We’ll go by road.”
Excited is an understatement for what I felt. It was the first trip that we were planning as a family. Plus, I would be out of my house, in new clothes and not pyjamas that I was living in. And I didn’t have to cook or clean, I could breathe in fresh air and relax.
Did I say relax? Maybe I had said it out too loud. Because Murphy’s law played its game well with us. We started off all happy and cheerful with bags in car and baby in hand. But thirty minutes into the drive, our year-old daughter fell sick. The new clothes of mine didn’t stay shiny and fragrant for long. I had her vomit all over me – not just once but twice. We were not prepared for her motion sickness. The four-hour journey seemed an arduous one. The music CDs we carried stayed put in their cases. Our smiles hid behind our worry for the little one. And our relief knew no bounds when we reached our destination, safe and sound.
Traveling Tips for Parents
They say that every crisis is an opportunity in disguise. As a couple, despite our short-term frustration, it taught us a few worldly tips.
1. Always carry extra pair of clothes (for you as well)
You can never be prepared for what may ruin your clothes when you are traveling with a baby. So, while you may pack heavy for your little one, don’t forget that you may need some more too. The vomit during the drive is a case in point.
2. Carry Medicines and a Thermometer
This should be at the top of your checklist, even if you are out for a short, day trip. You can never predict what could go wrong when you are travelling with a young child. Our holiday destination was in the countryside with the closest medical facility an hour away. Fortunately, we had carried her medicines and thermometer. So, when the need arose, we were prepared.
3. Take Some Ready-to-Eat Food
You may be going to the most expensive five-star resort where you know food would be varied and delicious. Plus, the chefs would go out of their way to prepare special meals for your baby. But guess what? Your baby may choose to reject all of that. She may only want her favourite cereal. To cater to such scenarios, be prepared with boxes and containers of her go-to meal.
4. Accept That Doing Things Together May Not be Possible
This stands true even if your baby is not sick. For all you know, she may just be fussy and want to play when you two want to have a quiet dinner. My husband and I didn’t have a single meal together, in peace, during our travel. Nor could we do any touristy things like trekking, kayaking, wildlife safari etc. Everything was centred around what our baby could do. Instead of fighting this, just accept that this is reality. Just figure out how to have fun, even if your hands are tied.
5. Be Extremely Patient With Each Other
This must be stated and underlined – perhaps, even several times. When your holiday turns out wildly different from what you expected it to be, it is easy to snap at the person right in front of you. Our trip gave my husband and I several occasions to pull each other’s hair out. But the physical presence of our baby in front of us, perhaps toned us down. We chose not to argue in front of her and it indirectly worked out in our favour. We evolved and let each other have fun, individually. When I fed her, hubby stepped out and had his chilled beer and when he walked around with her, I cycled in nature. So, if patience could be packed and traveled, carry loads of it.
(Barkha Shah is a Freelance Writer and a Digital Marketing Strategist. This new mom keeps her creative enthusiasm alive with books, food, good humour and new experiences.)