Where and how to travel with baby: tips from a mom
25 April 2019
Even if the adventure always seems a little frightening, travelling with a baby has never been as easy as today. Not only do most destinations offer services adapted to families but also the necessary equipment dedicated to young children does not cease to evolve towards greater autonomy and simplicity of use. I propose to overcome these bias ideas one by one as not to lose the pleasure of travelling with the family.
- At what age can my baby travel?
- Destinations to avoid
- Recommended countries
- Baby-friendly hotels
- By plane or by car?
- What to pack?
1 – At what age can my baby travel?
In theory, you baby can take part to a trip from the age of 2 weeks. However, reason often invites parents to wait a couple more weeks because newborns need a lot of sleep, a calm and suitable rhythm of life. Except in cases of absolute necessity, it is recommended to wait until a baby is 3 or 4 months old to undertake a long trip. It also allows parents to be more at peace on the spot.
Note however that if there are few constraints on the minimum age, you must be extremely organized. A trip with your baby is to be prepared well in advance in order to limit and anticipate as much as possible the unexpected and inconveniences.
2 – DESTINATIONS to avoid
From a general point of view, when travelling with young children, it is advised to avoid destinations with a security or sanitation risk. Politically instable countries or ones located in regions where the climate is too harsh are strongly discouraged. A too high altitude is also not ideal for babies, and areas where there is a risk of contracting certain diseases such as malaria are also to be avoided. It is preferable to opt for regions where the time difference is not too important, so it does not disturb your baby’s biologic clock. For exotic travel enthusiasts, think about choosing the right season, meaning the dry season during which the rains are not abundant and during which the humidity is also not too high.
Parents are advised to avoid destinations that are highly exposed to direct sun rays during high season. The skin and eyes of your baby are extremely fragile, but more importantly, they are unable to protect themselves properly from the ugly UV rays without the use of the correct equipment… Then, remember to bring for your little one an anti-UV outfit, a hat, but also baby sunglasses and an adapted organic solar protection.
3 – Recommended countries
During the winter, the Caribbean is recommended for a trip organised between the months of December and April. The Dominican Republic however remains a delightful family destination. On the agenda: coconut trees and palm trees as far as the eyes can see, turquoise water lagoons, fine white sand beaches, not to mention the easy-going lifestyle of the island and the sense of hospitality of its inhabitants which this country is famous for.
Another Winter destination highly sought out by families is Thailand. South-East Asia is a favourable region of the world for family trips. Considered to be sacred, children receive special attention from the people.
From the beginning of Spring until the end of Summer, France, Europe usually, offer pleasant weather and a beautiful diversity of landscapes. Greece, Italy or the Beleric islands guarantees a complete change of scenery and luxuriant nature, accessible in only a 4-hour flight from Paris.
Between June and September, Bali remains a very popular destination by families to avoid the monsoon season, which is very trying in this region of the world. The island offers a large panel of nautical and sporting activities in the heart of breath-taking landscapes where white sand beaches mix with paddy fields.
4 – “Baby-friendly” hotels
My most precious piece of advice would be to stay in a family hotel with kids-friendly facilities, just like those offered by The Little Guest Hotels Collection. The quality label put together luxurious and prestigious hotels with essential amenities for your little ones’comfort (car seat, baby bottle warmer, emergency pacifier, sterilizer, etc.), but also baby-clubs. Vacations are even more enjoyable for parents who are able to entrust their baby, without any fear, to care takers specially trained to welcome and entertain them.
The Martinhal Lisbon Cascais, Portugal
The Martinhal Lisbon Cascais Family Hotel is an unmissable address for families, on the Atlantic coast of Lisbon. Located only 30 minutes away from the Portuguese capital, the hotel offers a free baby-club, from the 1st of November until the 31st of March, for children of 6 months to 18 months old and in a playing area of 2,300 sqm where the little ones enjoy carefree fun under the amused eyes of their parents or a loving and experienced caretaker, part of the hotel’s babysitting service (from 16€/h).
The Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, Morocco
It is on the West coast of Morocco, at the magnificent beach of El Jadida, that children from 3 month to 4 years of age are royalty! At the Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, a free baby-club offers a large panel of playful and creative activities (drawing, painting, arts and crafts, etc.). The hotel also makes available a great babysitting service for the little ones (14€/h), as well as numerous facilitating equipment needed every day like prams, or kids’ menus and high chairs in its restaurants.
The Soneva Kiri, Thailand
Located on the private bay of the island of Koh Kood, the eco-resort Soneva Kiri welcomes thousands of little Robinson Crusoe’s every year in its kids-friendly installations. Toddlers from 12 months to 4 years old join the villa of the baby club « Eco Den », where they are welcomed and supervised by experienced care takers. The little ones also enjoy a superb outdoor playground with a swimming pool with its own slide! After 6pm, the nannies of the babysitting service take over (from 16€/h).
Hotels with baby menus
Mirtillo Rosso Family Hotel, Italy
Dedicated to families, the Mirtillo Rosso hotel is a mountain resort with a breathtaking view of the surrounding peaks, as well as all the invigorating benefits of the Alps fresh air. This hotel, a family hotel in every sense of the word, is very attentive to the well-being of the little ones. Its baby-club welcomes little ones from 1 to 3 years old. The establishment has an eye for detail and goes so far as to create moments of mini insertion so the child can familiarize himself with his new environment. Parents are also invited to participate in this essential step for their babies’ comfort! There is nothing more reassuring than knowing in which hands the light of our life will be in.
In the same spirit, this establishment prepares custom-made meals for the little ones! The proof is that a menu is especially dedicated to children from 0 to 2 years old: small purees and tasty broths are prepared every day with fresh products as if the Chef were preparing them for his own children!
Shanti Maurice Resort & Spa, Mauritius
Located in a peaceful family spa, Shanti Maurice nestles on the south coast of the island of the same name. It enjoys an idyllic tropical setting and a superb creek inhabited by hundreds of corals.
Shanti Maurice Resort & Spa offers freshly prepared purees and compotes for babies under 6 months of age. To ensure that the small stomach of its “Little Guests” is not disturbed and colic is avoided, the hotel offers not only allergen-free menus but also milk and reheat dishes from the Bledina and Nestlé brands, perfectly adapted to babies.
As a bonus, the hotel offers a baby-club accessible to babies from 4 months old and offers parents a high quality babysitting service!
Villa Sungai, Bali
Do you like custom-made products? Villa Sungai, located on the southwest coast of Bali, folds in four to satisfy everyone’s desires. Introduction to local customs, preparation of offerings for the surrounding temples, sharing with the inhabitants of the surrounding communes: a real lesson in life!
While their parents enjoy the restaurant’s refined flavors, the little gourmets find their happiness “à la carte”. The “Bali Babes” menu offers a wide variety of purees (made from fruit, vegetables, meat, fish) freshly mixed by the Chef for the little ones taste buds. A delight!
Baby-club from 2 months old
Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort, Algarve
Looking for a baby club for your little one? After the arrival of a baby, parents often need to recharge their batteries. It’s good news Anantara Vilamoura is one of the few establishments in our collection that offers a service for children from 2 months old! Nestled in an enchanting setting not far from the beach and the ocean, this establishment is ideal for exploring the Algarve under the sun.
The nursery’s varied program includes many activities: workshops and games to learn colors or letters, to recognize the sound of farm or jungle animals, painting sessions and even baby-gym. To promote and maintain the awakening of babies, Anantara Vilamoura even includes activities inspired by Montessori pedagogy, such as sensory bottles (Our article on Montessori will give you all the keys to learn more about this innovative pedagogy). After all these activities, the “dream time” is the ideal time to gently recharge your batteries.
Le Grand Hôtel des Thermes, Saint Malo
Looking for an iodized break on the Emerald Coast? The Grand Hôtel des Thermes Saint Malo can be recognised by its splendid Belle Epoque facade, behind which hides its famous thalassotherapy centre. Families looking for rest and well-being like to pack their bags in this emblematic hotel.
While their parents relax at the Spa, children from 2 months to 6 years old enjoy an exclusive stimulation space. Open Monday to Saturday, the baby-club is supervised by early childhood professionals. Toddlers who wish to have lunch with their new playmates and their favourite entertainers are welcome at the mini club from 12:30 to 2pm!
Sport Hotel Hermitage & Spa, Andorra
At the bend of the valleys and peaks of the Pyrenees, Andorra is a charming country, perfectly suited for a family break. Renowned for its superb ski slopes, the Principality is a real paradise for skiers and snowboarders! Surrounded by forest, the Sport Hotel Hermitage & Spa offers all the contemporary luxury in a setting that has kept all its authenticity.
At the heart of the establishment, a colourful and playful play area welcomes children from 2 months to 4 years old every day from 10am to 10pm, at a price of 25€/hour. Toddlers play safely under the watchful eye of a professional and experienced team. Lunches can even be taken on site for 10€.
Hotel Royal Evian, France
Evian is a spa town par excellence, known worldwide for its famous mineral water of the same name, which springs up in the heart of the Alps of Haute-Savoie. Nestled along the French shore of the famous Lake Geneva, Royal Evian is a remarkable establishment for families. Among the many assets of this hotel, the cures specially designed for young mothers and their babies from 4 to 10 months are a real must. On the program: introduction to infant massage and skin care.
A break of well-being and complicity as well as a dedicated program: mom will learn to massage her baby and communicate with them through exclusive programs, not to mention relaxing and beauty care, while baby will be cared for (from 4 months) by early childhood professionals at Baby Resort. The ideal equation to reconnect with your body!
In addition to a play area, the Baby Resort offers a baby bottle shop, a change room and a nap area. Prices vary according to the hours worked: 2h/30€, 4h/50€ (lunch or snack included), 4h and more/85€ (lunch and meals included).
Grand Hotel Thalasso and Spa, Saint-Jean de Luz
Its pink facade is almost reflected in the waters of the Bay of Biscay… Grand Hotel Thalasso & Spa proudly stands its 1900 silhouette on the beach of Saint Jean de Luz. In a magnificent bay, not far from the heart of a pedestrian city, it enjoys an incredible geographical location, between the sea and the mountains, only 10 minutes from Spain!
In the hotel’s heart, Thalasso & Spa Loreamar reserves the best in terms of fitness and well-being. For the little ones, the Aquatic Awakening program is reserved for 3-6 years old. It is in the inland seawater pool that toddlers can learn to familiarize themselves with the aquatic world while being accompanied by the benevolent help of competent therapists. For the comfort of all, the hotel’s Kids-club also welcomes children from 3 to 16 years old!
Need more inspiration? Little Guest has selected the most beautiful luxury hotels with baby club for you.
Looking for a one-on-one evening?
Most baby clubs close their doors around 6pm. But for parents who wish (for once!) to have a dinner for two or go for a romantic walk on the beach at night? Little Guest has found some pearls for you: baby clubs that are open a little later than the others… and allow parents to enjoy the early evening!
The Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa, Algarve
The Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa, a sublime hotel estate located in Albufeira, Algarve, is no longer being presented. Its very pretty crèche welcomes toddlers between 6 months and three years old, during the week until 6pm, but it is above all its top-of-the-range baby-sitting service, provided 24 hours a day, that will satisfy couples in need of special moments together.
Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites, Lisbon
In the heart of historic Lisbon, the Martinhal Lisbon Chiado is described as “The World’s First City-Centre Elegant Family Hotel”! Elegance, cosy atmosphere and colors are all here to stay in this magnificent apartment-hotel complex. Speaking of baby-club, until October 31, 2019 it’s open from 9:30am to 10pm! The opportunity to eat a delicious Arroz de marisco or to walk down the narrow streets of Lisbon together.
Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife, Canarias
It’s on the volcanic island of Tenerife, not far from the famous city of Adeje, that you can find the Hard Rock Hotel. This innovative and luxurious establishment offers you the chance to spend your vacation in a combination of the island’s extraordinary atmosphere and the energy of some legendary music. The Hard Rock Hotel is also fully kids friendly and offers a baby-club to its little guests. The Lullaby baby club is open every day until 9 P.M. and once per week until midnight ! Let’s rock !
5 – By plane or by car?
The question on which method of transportation is best often turns into a real brain teaser when travelling with a baby. Moving around with a young child always requires carrying a lot of things (baby equipment, food, change of clothes, etc.).
For short distance travel, the car remains the most popular method of transport for families. Very practical it offers a greater freedom and allows to not have too many restrictions in terms of luggage but also a bigger freedom on schedules and stops ‘à la carte’. The only inconvenience: most of the time the arrival time is uncertain. Browse this article on travelling by car with a baby for more useful tips.
For longer distances, we prefer the plane. Usually children fly for free until the age of 2 and a cradle is made available on long flights. The only inconvenience is the waiting at the check-in which is sometimes very long. Discover the conditions related to your baby’s luggage. If you are pregnant and you are apprehensive about travelling by plane this article on advice for pregnant women taking the plane will be very useful to you.
Either way whatever the method of transport you choose, think about bringing an ultra-light cane stroller and a baby carrier to circulate as freely as possible, without overburdening you unnecessarily.
6 – What to pack?
Print a checklist
Preparing the baby’s suitcase requires a little organization and a lot of common sense. It’s about not forgetting anything, anticipating all possible scenarios and above all, staying zen! To accompany you in this heavy task, here is a downloadable check-list made to organize suitcases of babies from 0 to 3 years old. Thanks to this checklist, preparing baby’s luggage becomes a breeze So much so that baby will probably claim the appropriation of his own travel baggage. Autonomy made possible by all the children’s suitcases available on the market. Among them, the number one carrying suitcase: The Dream Rider by Samsonite, for which we wrote a review.
Regarding the choice of clothes, a little common sense is enough to prepare the bag. Keep in mind, however, that if the days are hot and sunny, evenings can be very cool, as is the case in Northern Thailand.
The essential first aid kid
Also remember to pack a first aid kit for the little sores of everyday life, consisting of some essential drugs. If you need to buy medicine on the spot, always go to an official pharmacy!
If you are going to a hot and / or humid country, do not forget to bring with you a small mosquito net to easily hang around a cradle or stroller. Also plan for light but covering clothes to properly equip your baby against mosquitoes until the end of the evening. All our mosquito prevention tips and tricks are listed in this article.
What documents to bring?
For official documents, inquire several months before your departure date to make sure you do not forget anything. In general, when traveling within one’s country of origin, an identity card is sufficient to justify the age of the child for charging, especially for train journeys. Before 4 years old, it is not even necessary by train or car. By contrast, airlines require ID for domestic flights for any passenger, regardless of age.
When one leaves the national territory, identity papers are required for the whole family. In EU countries, the Schengen area and Switzerland, the identity card is sufficient. For the rest of the world, only the updated passport will serve as an identity document. It is mandatory and sometimes requires a visa. You will find all the necessary information on the France Diplomatie website.
Keep calm et have a nice trip !
Catherine, married, Justine’s mom, from Paris