Infant travel? Backpacking with a kid? Travel with children? If any of these questions have popped up in your mind, we are here to say, you CAN travel with your infant. And, still have a good time! No, you aren’t dreaming. If you want to know how, keep reading. The truth is, travelling with your family mostly depends on your mindset. If you think you can do it, you will.
We wish we could travel with kids! How do we start?
You’ve come to the right place! Stop wishing and start planning. To begin with, if this is your first time planning a trip with an infant, some questions you may want to ask yourself are:
- Where do you want to go?
- What type of vacation are you looking for? All inclusive or a hostel?
- When do you want to go? Summer? Winter?
These are just a few to get you started. To begin with, jot down the travel related things that interest your family. In due time, you will be well on your way to planning your family trip.
Travel doesn’t stop when you have children, It only gets better
Let’s rewind a bit shall we, to life sans infant. For years we looked like the walking stereotypes of a typical “backpacker”. You know, the kind of vagabonds you see carrying nothing but a backpack, wearing hiking zip pants, and using floss in twenty different ways (i.e. as a clothes line)? That was us! Since we traveled lightly, we only had the bare necessities as our backpack was “our home.” And, it worked well for us. Of course, nothing much has changed now except our infant ended up replacing one of our backpacks. Our lives are more fulfilled and meaningful because we continue to travel as a family.
Infant travel: Packing like a Pro to Carry-on only
We’ve learned that when your third companion is roughly the weight and size of a backpack, it is best to do the following:
Travel light. Bring the bare necessities. Pack a few pairs of clothes, preferably those that you can hand wash. Dress in layers. If you can’t bring everything you want due to size or space, just make do with what you have. Same goes for packing for your infant. To read about some travel hacks click here. For a free copy of our ultralight infant packing list click here.
Ditch the toys. At the time, we didn’t need to bring any toys because water bottles, napkins, and plastic spoons were enough to capture our son’s attention and keep him entertained. In addition, it’s amazing what a smile, cuddle, or reading from a dessert menu can do to keep things fresh and interesting. Infants love that, or at least ours did.
Pack healthy snacks and drinks. Whenever our son was hungry, thirsty, tired, bored or just needed comfort, he didn’t have to go far for a sip. During our trip to Barbados, I was breastfeeding which certainly helped. Moreover, this was a life-saver for us and it was helpful on-the-go. Equally important, is a bottle of water or powdered milk especially if you find yourselves in the middle of nowhere with no amenities in sight.
Turn on the AC. First of all, this is for the accommodation that you choose, if you happen to go during the hot season. Because most of our family trips were to the tropics, we found that fans did not cool the room enough for our infant. For instance, when a baby doesn’t sleep, it adversely affects everyone. On the positive side, air conditioning was the best choice for us as it offered a two-in-one service; a cooling system and a noise machine.
Push, carry or both. Additionally, we suggest to try out several products before your trip to see what works for your family. For easy baby carrying, our favourite is a light colour organic 100% cotton breathable carrier with a privacy flap; worn easily on the hips, and in 3 ways (front, back or sideways). As an alternative, an umbrella stroller (with a shade) is handy if you mostly travel in an urban environment or on paved roads. By the same token, an umbrella stroller serves for a good resting place for better naps and gives parents a break from carrying.
Backpacking with a baby is a great adventure in itself
People have asked us “What is it like to backpack with an infant?” Truth is, it has been such a rewarding experience. Also, it has its adventures and challenges, but nothing beats it. No sunset, air plane ride, or papaya slice is the same, because it’s more meaningful with our son. Yes, there are times when things may take 20 mins longer to get ready, or we might have to do an impromptu diaper change on a rock, but the key is to have a positive attitude (and a sense of humour helps too)!
Got any tips for backpacking with kids? Feel free to share in the comments section below.
Darlynne founded Live Love Backpack to inspire others to make a positive difference in the world through traveling, volunteering, and self-awareness. Darlynne has traveled to over 76 countries. Family adventures include backpacking off the beaten path, hiking in Ontario and creating happy memories.