On our 4th year of marriage (2017), just before giving birth, we told ourselves to skip traveling to save money and just travel when our son got a little bigger.
To make the long story short, before our son turned one year old, we traveled to 5 countries, had a total of 7 airplane rides, and spent a total of 50 days abroad. We traveled when our son was 3 months, 4 months, 5 months, 7 months, and 10 months. So much for our “no traveling after giving birth” plans. Haha.
The first trip was the hardest. We didn’t know what to expect, but we learned a lot. It suddenly became easier and easier. It’s true when they say practice makes perfect.
A lot of our friends have asked us for advice when it comes to traveling with infants. But honestly, I can’t think of any specific advice since all babies are different. What works for me might not work for some babies. And traveling with a 3 month old is not the same as traveling with a 10 month old.
So let me just share my experience.
This story will be divided into two parts, pre-solids (less than 6 months of age) and post-solids (6–12 months).
We went to Japan when Navi was 3 months old.
It was our first trip and we wanted to make sure we wouldn’t forget anything at home. So, we kind of brought all of his stuff with us: his co-sleeping pillow, a breastfeeding pillow, stroller, two kinds of ring slings, a pair of lampins for each day that we were away, swaddles, 2 packs of diapers, toys, two jackets, and three different kinds of clothing per day. We were only gone for 5 days.
As first time parents, we didn’t know any better. We had so much things with us that we got exhausted carrying all those stuff. They said traveling with a 3-month old was the easiest. Looking back now, I would have to agree haha. But back then it was sooo hard.
But we learned.
- We learned that we didn’t have to bring that much clothing because there was a washing machine that’s readily available when you book an AirBnb unit.
- That we shouldn’t have brought things that we don’t normally use back home (like the ring slings and nursing pillow.)
- That we don’t need a lot of toys to entertain a baby — the new environment would be enough entertainment for him.
- That 3-month old babies are very low maintenance! All you need is a good nursing cover for his mealtime (for breastfeeding mommas) and a stroller for when he’s sleeping. All they do is drink milk, sleep and poop all day everyday!
- That Tokyo is not that stroller friendly. Some trains don’t have elevators or ramps, no wonder most of the moms we saw used carriers.
Then we went to the United States when he was 4 months old.
California, to be exact. We stayed there for a month, until he was 5 1/2 months. Our plane ride was 13 hours, we were a little anxious because we didn’t know how Navi would respond to it. Good thing it was a direct flight!
We took notes from our first trip. But of course, we encountered different set of challenges —
- The 13-hour flight. Keeping a baby still for 1 hour is a challenge. Keeping him still for 13 hours is almost impossible. Booking an evening flight helps since he’ll be asleep majority of the time (in our case, Navi slept for 10 hours straight with feedings in between).
- Jet lag! Navi is an easy baby (thank God) so it wasn’t really a problem for him, he slept at night despite the time difference. It was actually us, the parents, who had a hard time because we would be so tired from all the jet lag and taking care of a baby.
- The most difficult challenge for me was flying a plane from SF to Burbank alone with an infant, a backpack (aka his diaper bag), a luggage, and a stroller. It was probably the most tiring thing I’ve done the whole trip.
- Not having Ace around for 2 whole weeks. Not just because of #sepanx, but he’s actually been the baby whisperer since Navi was born (yes, surprisingly he’s the one who puts the baby to sleep.) Thankfully, I stayed with our relatives so it wasn’t that hard not having Ace around. Having someone with you is so important when you are traveling — whether that may be your husband, mom, sister or friend.
- Not having enough luggage space! We brought with us one luggage, and we came home with three luggages and one small balikbayan box. Okay, so the problem isn’t actually the luggage space, but all the shopping I did. OOPS!
- Not being able to maximize the theme parks — because all of the fun rides aren’t for kids. Taking turns in lining up wasn’t an option since the waiting time for the rides range from 45 mins to about 2 hours! We realized that once you have kids, theme parks are actually for them, not for the parents. BUT it makes it all worth it seeing them oh so happy.
Read Part 2 of the post HERE.