…and pack the right stuff?
…and not miss the plane?
…and not get him sunburned?
…and not go crazy? 🙂
We (my husband A and our baby G) recently went to the island paradise that we mortals call Boracay on a 4-day, 3-night summer outing courtesy of my husband’s office (I know, right? :D). When we finally decided that we were going, AND that we’re taking our baby with us, a lot of questions popped into my mind: do we bring our baby’s yaya with us? If yes, what will be the additional expense, and can we afford it? If no, how are we going to manage?? I mean, G’s been busy lately learning all sorts of tricks, foremost of which are running away from us, and trying to see how long he can postpone having his diaper put on him. To quote Tony the Tiger, “Grrrrreat!”
Of course the deal was sealed when we learned how much a roundtrip ticket would cost (apparently, since the booking was on short notice, an arm and a leg *cringe*), even if G’s plane fare comes to only about a couple hundred pesos. Since only A’s plane fare was covered by his office, we had to spring for mine and the baby’s. That meant one thing: no yaya. Anyway, we reasoned, if we took a yaya with us, that would mean not only additional plane tickets but meal expenses as well. Anyway, we reasoned, we can take care of him by ourselves. Anyway, we reasoned, how hard can it be (answer: very, but very worth it 🙂 )?
What made the trip manageable, doable and therefore fun was that we helped each other and took turns taking care of the baby. For instance, one of us will eat while the other feeds G or entertains him when he gets bored. Or, while one of us is swimming in the beach with G, the other would stay on the shore and look after our stuff (yes, we had to bring a bag with us on the sea) or take pictures. Or, I carried G while A took care of the airport stuff (check-in, baggage claim, terminal fees, etc.).
Also, a little planning ahead and scheduling helped a lot. Whenever you plan an activity, always take into consideration your needs in tandem with those of the baby. This means allotting time for getting ready to go to the airport, packing your stuff ahead of time (in our case, I started drafting my “things to bring” list less than a week before the trip, and started actual packing a few days before) and packing the right stuff (taking into consideration the activities which you foresee you will be doing, and the items you need to entertain your baby as well), and eating in places where you know that the food served will appeal to all diners involved, adults and babies alike. We were also lucky because our baby loves the water, so the trip is just perfect for him. Even his dad, who is by no means a water baby, enjoyed our swimming expeditions because we can see how much our little one was enjoying the experience.
Here are my tried and tested tips:
1. Bring along a couple of toys and books to entertain your baby; for domestic plane trips, you’ll need to check in at least an hour before your flight, which means some waiting time; these will also entertain your baby when you are just staying in at the hotel while waiting for the perfect time to go out in the sun;
2. Accept that you might exceed your baggage allowance (especially for trips with smaller planes), and bring extra cash accordingly;
3. Ask for your baby’s pedia’s go signal for the trip, especially for young babies. I did this before we took G to Baguio, and again for this trip;
4. Bring at least 2 pairs of footwear for baby, one for his usual outings and another which he can use wet, as he’ll need this for the pool area, the beach, and the shower, the latter especially since you won’t be bringing his baby tub and he’ll have to take a bath standing up on the slippery floor of the bathroom;
5. If your baby takes formula, you will need to bring a sufficient number of bottles and nipples to tide him over during your stay. In our case, four days out of the house meant we will surely run out of bottles, so I brought the bottle sterilizer, bottle brush and baby bottle cleanser (we use Cradle). You might want to try bringing those disposable bottle liners, but I personally have no experience with those and therefore can’t tell you if they will suffice;
6. Aside from baby’s can of formula and sterilized water (which we brought with us; you may also opt to buy it in your place of destination if you can be sure that those are available there), bring also some snacks for him (unless you want to buy those upon arrival), and his daily vitamins as well;
7. Bring a baby health kit, which will include at least the following: thermometer, diaper cream, Salinase nasal drops (for clogged nose), Lacticare or whatever ointment your pedia prescribed for insect bites and the like, infant paracetamol, infant allergy medicine (such as allerkid), insect repellent, a couple of band-aids. I found this especially useful as G got colds and cough while we were on vacation, so the Salinase was used, and I had to make sure that he doesn’t have fever so we were able to use the thermometer. Also, on the second day, he got mosquito bites so the Lacticare came in handy as well; and
8. Bring at least two towels for baby; hotel towels are rarely as soft as you’d want them to be for baby’s use, and in any case I’m not comfortable letting him use a hotel towel anyway. You’ll need more than one for a beach vacation because of the sheer number of times that baby will be taking a dip/bath, and the first one won’t dry completely in time for use for the next dip/bath.
After this trip, we can safely say that, while it was a bit tiring, WE SURVIVED, and we are more than willing to do it again. 🙂