We loved a city break before parenthood and were determined to carry on doing them with the baby in tow. We have been to nine cities now, and have had great fun as a family (if you want to know how our travel has changed since having a baby or about why we travel with our baby you can read about it here) but last month we went on our first Winter city break as parents. Now we like going to cities in Winter. There are many plus sides – it’s out of season which means there are less people and its cheaper – Win Win! But is this still the case with a baby?
For us the answer was undoubtedly yes! But there are definitely things that you need to think about and prepare for to ensure you have a successful Winter City Break with a Baby. Here’s what we found:
You are not going to be popping in and out!
By this I mean there will be no gentle meandering between shops. This is hard enough in the Summer with a baby in a carrier or stroller but in Winter it is much harder. Temperatures, we found, in shops were a good 20 degrees warmer than outside. Babies in snowsuits are cranky enough without the addition of taking them in to a furnace of a shop. They’ll be a lot of relay shopping in my experience!
That brings me to point 2! Snowsuits are the devils work! They just make for an angry baby! They are hard to get on and hard to get off. NB Note to self – if you insist on dressing your baby as a bear, you will have a coachload of Japanese tourists taking pictures!They also mean that you are going to get cold! And I mean you NOT the baby! If the baby falls asleep in the pram there is no way you will risk waking them to get them out of the snowsuit and take them inside. For us this mean sitting in 0 degree temperatures drinking coffee while the baby was snug as a bug in a rug having a nap!
You will also become obsessed with checking temperature! I lost count on how many times we checked Baby E’s temperature through the holiday –“is she too hot? Is she too cold?”. Like Goldilocks she was always just right but it didn’t mean we still weren’t obsessed.
No matter how many clothes you buy to prepare for cold weather, good luck getting your baby to keep them on! It has been proven that mittens and gloves are 100% ineffective when it comes to babies. Our snowsuit mittens had those buttons to keep them on. I don’t know how but our baby seems to be the Harry Houdini of removing mittens! Hats are another tricky thing. Slightly better than mittens I would say you have a 50% chance of baby keeping them on! Parents definitely need to be eagle eyed for thrown out clothing on a Winter city break!
So was it worth it? Yes is was. We had a fabulous time on our Winter City break! We loved having the city more or less to ourselves, with no wait times at museums or attractions and as long as you plan well you will be fine.
So how can you plan your day to make life easier? Here are our top 5 tips!
- Think about whether you want to be inside or outside for babies nap and plan accordingly.
If you are going on a long walk chances are you will be outside. Make sure you plan for this. Indoors are great if you can get them off but we have always struggled with this cue us sitting outside a coffee shop in the cold waiting for baby to wake up!
- Plan your hotel wisely
I recommend a central location, so you can pop in and out whenever you need/get too cold. Want more advice on finding a perfect city break hotel – check out our guide coming next week!
- Don’t rely on public transport.
We found that when we were moving we didn’t feel the cold but if stood at bus/train/tram stops that was the recipe for seriously feeling the cold. Walking is so much easier with a baby!
- Use the stroller not the carrier
For us, the stroller was definitely the right thing in the cold. We could apply and remove layers as necessary – much easier than in the carrier. Blankets could be taken on and off. You could use the stroller foot pouch to make sure baby’s feet never got cold and we used the rain cover when the wind picked up to protect her from the worst cold temperature. It was also useful for naps. 100% I would use the stroller instead of carrier on Winter City Breaks!
- Make sure you carrier layers
This goes for you and for the baby! The sun goes down early in Winter so chances are you will still be out after sundown. Plan for this by taking plenty or layers and don’t forget things for yourself! Our experience is that we always have had Baby perfectly dressed for the temperature but have neglected ourselves
What are your top tips for a Winter City Break with a Baby?