The Maldives is thought of as the ultimate honeymoon destination! So that being said it’s not the first place you think Of as a family friendly let alone baby friendly destination. But yet we decided as it’s only a four hour flight away from Doha that it would be a perfect short getaway so here are our top tips and recommendations for doing the Maldives with a baby! Continue reading Maldives with a baby – our 5 top tips and recommendations
Our first cruise with a baby we were lucky enough to be booked into a suite. Despite being seasoned cruisers we had never actually been in a suite before. Most of our previous cruises were done slightly not the cheap – once we went on a week long cruise for less money than we would have spent eating takeaways and at restaurants in our home of London – but that is a story for another day! We keen to have a suite with a baby to have extra space as we knew we wouldn’t be travelling light and thought we would be spending more time in it than usual – so was it worth it?
For us this was a big yes for several reasons
We could store the stroller, car seat, travel cot and luggage without a problem. I believe you can enjoy a cruise with any room size (See my Cruise Cabin Room Guide for Families) but it was certainly nice not to have to look at the baby clutter all the time.
It also meant that we had room to put the baby playmate out to give our little one chance to explore and play safely
It has an amazing balcony with plenty of room for us to sit out while baby played in an inflatable bath as a paddling pool. It also meant we could enjoy the balcony easily while baby was enjoying a nap.
We are experienced cruisers – now being in double figures, and have sailed round the Med, Carribean, Greek Islands, New York and Alaska, so there was no doubt in our mind that we would cruise with our baby! Excitedly we booked our first cruise on Royal Carribean’s Rhapsody of the Seas sailing out of Rome as soon as our daughter hit the required 6 month minimum age (minimum ages vary by cruises but 6 months seems the most common – check with your cruise line before booking).
As I normally do once I book a holiday I started googling. To my horror the first thing I found when looking for information about cruising with a baby was an article on how terrible cruising with a baby was – here’s said article – 9 Reasons Not to Take a Baby on a Cruise! Eek! Had we really been naive in thinking we could continue cruising with our baby? Continue reading Top tips and reasons why you SHOULD cruise with a baby!
Ahead of our trip, one of our greatest concerns was having the appropriate clothing. Those of you that have read my earlier posts, know that as we arrived in Uganda, we lost one of our pieces of luggage. Through this experience though I feel I have learnt a valuable lesson about what clothes are needed for this type of trip, especially if you have limited baggage.
While it is nice to be bright, neutral colours are recommended for trekking and safaris in Africa. Khaki is the colour-du-jour in countries such as Rwanda and Uganda. It is important to remember that blue and black can attract insects, including the dreaded tsete fly and should be avoided. We didn’t actually find this out until after we left.
We read a lot on the subject of clothing for gorilla and chimp trekking before we went, and most advised collared shirts as an essential. This isn’t something that I had for hiking before so I went out and bought a few. These were obviously in the case that didn’t arrive and I have to say I didn’t miss them one bit! Layering is one of the most important things while trekking. It is hot at the bottom, and you get hot when you are walking but as you get higher and for the hour you are with the gorillas it can get cold so layers are essential. I personally find that collars and layering while hiking, is not the most comfortable thing. Therefore I would recommend long sleeve, high neck cotton tops. This provides adequate coverage of areas that are at risk of getting scratched etc, the cotton is both cool and warming and it is easy to put extra layers over. Lightweight fleeces are the best layer, they are light to carry and comfortable to wear. We were very lucky when we were there and never had the need for a waterproof, but it was essential to have one just in case. It also works well as an extra layer if you are cold.
This is something of a personal choice. My husband wore his hat for every trek we did. Personally I found hats bothersome and only used on a bird watching swamp walk, which was far more out in the open.
HIKING BOOTS AND SOCKS
Hiking boots and socks are an essential. However one thing to stress is make sure you get long enough socks. The terrain can be exceptionally muddy and at one point both my husband and I ended up in a river so make sure your socks can tuck in your trousers before you go!
These were the only type of trousers we used and were essential for the same reasons given above. I would personally recommend the zippable version as you can then take the dirty bottoms off when you are back in the car at the end of your trek.
Not really necessary to have your own– most lodges carry these. Check before you go but I wouldn’t bother carrying your own with you
These are perhaps the most important thing to carry with you depending on how far up the mountain the gorillas are. At the top, you will be going through thicket and may need to move prickly plants aside as you continue your trek. The best type of gloves for this are gardening gloves but I would say a good second option would be goalkeeping gloves. Anything thinner and woolen wouldn’t really do the job if the terrain gets tough.
Before our trip we were told that laundry wouldn’t be available. This actually wasn’t true but I imagine you are told as not to rely on it. We had no choice but to rely on it because of our lost luggage but I would say to anyone going, double check whether this is an option for you. If it is, it means you need to pack far less. The laundry for us worked well and dried very quickly but consider the time of year you are going. The lodges we stayed at hand washed our clothes and were dried naturally. At certain times of the year, the climate can be very humid and therefore drying can take a long time. Make sure you pack enough to cope with the drying times but really we found no need to over pack or have a different set of clothes for each day.
What I ended up using:
- Hiking boots
- 5 pairs of hiking socks
- 2 pairs of waterproof trousers
- 3 long sleeve high neck cotton tops
- 1 lightweight fleece
- 1 waterproof jacket
Have you been gorilla or chimp trekking? What are your tips on what to wear?
I am lucky that in the past ten years of my travels I have only had one luggage mishap. Of course it had to happen in the worst place that it could of – Uganda! Not a country exactly known for it’s shopping! Our plan had been to trek to see chimps and gorillas in rural Uganda which obviously requires certain types of clothing. The night before our flight we had a sudden change of heart about the clothes we would wear from our flight from Cape Town to Entebbe! Waterproof trousers, fleeces and walking boots are not the most comfortable attire for a flight but we thought if the worst should happen it would be good to have at least one set of trekking clothes. Thank God we did!
As if to curse us, as we sat on our connecting flight on the Tarmac at Johannesburg airport I noticed our cases, wrapped in plastic and with the gaudiest luggage ties imaginable, being loaded onto the plane. ‘At least we know our bags have made it!’ I remarked happily feeling relieved.
Fast forward a couple of hours, we were the last off our plane and then had to contend with long queues inside the airport as we went through immigration and Ebola screening. By the time we were through, the airport had emptied out so when we saw only 1 bag left on the carousel we knew we had hit trouble!
After an hour at the airport describing our case and full of the sense of dread of never seeing the case again, we left the airport hopefully looking for our ride. With the delay getting through, our driver had left so there was another 30minute wait. When we eventually arrived at the hotel to assess what we had left our patience was somewhat frayed. After assessment, we found we only had pants for only half the holiday, no extra hiking gear but 4 very nice bottles of wine that we had bought during our South African wine tour.
Daddy Wandermust was particularly pessimistic about the chances of our luggage being returned. I thought if we hadn’t heard anything in 24hours then we were in trouble.
Fortunately for us the next day, our case turned up after someone rang us up having mistakenly taking our case. It took a further three days for us to be reunited with our case after it had been flown around Uganda on a plane taking stocks to far flung lodges.
So after this how would I prepare to lose my luggage in future
- Wear the essentials, obvious I know but not always done. Trekking gear did not make for the comfiest of flights but we were so glad we had done it at the other end!
- Have whatever you can’t live without in your hand luggage – for me it was malaria tablets, hand sanitizer, sun cream and my camera but in future I would put a lot more underwear in there! Now travelling with a baby our hand luggage essentials is obviously a lot longer.
- Split your clothes between the cases – again another obvious, but something when you are travelling a lot can be forgotten.
- If all else fails, I can say by experience that having four nice bottles of South African wine doesn’t hurt!
What advice do you have to be prepared in case of luggage disasters?
We vowed that travel wouldn’t stop when we had a baby and we are lucky that, now as parents to a 9 month old (where did that time go), we can still say that travel is a big part of our lives
Baby E’s 9 month Stats
- 11 flights
- 10 cities
- 7 countries
- 1 cruise
- 1 Christmas in the Countryside
We think we’ve done pretty well but there are definitely things we have learnt from our first 9 months of travel with our daughter
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: Continue reading Essential Information and Top Tips for Winter City Breaks with Babies
One of the first holidays we did with baby E was a cruise around the western Mediterranean. As experienced cruisers we knew what to pack for us and for Baby E so thought we’d put together the essential list for others considering taking a baby on cruises. Whether you are new to cruising or perhaps new to cruising with a baby we hope this list will be of use
On embarkation day you leave your main baggage in the cruise terminal which will be delivered to your stateroom later in the day. If you are lucky it will arrive quickly. If you are unlucky it might not arrive until after you have had dinner. So here is what you should bring in your carry on
- Enough milk / food to last until the next morning ( longer if the next day is a sea day)
- Enough nappies and related paraphernalia to last until the next morning ( longer if the next day is a sea day)
- Pram if you want to use to take to dinner or go for a stroll around deck
- Outfit for dinner and other clothing changes as required
- Swimwear if your cruise allows babies and toddlers in the pool (has a baby pool)
- Pjs for all the family
It is mandatory for all cruise guests on the first day to do an emergency evacuation drill. To prepare for this you will need:
- Sun-hat, sunscreen or cold weather clothing depending on cruise location i.e Caribbean or Alaskan!
- Baby carrier – A baby carrier is an essential. If you decide not wait for the lift and use the stairs you will definitely need the carrrier for safety on the stairs.
Have you cruised with a baby? What do you recommend bringing on in embarkation day?
When you think desert you think sandy, hot and inhospitable – perhaps not the first place you think of going with children. But Purple Island is a perfect destination for kids’ first taste of the desert. Purple Island is usual our first port of call whenever we have children visitors. Here;s why:
For most people, trekking to see gorillas and chimps in Uganda is a once in a lifetime experience and you want to come home with a plethora of memorable shots to show your family and friends. But what is the best way of getting these snaps?