The world is getting smaller and most of us are seduced by the allure of unseen places and cultures at some point in our lives. However, whether you are a seasoned traveller or a novice one, your first trip with your baby will almost certainly throw you in a loop. Here are our tips for a smooth and enjoyable trip:
1. Documentation: Most countries in the world require Indian passport holders to obtain a visa, which you will need to obtain anywhere between 1 and 6 months before travel. Here's a list of places that you can visit without a visa, however you will still need a passport, which you will have to obtain for your baby and yourselves, if you don't have one.
2. Travel Budget: The best time to travel is before your baby is 2 years of age when they can fly for free and most hotels will offer you a baby crib without a charge.
3. Commute Time: If this is your first trip with your baby, do yourself a favor and keep the journey short so that you can enjoy maximum time at your destination. Choose cities no more than a 5-hour flight away and no more than a 2-hour drive from the airport. From India, consider Dubai or Singapore.
4. Vaccinations: Before you embark on any exotic travel, check with your doctor for recommended vaccinations for that area. This would include Africa, South America and parts of Southeast Asia.
5. Kiss: Keep it Simple, Stupid! Try to avoid planning something too elaborate or, complicated like visiting multiple cities, going to places that are hard to reach, or planning packed and inflexible itineraries. A simple trip the beach will do nicely!
6. Language: If you choose to go to a country that is not English-speaking, make sure you have basic words like “doctor', “bathroom' and “taxi' down, and that you have a local contact or, hotel concierge who can help you get around.
7. Food: If you are nursing, pack your bags and head out with no fear! Breastfeeding offers the dual benefit of convenience as well as less exposure to germs! For others, familiarize yourself with local cuisines and eating norms and plan accordingly. For example, it's hard to be vegetarian in Spain, so if you are planning a trip to Barcelona, consider renting an apartment with a kitchen so you can prepare your own meals.
8. Babysitting: If you are hoping to get in some sans baby time and are planning on hiring a babysitter in your destination, do some research before hand on local agencies, screening and verification processes, and talk to your hotel about services they can provide. Or stock up on DVDs and wine for your nights in.
9. Political Conditions: Nowadays one can't take for granted that peace and stability exists in every country. In recent years popular destinations like Turkey, Egypt and Mexico have all seen a drop in tourism due to political or social unrest. Do a quick Google search or scan the front page of a newspaper of a country you are looking to visit to get a sense of the national mood.
10. Travel Insurance: Kids are the single largest source of uncertainty in your life. A sudden case of chickenpox or the flu could cause you to cancel your entire trip and it would be a shame to lose all that money, along with the disappointment of a vacation that is no more! Read up on everything you need to know about travel insurance or work with your travel agent to compare quotes.