Wednesday’s post of my highly prejudiced take on the top-5 issues when traveling with a baby brought a number of responses, for which I thank everyone.
What came home to me when following the links to a lot of your sites was that a) there’s not a lot of useful information in the travel writing world about real people traveling with real kids (with the exception of our awesome Sheila at Family Travel!), and b) there are a lot of people, mothers and fathers alike, who are working like beavers to change that.
Have Baby Will Travel wrote in, and on her site I found a mountain of information for preparing for travel with little ones. Unlike the article I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, Have Baby Will Travel’s lists of tips and resources is nothing if not comprehensive, and she addresses issues I forgot to even think of: a stroller can make a useful high chair in a pinch; if you’re still exclusively breastfeeding, watch the extreme hiking — exercise lowers milk supply (albeit temporarily); if restaurants or hotels mix rice cereal for you back in the kitchen, triple-check to make sure they haven’t added sugar or salt (this is something I never would have thought of and have subsequently forgotten, but it was a surprisingly frequent issue during our 3-week trip to Europe). This is only a tiny smidge of the great tips on Have Baby Will Travel.
Debbie at Delicious Baby wrote in, too. I was thrilled to find a recent post on her site bemoaning the fact (it’s not just my imagination) that most travel blogs seem to be written by single young men and lack useful information for traveling parents. Hey, just because we have kids doesn’t mean we’re only interested in package vacations, and it certainly doesn’t mean we want to leave the tots behind with Granny! But Debbie only bemoans for a moment — in the same post she’s got a round-up of some of the best women travel bloggers around, including several who write about family travel.
I also wanted to thank Debbie for her comment about babies sleeping on a plane. She points out that you do not have to worry about the air pressure changes for a sleeping baby. Now that’s some information I could have used a couple months ago! My husband the clear-headed physicist would also like to thank Debbie for affirming that he was right all along.
(Aside: The sleeping baby issue was the one that made me realize I needed to indulge in a Zen approach to traveling. Because if you’re lucky enough to get a bulkhead seat where you can put your baby in one of the cots on the fold-out platform (make sure to ask for one of the cots as soon as you get on board, by the way — supply is limited, as we discovered), and even luckier to see your kid drift off, you will be clutching your forehead in despair when the flight attendants tell you how very, very sorry they are, but when the plane hits turbulence and the seat belt sign goes on, you’ve got to pick your baby right back up. And like hell you’re going to get them back to sleep after that.)
And our own editor, Tim Leffel, pointed to his recent review on the Perceptive Travel magazine of the Rough Guide to Travel with Babies and Young Children, which is something I think all we parents are looking for: in his words, a book “for those who want to move about as real travelers instead of coddled vacationers staying in a walled resort or RVers carrying half their possessions along.”
What really makes all these resources stand out is that they include real experiences and stories from real parents. That makes them priceless, and rare, and I am truly grateful for all you who are pioneering the hard work for us.