We travel for more than 200 days and visited already 13 countries. On most of the days, we really enjoy traveling. On other days… well, we share our experience on how to make it better 😉
Of course, we want to see as much as possible during our travel. Therefore, we took off every day in the morning – when our little one slept – to a new destination. The afternoons were filled with sightseeing or discovering the nature around us. After a while this speed is really exhausting. This is especially true when we have reschedule e.g. because the camp site is full, sleep is shorter than expected, we have to fill gas or need to go grocery shopping…
Nowadays, we stay 2-3 nights at a sight. After 4 weeks or so, we take a couple of days off – no sightseeing or traveling. We spend those days at a nice place baking, playing and reading in our motorhome.
If you are traveling with a baby you don’t get much done. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It can be already too much even if you had only 4 things to see in a city. Like we had to learn in Amsterdam. We wanted to see the Anne Frank house, go on a canal tour, have a picnic in the Vondelpark and visit the flower market.
Had we checked the Anne Frank website we would have known that it is booked out several days in advance. We postponed the canal tour hour by hour because there was so much to see. We didn’t even come near Vondelpark. Finally, we have been at the flower market (where by the way no flowers are sold 😉
Without question, Amsterdam was great. But we might have felt less stressed if we had just wanted to go to the flower market. Doing it the way we did, it produced a lot of bad conscience, that we did not get to do everything we wanted.
On the other side, it wouldn’t have been an option to not have any plan and just go with the flow. We had to learn that in Lyon. We just got there and went through the streets of Lyon – with Baby slower than other tourists – and we see … nothing. There are of course a couple of nice buildings but we don’t know their historical background. We go into some churches and by accident stumble upon an UNESCO world heritage site. It was quite nice to look at it but we didn’t really value the location because we just found out later. To inform ourselves during the visit is not possible with our baby, who doesn’t have the patience that we can read everything.
Therefore we decided to concentrate on exactly one item per location per day. That way we don’t feel stressed. And while focusing on one thing, we discover many interesting things on our way to the focus point.
For example, we visited a delftware manufacturer in Delft. On the way to the factory we discovered delicious hand made chocolate and tasted the cheese assortment at Henri Willig.
In Brüssels, we planned our own chocolate praline tasting. When hunting the pralines we automatically passed by most of the sights and had real Belgium fries for Lunch.
Babies need routines. That is also important for our baby and still it is a little bit more difficult to keep up with the routines when traveling.
We solved the problem the way that we use her morning sleep to either drive or to start our ONE day activity – like sightseeing, enjoying nature or just the life around our motorhome. As soon as our little one awakes, we take a break. We either go into a restaurant/café, we have a picnic or we prepare lunch at home in our motorhome. After lunch, she has her afternoon sleeping time and afterwards is playtime. We play in a park, train walking in nature or romp in our motorhome.
Whatever we plan and do during the day, we keep the sleeping and eating times constant. That way, we always have a cheerful baby that experiences a new city almost everyday.
Of course, you could just load the stroller and carry everything with you. Well, we want to be “light” on the road.
Therefore, everything needs to fit into a hand bag or a small back pack:
- Baby wrap: If the little one does not want to sit in the stroller anymore, we carry her in the baby wrap.
- Shoes: Streets and restaurants are just not that nice barefoot.
- Toys: Just one piece; but for restaurants and cafés absolutely necessary. Otherwise, tables and chairs are licked and napkins are teared apart.
- Bib: As soon as we eat something “baby compatible” our little one eats with us. – And yes, even a single strawberry produces wonderful stains 😉
- Cloth diaper: We use the cloth diaper as a multifunctional cloth for instance to generate a little privacy when breast feeding or a clean changing table pad.
- Diaper bag (includes 2 diapers and wet wipes): Since we practice elimination communication with our baby, we rarely need the diaper bag. However, if we need it, we really need it.
- Sun cream: We tend to forget it, if it is still cloudy when we leave.
- Drink: The little one gets mainly breast milk but from time to time she prefers water or tea.
Summary of our 4 learnings when traveling stress-free with babies
- Travel plan: Plan 2-3 overnight stays per activity and a rest after max. 4 weeks.
- Activities: Plan exactly ONE activity per day.
- Routine: Have fixed sleeping and eating times whatever you plan during the day.
- Package list: 8 items are enough to make your baby happy.