The goal for this travel blog is to share practical baby travel tips to help parents prepare for their next big adventure. Because of this, we feel it’s also important to get different perspectives by learning from other traveling families.
A few weeks ago we interviewed fellow Canadian Corinne McDermott from Have Baby Will Travel. Corinne is a mother of two who shares her travel advice, trip reports and helpful resources for traveling with small children. Today we would like to introduce Barbara from The Dropout Diaries.
Before we get started, please introduce yourself. How many children do you have and when did you start traveling with them.
My name is Barbara and I’ve been living overseas (in Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand) since 2007. I call my new life my dropout life and tell people I’m having a working holiday because no other term seems to fit.
My husband, who’s Vietnamese, and I have one daughter who turned three in November 2011. She took her first international flight at nine weeks when I took her home to Vietnam from Australia, where she was born.
When she was six months old we relocated to Singapore and just before she was two we moved to northern Thailand for seven months. We’re now back in Vietnam after a two-month solo parenting trip through Europe (my husband was refused a visa. A Vietnamese passport is not really a passport to the world, unfortunately.) Our daughter’s three-year-old Australian passport has been stamped by Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, France, Egypt and Thailand.
I write a food and travel blog called The Dropout Diaries. It’s a random mix of stories from our life and our travels, an exploration of street food and some resource-y type posts that I usually write after someone contacts me asking for advice.
What is the most baby friendly travel destination you’ve visited? Why?
I think it would have to be Vietnam. Most Vietnamese people LOVE babies, and I mean really really love them so much they want to eat them up.
So a baby in Vietnam, especially a white-skinned baby, gets lots of attention. At many restaurants the staff will pluck the baby out of your arms and parade him or her around to all the guests. It means you can enjoy a meal using both your hands for a change.
I did find this baby-snatching a bit frightening at first but after a while I realised that no one wanted to steal the baby, just parade her around like she was a religious relic. Oh, and she LOVED the attention. I think she’s now destined for the stage or the silver screen. She thinks having an adoring public is normal.
What is the one item you always bring when traveling with your baby?
Milk. At three she is still a milk monster. She doesn’t like eating but she’ll drink her bodyweight in milk.
Do you have any travel tips for flying with a baby?
Milk. Get the baby to drink a bottle of milk (or water or juice) at take-off and landing. The sucking action helps equalise their ears and, if you’re very very lucky, will also send them off to sleep.
What has been the biggest “lesson learned” during your travels with baby?
Things are never as bad as I anticipate. And that’s a lesson learned after several international trips as a solo parent. Flights — and tantrums — end eventually and then life goes on. Worrying about the horror of long flights (and long tantrums on long flights) is such a waste of energy.
I will be trying to remind myself that as our next solo-parent long haul flight approaches. We’re heading back to Australia for a few weeks in February.
What advice would you give to parents that are about to go on their first trip with their baby?
The same advice I just gave myself — don’t waste too much time worrying about the potential horror of the trip. Just be as prepared as possible with spare clothes, toys, snacks, drinks and boundless patience.
Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Barbara shares her travels and food delights with Miss M while in Vietnam and around the globe. She’s also very funny. Check out her travel blog and follow her family adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and you can follow her through her RSS feed.
Do you travel with your children? Care to share your travel tips? Contact us today, we’d love to share your story!