Most things in a couple’s life change with the arrival of a baby. And the same certainly goes for our holidays. We didn’t completely change our choice of destinations and we haven’t planned a Centerparcs holiday so far. But we have certainly discovered some things that made our holidays more relaxing when Henrik was a baby than if we had just completely ignored the fact that we had a new travel companion with us and followed our original preferences.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a first round of my fears of traveling with a baby. One fear that I also had was that holidays with a baby can’t be relaxing. When spend your day with a baby, most of your activities somehow involve taking care of him or her. You’re always busy preparing food, feeding, checking and changing diapers, cleaning up messes, comforting, getting them to sleep, entertaining, watching out they don’t hurt themselves.. There doesn’t seem to be much time and space left to just relax and actually enjoy time for yourself. So why bother and travel if it will be just as much work as at home? After different experiences, the success of a holiday with a baby for me comes down to the location and the people you travel with.
Location: If traveling with Henrik, we’ve found it’s best to have an apartment and not a hotel room. It offers more freedom for him and ourselves to move around and be entertained. Also, when he sleeps, we have more options to enjoy the quiet time than if we’re all spending that precious nap time within one single bedroom. Next to the place we’re staying at, it’s of course all about the surroundings and amenities. Henrik was usually happy as long as there was something to play with and he could crawl around freely. Our very first holiday as a family of three took place in Portugal in March 2014. We had hoped for a nice time at the beach and we had a spacious apartment at just 50 metres from the sea. However, the weather didn’t allow for much beach time. It was windy and chilly. So we had to forget about lying on the beach with a baby who’d peacefully be playing with sand next to us. Luckily our terrace was quite windless and we spent time there or made trips to surrounding villages. But we definitely learned to choose safer options regarding destination and travel period for the holiday we had in mind for the trips that followed. Regarding amenities, we’ve learned that even just the presence of a plastic play house at a hotel can mean lots of extra relaxing time for us as parents, so we look for details like that :-).
People: Before we had Henrik, we used to spend our holidays with just the two of us. But since our second holiday with him, we know that planning a vacation together with friends who also have kids can add loads of relaxing time. Of course it’s not for everyone, and some might prefer to travel with their parents, which kind of has the same effect: having your hands free from time to time. In our case, we spent our second baby-holiday in Montenegro, with friends who live abroad. So it’s a double win: you get to see friends you miss most of the year, and you can help each other out with watching your kids for a bit so you can go crazy and… have a swim in the sea as a couple, just to name an example :-). We liked this kind of holiday a lot, have done it with other friends and family since then and definitely think is something we’ll do regularly in the future.