I’m not a supermom, far from it, so when my husband Josh mentioned that he wanted to take our daughter Mahal travelling at 4 months old, I gave him a blank stare. This expression was a combination of lack of sleep and confusion from the ideas that Josh was trying to present. Was he kidding me? I could hardly function in my own home, how would I care for a baby overseas?
Back then I thought Josh was being unrealistic with his interpretations of how we would make this happen. Now I am ever so grateful that he easily convinced me to pursue this adventure with Mahal. We ended up travelling to the Philippines so I could introduce Mahal to her great grandparents. We spent 2 and 1/2 months there and then decided to explore Singapore and Malaysia.
Here are 7 reasons why you should travel with your baby:
You have the time off.
Parental leave is the perfect time to travel. I was fortunate enough to have a paid leave and my husband was able to take time off work with no hassles. Trips can be expensive so the key is to save plenty of money ahead of time especially if only one of you has a paid parental leave. Enjoy your time with your family, it’s like a second honeymoon…sort of.
Kids fly for free up until 2 years old.
Speaking of money…you’re technically saving some cash because for most airlines, babies/kids up to 2 years old are free to fly! We managed to squeeze in 7 countries by the time Mahal was 2 years old. What a great deal! Kids at this age don’t get their own seat and just spend the airtime in mommy or daddy’s lap.
Babies are portable.
Easy & light to carry. There are so many ways to carry your baby when travelling. We used a backpack and sling but sometimes did without both carriers and just cuddled Mahal in our arms. She was so light to carry that we were able to take her on several hikes including an adventure along the rice terraces.
Meet new people.
Everywhere we went, people were drawn to Mahal. Her smile, laughter and sometimes cries made people stop, stare and approach us. We met new people every day, whether it was on a bus ride, wandering around a small town or hanging out on a beach. One day we put Mahal in her jolly jumper and attached it to a tree. Within minutes, we had a crowd surrounding our baby laughing and amazed at this contraption. Great way to start a conversation!
Yes, eventually they sleep! I won’t lie, I thought I was going to pull out my hair on the long 13+ hour plane ride to the Philippines. Mahal wouldn’t sleep in my arms or in the bassinet the airline provided us. She cried, was cranky and slept for only short periods of time. After an adjustment phase, Mahal ended up sleeping on long bus & jeepney treks and the rest of the airplane rides. I know it sounds too good to be true and I realize that all babies are different but it was just something she started to do. I think the noise on the plane put her to sleep and she loved the movements on the bus and jeepneys….a perfect cradle for her. So don’t worry, you will have some quiet time when you travel.
Travelling with a baby has some perks.
At first I felt a little guilty for all the attention we were receiving with Mahal, but then embraced the opportunities we were getting. We had the opportunity to board the plane first and get settled in (which also means first dibs on overhead luggage space, yes it’s sneaky), secured seat on a crowded bus (no one wants to see a parent struggle to keep their balance while holding a baby), and we got upgrades in hotels (this happened to us a couple of times, one hotel had planned to stick us in a small room located in the basement but as soon as they saw Mahal *poof* our room changed to a view overlooking the beach and balcony).
Watch your baby meet their ‘milestones’ in a different country.
I love how Mahal rolled over for the first time, started saying ‘da da’ and stepped in place while in the Philippines. And don’t feel guilty that grandpa or grandma didn’t see these amazing accomplishments, as internet will help share the important moments. We would connect with Mahal’s grandparents this way and actually had the chance to show them her cuteness in rolling over.
This article originally appeared on Big World Little Traveller and is republished here with permission.