Definitely, travel with kids under five has some extra challenges, but trips with wee kids also make very precious memories. And good news: the winds of change in the travel industry have been blowing your way, making the logistics of travel-with-baby easier. Read about some helpful amenities and services, below.
But first, remember:
Babies and Toddlers are Easily Delighted
Amid all the hoopla about special programs at resorts and razzle-dazzle fun for babies and toddlers -- remember that wee kids can be thrilled for hours by the waves on a beach.
Maybe now's the time for a lower-key getaway: save your dollars for more razz-ma-tazz vacations later on.
Warm Welcome at Many Resorts
That said, if you hanker after a resort vacation, you'll find babies welcomed and cared for in more ways than ever before. For example:
- More resorts are providing baby amenities. The Atlantis Bahamas, for instance, introduced Gentle Travel, with special kit with night-light, lullaby CD, baby care products, Prompt Response hot-line, and more. Club Med has a Baby Welcome program, with amenities, high-chairs, crib, bottle warmer, etc., (in addition to Baby Club Med programs, at some resorts.)
- More facilities for younger kids. The Atlantis is again an example, with waterpark especially for kids under 48", in addition to a baby pool and very large kiddie pool.
- More resorts have nurseries and toddler care
Club Med (at certain resorts), Beaches, and a few other brands have full-blown infant care programs, and also age-specific programs for toddlers and preschoolers (i.e. a program just for 2-3 year olds, another one for 4-5 year olds, etc.) See Resorts with Baby and Toddler Care. At one all-inclusive in Jamaica, each family has their own vacation nanny during their stay.
Disney Cruise Lines is a stand-out in baby-friendliness, with nursery for infants and toddlers from ages of six weeks to three years. Some other cruise lines will take wee kids starting at age two-- but will they change diapers? Find out more about baby-friendly cruise lines.
Meanwhile, over in the world of theme park vacations... Most theme parks offer some areas and attractions designed to delight their youngest visitors, but some go much further: some theme parks devote major sections to the wee set; others are entirely designed for toddlers and young kids.
Disney not only has wonderful areas for tots (such as Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom), the Disney theme parks make a special effort to welcome families with wee visitors, with Stroller rental, Baby Care Centers, "baby swap" and more. See more about Disney Theme Parks for babies and toddlers.
No need to postpone "travel" kinds of trips.
"Travel" is in many ways different from "vacation": travel, for example, might be sightseeing in Paris, or exploring hill towns in Italy, or a road trip with plenty of stops and exploration along the way.
Travel with a baby or toddler entails logistics, no question. But gear is so great, these days: superlative baby backpacks, strollers that can double as carseats and nap-places... And travel with a baby can be extremely rewarding, especially in countries where people tend to dote on babies.
Sometimes, an extended trip with a baby can coincide nicely with a phase of life when you've stepped off the career track.
If you're the kind of parent(s) who hanker to really be travelers-- grab the munchkin and the gear, and go!