How to travel with a 3 month old and live to tell about it!
When my daughter was born we decided she was going to experience the world like we had long before we were blessed with her. “Just because we have a baby,” I’d say, “doesn’t mean we have to stay at home!” You might find this shocking but we didn’t take her to Disney World for her first trip. I know, don’t tell Uncle Walt!! It was the week of July 4th and we had been to Disney many times that week in the past and knew it was a sweltering heat with wall to wall people. These ingredients probably wouldn’t make for a very good first trip to Disney. So, along the lines of the old game Where’s Waldo, we started looking at where we could go. Somewhere cool, somewhere we hadn’t been and somewhere that didn’t require a passport.*
We picked Canada, eh! Montreal and Quebec City to be exact. What a gorgeous part of the world!! We like to call it poor man’s Europe, but we’ll delve into that another time. So flights were booked, I started the painstaking task of finding the perfect hotel, and the trip planning began. Now, I’m different than most in that when I take on a trip planning task, I pretty much do nothing but eat, sleep and drink. I found the perfect hotel on the outskirts of Old Town but close to the other major points of interest. I am kind of snobby when it comes to vacation accommodations, I will forgo a trip if I can’t stay in nice hotels. Unless it’s Europe then that is a whole new ball game!
Packing, what on Earth are we going to pack? I have a new baby, we are first time parents and we are flying and not driving so there are regulations and size to consider. We bought the biggest suitcase we could find and I started the arduous task of picking things out. Cara was our first, she is a girl, therefore my living baby doll. She needed no less than 4 outfits per day, socks for each (because she is tiny and her feet might get cold in the tundra known as Canada), bibs to match the outfits, you might see where this is going.
Now, I being the best mother on Earth knew there were things she would need. Her pack and play, 2 packs of diapers, a can of formula for every day we were there, at least 10 bottles, stroller, blankets, sun shield for the stroller, a backpack type carrier, her car seat, her favorite travel mobile, stroller fans, toys and pretty much anything I could squeeze into a suitcase. Because, as you know Canadians do not have diapers and formula so I must take the specific kind she needs.
Yes, I really did drag all of that to Canada. Yes, I did have to pay for overweight luggage. Yes, she needed only a quarter of what I took. But that is beside the point! We were prepared for pretty much any natural or unnatural disaster. Now my dad would bring up the fact that she ran out of formula one of the days we were out sightseeing and was forced to wail all the way back to the hotel, causing him much angst. There is the fact that we did an overnight trip to Quebec City by train leaving the majority of our luggage at our first hotel. In that luggage we left our jackets because we had not needed them the entire week. It blew snow while we were in Quebec City! We had to scurry through the town buying up whatever winter attire we could find (remember it was the first week in July!).
All in all it was one of the best trips we have ever taken with our family. We saw sights we had never seen, we learned that most countries you visit will have the “necessities” we are used to here so you really don’t have to over pack. And we proved to all of the nay sayers that you can have your cake and eat it too, or in our case have children and continue to travel to foreign lands. I am asked all the time what age do you recommend or when should I look at taking my child to (anywhere USA) and I simply say, NOW. Now is the time to build those memories. It doesn’t matter their age, it matters yours. It matters that you are here and present today and aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. We survived traveling by plane to a non-US city with a 3 month old and so can you. We look back at that scrapbook and laugh at how green we were, how silly it was to drag all of that equipment everywhere we went. But had we not gone we wouldn’t have some of the best memories with our baby.