The road to Hell is littered with UppaBaby strollers and diaper bags…or so I have been told. Our little daughter just turned 4 months yesterday, so when we decided to attempt our first vacation as a trio it was not without trepidation. Still, we get 24 months of free infant travel and then the cost of the third airfare will relegate us to road trips until Phoebe can appreciate a voyage to Paris or Italy.
For this vacation we chose to try 9 nights in Bermuda. The weather would be temperate versus scorching hit, the flight was less than 3 hours directly from Toronto, and while hotel rates were not “cheap” I was able to procure a room at The Fairmont Southampton for roughly 50% with complimentary continental breakfast buffet. It was a bit of a risk, but I figured if everything collapsed, and with a 4 month old everything might, then the Fairmont could assist us I hoped.The first thing that I noticed was that Air Canada treated us better. Frankly, their service can be spotty, so we were expecting all sorts of problems to be put before us about the baby stroller and security. Fortunately, we were treated like humans with a small baby, and the stroller was sky checked at the gate.i should mention that we do own an UppaBaby Vista, which is a monster stroller and we took the Mesa car seat with us for the taxi rides to and from the airports. To facilitate possible luggage disasters though we bought their flight bag for $170 to insure against damage. Expensive, but worth it given the cost of the stroller, and we were glad we took the stroller despite Bermuda not having much in terms of walkable roads. Never underestimate how many times you might need to stroll through the hotel hallways to calm your baby nor how useful it can be to plunk her down in it during dinner at the pub.How was the baby on the flight? An angel. How was the baby at night? An angel. How about at the pool, beach, jiujitsu class, hiking 12 km, and underground at the Crystal Caves? Phoebe was an ideal little tag along partner who was fine as long as Mommy was present. In fact, we really enjoyed hearing how wonderful and happy she was. Perhaps this related to how we paid her a lot of attention, that during our time together we were not on our phones or tuning her out; we did our best to enjoy being in the moment with our little monster, because Time does pass all too quickly regardless of our best efforts to slow it down.Nine nights in Bermuda was a much-needed break for all of us. Winter in Canada is hard without much sun or warmth. Getting away from laundry, cooking, cleaning and three dogs was a godsend that I recommend to anyone with a small infant; if you cannot afford a flight, then go to a nice hotel nearby. The escape from life’s daily grind was worth the effort of booking flights and hotel.
Maybe we were lucky, but I really enjoyed this particular vacation. I felt rested by its end, and I never felt that way after travelling through Japan, Egypt, Cambodia or the Peruvian Amazon. The baby forced me to slow down and accept that doing one simple thing a day, near the hotel, can be just as much fun. With a little preparation and planning, travelling with your little bundle can be a wonderful bonding experience for the whole family. Sure, our only check bag was full of baby clothes, toys and 80 diapers, but I could easily fit a minimalist’s clothing for 9 days, jiujitsu gear and a camera in my carry-on. Less is more, less is necessary to ensure you are not the immovable family who cannot fit in a small taxi in a pinch.Where next? With free flights for Phoebe for the first two years, we do have to plan out our travel options carefully. Paying an extra $1000-2000 for a seat for her to a place she will not remember seems like a waste, so the plan is to do road trips in North America for a while after 2018. Hence, we need to seriously ask ourselves as parents where we want to go before we are grounded for a while.
Given my experience this time through with our infant, and my knowledge of the world travel costs, I have come up with a few options: Barcelona, Australia, Vancouver/Victoria/Seattle, Calgary/Lake Louise/Banff, Hawaii And San Diego/San Francisco. Based on cost, availability, how Phoebe seems to develop and our level of adventureous risk-taking, I think any of these would be a nice break. But, Australia might be too far, Hawaii flights are hard to find, and Europe might just be too difficult and cramped. But really…a one week get-a-way goes a long way as the summer begins or ends. Travel is important to me, and it requires resilience and skills to do successfully. If I am able to ignite the passion for travel in our daughter, then I will have achieved a great thing for Phoebe’s lifelong learning. Little steps, a little luxury and short hauls might be a wonderful way forward for anyone hoping to do the same. With planning the costs can be kept reasonable and the benefits will be enjoyed by your entire family for the remainder of your lives. As a father, I feel like I do have a chance to build the character of what I think is important for the whole family. I may not dictate these choices, but I can positively establish what we do as a family together. Travel and eating together are the first two places I chose to start with as we begin out fourth month.