Travel Tips from Seasoned Travellers
New parents Josef and Lee Raskinen recently undertook an international trip with their little one, just shy of five months old. A seasoned traveller Lee gives us her tips on first-time travel with your baby.
What aspects should one consider in preparation for travelling with a baby?
Preparation is key, even down to figuring out the number of nappies. Yes, your destination may have nappies, but they may have a different brand than you use or the sizing if you travel abroad. Being a first-time parent, you feel more confident when you take charge of things within your control, and nappies were one of ours. Have all the correct documents (which I’ll expand on shortly). There are other aspects to take into consideration. For instance, what type of uber do you book to accommodate your family and luggage to the airport? It’s suitcases, nappy bags, car seats and a stroller, so a regular uber won’t suffice.
From a packing aspect, ensure you have the correct clothing for the baby, especially if your travel destination is in a different season than that of your home.
If you’re breastfeeding, like I am, ensure you have everything you need if you plan to breastfeed on the plane. Are you wearing suitable clothing? Will you need a cover, or go without it? If feeding by bottle, can the onboard staff accommodate heating them for you? Will they provide purified water, or will you have to bring your own?
Where you’re sitting is also essential. For instance, are your seats close to the bathroom to make nappy changes more seamless?
A quick tip for parents, take your favourite items that make your life a lot easier with you. Mine included my Cybex Travel System, Ubuntu Baba Baby Carrier and Squish Travel Packs. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief having them with you.
Take us through the paperwork!
We’re a family of travellers and try to travel at least once a quarter. It’s a lifestyle and value that we have been determined to introduce Amelia to immediately. So just after her first vaccinations, at just six weeks old, we made a date with Home Affairs to apply for her passport. One thing to note when applying for a passport for a minor is that BOTH parents need to be present.
There are terms and conditions to be met and affidavits if this is not possible, so know what those are. Having had a Caesarean with a six-week-old baby in the queue, one would think that moms would get priority or at least have adequate seating. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
There was no consideration given to moms with infants. In this instance, my husband graciously stood in the queue alone while our daughter and I waited in the car. Please ensure you have a partner or friend to support you if you’re a single parent, as this makes a huge difference. The entire process took about six hours of queuing and taking photographs. Granted, this may have been a particularly busy period, but plan to spend the whole day at Home Affairs. Take provisions like extra nappies, bottles, a cover if you’re breastfeeding, snacks and water for you and dad. Unfortunately, at this Home Affairs, there was no place for nappy changing. So take change mats and figure out a space where you can feed and change your baby.
The first issue for a South African passport is free. That’s a significant bonus. I advise you to visit the department of Home Affairs website and apply online for consequent passport issues.
If you’re travelling as a family travelling locally, your little one needs their birth certificate, while both parents need their ID cards. For international travel, passports are required. The great thing about passports issued today for minors is that both mom and dad’s details are printed on the back of the passport, which means that an unabridged birth certificate is no longer needed. On my first local trip, I travelled alone with Amelia, and in that instance, I needed a certified copy of my husband’s passport and a signed form stating that he was aware of the travel and had given his consent as a co-parent. Further details can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website under the travel section.
In the words of Dr Seuss: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” With little Amelia already getting those stamps in her passport, the Raskinen family are determined to create moments and memories of a lifetime.
Lee was born to travel. A qualified Marketing professional Lee lived in Europe and South America and has explored numerous countries. A love of travel is what she hopes to impart to their beautiful little Amelia. Hailing from Sweden, Josef is a world citizen whose heart was won over by Lee and South Africa. He is a professional photographer and a doting and hands-on dad.