Your first holiday with baby

Use this child-friendly travel guide so that you and your tyke will have a whale of a time!

SP Packing for a vacation with baby

Gone are the days when you could simply toss a few clothes and a passport into a bag before setting off on a spur-of-the-moment vacay. Now that you have a baby, your holiday needs a little more planning. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be just as much fun.

“Parents worry about taking their baby away for the first time, but there are lots of benefits for you and her,” notes Sarah Tucker, author of Have Toddler Will Travel, “A trip will encourage your little one to focus on different environments, voices and colours, which is good for her brain development.”

And you may even find that your munchkin is much more flexible than you give her credit for. Here’s how to make sure your honey’s first holiday is one to remember...

Before you set off…

Logistics
Passport for your little one. Bring your baby, along with her birth certificate and a passport-sized colour photograph to the service counter at the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority. There’s also a photo booth if you need to get her picture taken. The counter staff will guide you through the application and you will be notified of the collection date.

Medical advice
Don’t set off for a holiday before your kewpie completes her first course of immunisations, which is at the twelfth week. It’s also not the time to get super-adventurous, as exotic locales pose a risk to everyone, especially kids.

According to general practitioner Dr John Mervyn-Thomas, babies are more susceptible to infection during the first year, as their immune systems are still immature. If you require a jab, your baby will need it, too, but discuss it with your GP first, as young babies should avoid getting unnecessary vaccinations.

Safety
Before you book a hotel, ask about balconies, swimming pools, blind cords, smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors. If you’re hiring a car, remember to check the local car-seat laws. Ask if the car-hire firms provide baby seats or if you need to bring your own.

Budget
If she’s less than 6 months old, your sweetie can sit on your lap when travelling on a plane, as long as she’s secured with an extension seat belt. However, you can also purchase a full-priced ticket for your baby and she can sit in a car seat next to you — a good idea for longer flights. Once your child hits 2 years, most airlines charge you for a seat. It’s also worth doing research on family-friendly hotels and resorts. Babysitting services and créches make a huge difference to your trip.