We brought our baby to Hong Kong Disneyland about two weeks after he turned 1. By then, we was not yet walking, was on mixed formula and fresh whole milk, was starting to eat solids without restrictions, and definitely not yet potty trained. Due to health constraints which disallowed me from doing strenuous activities like carrying heavy things, making drastic physical movements, and having lack of sleep, my husband and I decided to bring our nanny along. So if you wanna travel with kids, with or without a nanny, please read on as I share a few of things that I learned on our first out of the country trip with our baby.
1. Have a doctor’s appointment before traveling and list down all of the baby’s medicines.
We scheduled an appointment with our baby’s pediatrician to ask for medicines in case our baby suffers from common illnesses while we’re away from home. I got a 2-week weather forecast for Hong Kong and determined that it’s going to be cold and so I presumed that my baby has a higher risk of catching colds and having dry skin. With that info in mind, I bought smaller bottles for the other medicines but got bigger ones for colds, sunblock, and moisturizer. I listed down all of my baby’s medicines, printed them in small cards along with our own medicines, passport, flight and hotel details. I gave one copy each to hubby and to the nanny, and then kept one for my wallet and another one in my travel files.
2. List down your baby’s daily activities as well as the things he’ll need or use per activity. Then bring everything and more.
Just so that I won’t forget anything, I listed down all of my baby’s daily activities from the time he wakes up until he’s sleeping and from there, I made another one that lists down everything that he’ll use or need per activity. For example, my baby’s first activity is to have breakfast, the sub-list included, among others, food, water, wipes, bib, spoons, sippy cup, plate, and a copy of Your Baby Can Read in our iPad. And then I counted all the bibs, for example, he’ll use in a day, then for the whole trip plus some extra.
3. Use a backpack instead of a girly diaper bag.
We figured that it will be hard to walk around, transfer subways and attend to the baby with a girly diaper bag falling off the shoulders or getting hit by other pedestrians. To enable us to have two full arms to use for other things, we decided to bring a backpack with us. The backpack that hubby got is heavy-duty and can also be used as a sling bag. That’s where we put our baby’s diapers, extra clothes, milk, wipes, food, etc. Hubby can actually carry the diaper bag and our baby in a carrier at the same time but of course, the nanny was there so she’s usually the one who carries the diaper bag and sometimes, the stroller too. We decided to bring our stroller to Disneyland instead of renting at the park because our stroller is light-weight (only 3.6kgs!) and can be easily opened and packed away with just a hand. But in case you decide not to bring your own stroller, that’s okay because there are strollers for rent there.
4. Invest in a good baby carrier and wear your baby.
It is easier to go around if your baby is in a carrier. We have tried many baby carriers (Chicco, Ergo, and Aprica which is the one we used in HK) and we figured they all badly put a strain on our backs. It was always such a struggle carrying the baby around. Unfortunately, it was the best way to go around town especially that Hong Kong is such a busy city and everyone seems to be walking too fast. While we were there, we noticed a bunch of parents using carriers where the baby has a seat of his/her own and they looked like they’re not suffering even if their babies were much bigger than ours. We noticed that the brand was i-Angel, a baby carrier made in Korea. We ordered it online via G-Market and had it shipped to 126 Mansion in Seoul. The carrier was there when we arrived last April 10 and gosh, it was the best decision we ever made! True enough, our backs didn’t hurt. Plus, baby enjoys his own seat 🙂
5. Expect changes in your baby’s daily routine and in your itinerary.
Hong Kong is just a few hours away from Manila but we expected it to be a long travel for the baby. As such, we got a good time for the flight, we selected front row and window seats, and adjusted our itinerary into a more flexible one. We tried to simulate his daily activities even though we are in a different environment. Notwithstanding, his daily routine still changed. For example, he typically poops in the morning, what actually happened was that he missed a day and pooped twice the following day. While he completed his sleep every night, he was almost always too sleepy throughout the day and it must be because of the cold weather. To maximize our Disneyland trip, we purchased a 2-day pass so that we don’t squeeze in the shows when he’s awake.
6. If you decide to bring a nanny, give her a briefing before the actual flight.
It was my nanny’s first time to go out of the country and so I had to brief her on what to prepare for and what to expect. I had to list down our passport and flight details, our address and phone numbers in Hong Kong, our address and contact numbers in Manila as well as our email addresses, and we told her what we actually expected her to do. She knew beforehand that the trip was not for her pure pleasure but that we needed her to assist us. We talked about her duties from start to end and because of that briefing, we didn’t have any issue while in Hong Kong. Without her, we probably wouldn’t have had a relaxed vacation with our baby. Well that and lots of family pictures! One of the perks of bringing a nanny along is that we didn’t have to take a selfie all the time 🙂 Of course, we also asked her to bring her camera in case she wanted to take souvenir photos.
7. Expect to spend more especially if you’re taking the nanny along.
When we used to travel by ourselves, hubby and I can just eat anywhere – fast food, street food, whatever. But now that we’re traveling with a baby and because we wanted it to be a learning experience for him no matter how young he still is, we picked kid-friendly restaurants that serve real healthy food. True, we brought baby food with us but that was really just a back-up plan in case our baby doesn’t like any of the local food available. Besides, we really wanted to introduce new cuisines to our baby. And so, for example, instead of getting a quick sausage and egg breakfast at a fast food for HK$20, we’d rather eat at a brunch place that serves toasts, meat and eggs, a vegetable salad, and fresh orange juice for like HK$40. Or, instead of going to KFC for lunch, we’ll go to a Cantonese restaurant and order soup, noodles, etc. Of course, this is not to forget that the nanny also has to eat and that we needed to feed her so that she will have the energy to assist us. On top of that, we needed to pay for the nanny’s subway ticket, entrance fee, etc. Also, what we used to walk for 20-30 minutes before might not be “walkable” now that we’re carrying our baby and so instead of walking, we sometimes ended up hailing a cab.
8. Have fun!
Traveling with a baby, especially for those without a nanny, can be a daunting experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You just need to prepare for it, whether physically, mentally, emotionally and/or financially. Remember to have fun because your baby can feel you. If you’re stressed, your baby might get stressed too and be hard to handle. If you feel stressed, ask for help from your partner or from any adult you’re traveling with. Just relax, be flexible, and have fun with your baby!
And with that, I’m leaving you with more photos from our recent Hong Kong Disneyland trip. Til my next post! 🙂