Traveling alone can be stressful, the preparation, the packing and the unknown of any new destination. Try adding a child to the equation which in itself is a whole other level of organization. I always try to be prepared for the unexpected, as you should be with a child. However, as a first time travelling to an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean with my family, there are things that I wished I had known before leaving. So here are some tips I have learned travelling to Cuba with my 14 month old son that may help you for your next trip.
I consider my son an amazing traveller seeing that my family lives across the country and that we have taken 4 hours flights quite often. I enjoy travelling and from the beginning I brought Sasha on his first plane when he was only 11 days. I actually find it funny when other flyers stop me to congratulate my son for being a perfect flyer. However, travelling to a foreign country with a baby or with a toddler was new to me. Any parent knows that there are bound to have mishaps and learning experiences along the way. So I wanted to share with you tips that I have learned from travelling to Cuba recently with my 14 month old toddler.
- Bring prepared food, favorite snacks, purees, in case your child does not like or cannot eat some of the buffet\restaurant foods and also to bring on excursions or to the beach. It took 2 days for Sasha to adjust to the food and then he would only eat the same things throughout the week. I added some vegetables and meat purees to mix it up for snacks. Also, he was ALWAYS hungry as he kept running around in the hot weather.
- Wash his clothes in the bathroom to reduce the amount of clothing that you bring. I still had 2 sets of outfits per day for him. However, I had to wash his pyjamas and some t-shirts during the week as they get everything dirty at that age.
- Remember it might be hot outside but the A\C inside the restaurants and hotel room is intense. We had to keep the A\C on low since Sasha started to get a cold from the hot\cold temperatures. Bring layers for the transition of inside\outside temperatures such as hoodies or cardigans.
- Bring a wide brim hat that covers properly the face as they can easily get sunburns.
- Bring mosquitoes repellent. You will need to buy a natural one for babies. I use Take a Hike Natural Bug Spray which has essential oils. You can also find it in babies boutiques. At night the mosquitoes were crazy so we kept reapplying this spray.
- Bring light pants and long sleeve tops for evenings as sometimes it’s windy and gets a little chilly. In addition to protect against the mosquitos if there are any.
- Don’t forget to reapply sunscreens after swimming. I used Green Beaver Organic Spray for me as well as for Sasha which is chemical-free.
- Sasha did not enjoy the water, which I did not expect so he played in the sand. I brought some stackable cups and a ball but he enjoyed throwing the sand. No need to overdo it with toys when they are this young. He is still in the discovering mode and mainly enjoyed walking on the beach.
- Keep them on their regular schedule. I found that everyone was much happier when my son had his 2 naps during the day and a similar bedtime. Everyone will benefit from a happy and rested toddler, trust me!!
- Let them run or walk freely to burn energy. I know that strapping your toddler in the stroller is much easier but they will eventually scream or wiggle to get out. Choose areas of the resort that is safe enough for them to walk around. My son was proud to walk, he followed some birds, went up and down the stairs as I obviously followed him closely for safety. Then when you are ready and after they are a little tired, they will happily stay in the stroller.
- Avoid being directly in the sun for long periods. I would let him play in the sun (with sunscreen and a hat). Then we would drink and stay in the shade for a while.
- Bring some diapers. Sasha had his swimsuit for half of the day so I didn’t bring as much.
- Sasha was barefoot most of the time, but he had Native orange closed-toes shoes for walking around the resort. The staff mentioned that there might be broken glasses so we had to be careful. I love these shoes because they are light, colorful and you can easily wash them in the washing machine, yep, that’s right (I tried it)! You can also buy them here, here and here.
- First Aid Kit is a must every time you travel with a child. Before leaving Sasha had a cold. However, with the climate change, his cold and getting water in his ear, (I tried to put him in the ocean) he got an ear infection. He kept sneezing and rubbing his ear. Thankfully our hotel had a 24h clinic. The doctor was amazing and gave Sasha an antibiotic for the infection and reminded me of the essentials when travelling with a child. thermometer, diarrea\constipation medication, cold/sinus medication, band-aids, hydration fluid, Tylenol or acemitamine.
- Bring a face cloth. Weird yes, but our hotel did not have any and it makes it easier washing my son’s face and hands.
- Don’t forget to wash his hands. They might not appear dirty but the doctor reminded me how important it was as they often put their hands in their mouths.
- Bring a sleepsack. It makes it easier as there are never enough blankets and it helps for the mosquitoes at night. I should have brought a thicker one since the rooms were cooler.
- Let him approach other people, it is a great conversation starter! Sasha would stare and walk around other people tables even going right up to them. They thought it was cute and it made it easier for us to meet other families and couples.
- The reserved restaurants are not great with a toddler as it’s the evening and the baby is often hungry and tired from his day. After the first one we ended up cancelling the others as we could not sit through the meal! Sasha was impatient and wanted to walk. The buffet will become your best friend since there is a variety and the food is ready to serve.
- Don’t bring a high chair as they usually have a few in the restaurant. Only bring your travelling crib if your child is a climber. The railing of the crib is not as high as in North America and the width between the bars are a little wider. Sasha would wake up in the middle of the night so we put him in our King size bed which was GREAT!
- Choose a hotel with a kid friendly pool.
- We decided to skip the full day activities (catamaran, snorkeling, jeep adventures,….) unless they were close-by. The first day we went on a bus to a secluded beach and thought it was 30 minutes but was actually 90 minutes! We were ALL exhausted that night and decided not to go back, we were here to relax.
- Don’t give them juice from the bar or restaurant! Sasha doesn’t drink juice except if he eats fruits but he was thirsty and salivating looking at my juice. I thought it was natural and decided to give him some pineapple juice, or so I thought. He was crazy, energetic, non-stop the next few hours!!! I soon realized that the sugar content is way to much. It was only milk, water and coconut water for him the rest of the week.
- Enjoy the vacation as much as you can, things will happen that you haven’t planned for but that’s life. Don’t sweat the small stuff and learn to adjust your schedule so things can run more smoothly.
okay, so I didn’t expect to write as many tips but they are all what I learnt from traveling to an all-inclusive resort with my 14 month old son. I hope that you will find them useful for your next getaway!
If you have other tips that you would like to share from your experiences travelling to an all-inclusive resort, please feel free to leave me a comment below.