Luxury travel with toddlers and babies. Wild and casual. Experience unforgettable moments. Barefoot luxury, active and relaxed. Travel like Dr. Julia Malchow.
Read here the personal travel tips of our managing director and travel expert Dr. Julia Malchow. Whether alone, as a couple or with a child and cone – whether luxury, wellness or pure adrenaline – she has seen many places, hotels and lodges and travelled to different countries. She would like to share her experiences with you here.
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“Guide: Long-distance travel with toddlers and babies”
The myth that once children are there, you can only do self-driving holidays on the farm or on the Baltic Sea, i’ve always been furious. When I set off with 10-month-old Levi for our adventure on the Trans-Siberian Railway, I heard the same comments over and over again – “irresponsible” or “you can’t expect a baby to do that,” it was said; at best just “courageous”. But I didn’t want to believe it all – and the fact is, I was right. The topic of long-distance travel has not died with the war on children – one only has to rethink and approach the matter differently.
Your Dr. Julia Malchow
Owner & Founder
Since Levi and Jari were in the world, I have not stopped touring exotic corners of this world and discovering with them. What I have stopped is super fast to want to get from A to B, or to let me be put off by little things. Our travels as a family are as instructive for me as for my sons, so here I have summarized my most important “Lessons Learnt” for you:
Choosing the destination
One of the main reasons why long-distance travel with young children is stigmatised as irresponsible is the possible inadequate health care at the destination. And yes, for a moment I thought I was a terrible raven mother when I rushed levi to a Siberian hospital that looked more like a run-down warehouse. Although everything went well, and I still do not want to start from the worst in advance, it is of course important to weigh up the risks of the target country.
Is there malaria? What is the standard of hospitals? How quickly can help be there? All important questions that can help you choose your destination. Did you know that there is no trace of malaria in The Arusha National Park in Tanzania because the area is too high for the mosquitoes? And Bangkok is some of the most modern hospitals in the world. Behind loud prejudices often hide wonderfully child-friendly destinations.
The long-haul flight
It would be nice if all our exotic dream destinations could be reached in the few hours of flight time, which coincide exactly with the bedtimes of the little ones. In the end, however, long-haul flights are usually more strenuous for parents than for the children. Here are my top tips:
- Book a night flight
- insist on an aisle
- Wear instead of stroller
- Pack your own food and snacks if you can’t drop off the child and therefore can’t fold down the table at meal times
- Pack toys for amusement
- do not respond to the annoyed comments of other passengers
One striking argument for flying far with toddlers is that, firstly, tickets are much cheaper for the little ones, and secondly, travel outside the school holidays is possible – either at the ideal travel time, or off-season at the best prices.
At the travel location
Luckily, toddlers need to feel comfortable, first only a reference person. If mum and dad are happy, the child is happy. This means that long-distance travel with a child is relaxed as long as the parents can relax. Book a nice, child-friendly hotel that invites you to relax. Hands away from stressful schedules, and prefer to spend a few days in the same place. Allow enough time for rest and keep regular meals. Don’t plunge into new adventures every day, but take time to digest and do nothing. That’s what I learned in Siberia – the beauty of doing nothing.
The most beautiful thing about travelling with my children, however, is in addition to my own perspective, to perceive the new places through the eyes and the change of my sons. In addition, the little ones often perform social miracles – children are everywhere, and contacting the host culture is much easier if the little ones go ahead.
Long-distance travel with toddlers and babies may sound like a big risk at first, and who wants to run a tiring organizing marathon before it even starts. In reality, however, it is quite simple, and the difference is not so great.