The Beach and Baby Travel Bible


The Beach and Baby Travel Bible

It’s easier than packing for a beach holiday with your pet tiger, I suppose, but there’re still some challenges. And by challenges, I mean: suitcase space. Once I’d packed all of his stuff, I just squeezed in one sandal and a swimsuit for me.

It’s different depending on the baby’s age, obviously. This time last year we went to Europe for a month and all we really needed to pack was some clothes, a few colourful toys and my boobs.

This time he was 13 months old, eating normal food and tires of toys in 20 seconds. And so, here’s how we chilly Melbourne cats packed for our magic trip to the One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives with our teeny, non-verbal little buddy:

What I packed for baby

Swim pants (I prefer these over swim nappies, although I packed a few swim nappies too) plus a full body UV 50 rashie/swimsuit because sunscreening a baby is about as easy as pushing toothpaste back into the tube. (I like the Babes in the Shade ones as they’re cute and don’t feature angry animated sharks.) Sandals and walking shoes, a wide brim UV 50 hat with chin cord, and a cap. Assorted shorts and t-shirts and onesies… enough for one outfit a day and a few spares. (Special nod to Pure Baby’s little summer onesies.) I packed several Bonds Wondersuits because we adults had the air con at night, so these PJs ensured he’d stay warm.

Regarding his food, I read reviews of the One&Only Reethi Rah saying they’d cook and puree anything you wanted for your baby/toddler, but being me, (a suspicious and anxious overpacker) I packed enough food for pretty much every meal, every day, just in case. I could just bring it home if required. I took Weet-Bix for breakfasts, rice crackers, dried fruit etc for snacks and a heap of pouches. Not ideal nutritionally speaking, but you never know what you might be up against so make like a boy scout and for the love of apple puree be prepared. As it turned out, every meal he ate was prepared by the hotel, from delicious porridge, to pasta, fish and veges. It was unreal.

I packed two bottles, spoons, plastic small bowls, plates and bibs plus a full tin of formula because I knew there’d be no way to heat up milk even if I could get my hands on it. (But boiled water from a kettle, yes.)

I always call ahead and book a cot and highchair (and some pool toys) for the room, and in this instance, being a sand-covered island, they said I wouldn’t need a pram; everyone gets around on bikes with baby seats. I ignored them and packed our travel pram. And didn’t use it once.

I also took:

  • An iPad to play his ocean waves white noise while he slept
  • A Gro Anywhere Blind and a cheap black ladies wrap – this portable blackout blind kept his room (ahem, our ‘bathroom’) dark, and the scarf was for a secondary window/to create a dark zone on the plane
  • A few books for bedtime, few small bath toys, his favourite cars, trucks and farm animals, a blow up ball, and a wooden puzzle. Thankfully the kids club had awesome toys so we took him there daily for a solid play
  • One small bottle of washing detergent, Gaia baby powder, eczema cream, Go-To Exceptionoil for his skin/bath and a small Sudocrem
  • Soleo organic sunscreen
  • For 10 days I packed a block of 24 nappies, then an extra 10-15 used as padding around the sides of the suitcase for spares/flight home.

Travel

This was a large-ish trip: 8 hours to Singapore, a 3-hour stopover and then 4 hours to the Maldives. We fly at night where possible. (Avoid flights between 3-7pm at all costs. Total meltdown zone.) We do bath and PJs at home as per normal, keeping him awake in an airport stroller until we board, giving him a bottle once we take off, then it’s off to sleep in his sleeping bag once seatbelt sign is off. (In theory. But he gets there after a bit and will usually do at least 4-6 hours.)

My husband and I don’t sit together, so that when one parent has baby sleeping on them, the other gets decent rest/can eat dinner and watch a shitty movie in peace. We’re nearby, obviously. Just a few seats away.

Baby has his own duffle bag we fill with all his stuff so it’s easy access. We packed his sleeping bag, a small blanket, comforter (“moo”), a bottle and a ziploc with formula in it in case there was no milk on the plane (it happens), a black scarf for keeping overhead lights blocked if possible, the nappy roll (I use the J.J Cole nappy roll and I swear by it) and at least 8 nappies (we learned the hard way), two Wondersuits and singlets, a jumper, socks and shoes, and enough squeezy food and LOTS OF SNACKS (sultanas, rice crackers etc) to allay boredom for the flight… and then two full backup meals/snacks in case of delays. Bib, drink bottle and some Panadol just in case. Our flight toys are always new and unseen to delight and distract: a few cars/trucks/planes, two interactive books, a bag of pegs, some flashcards and a game of chess. Kidding! He’s barely mastered Scrabble.

We had an amazing holiday. Baby was fun and resilient and such a good traveller. And so restrained when it came to duty-free, even though I know he’s had his eye on the new Dior fragrance for ages.

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Zoe Foster Blake

About the Author Zoe Foster Blake

Zoe Foster Blake is the kind of traveller who pays attention to the toiletries in hotels, but don't judge her on that. Judge her on the ridiculous size of her suitcase, instead. Zoe is the founder of all-natural skin care line, Go-To, a long-time beauty editor, the author of six books, and a columnist for Sunday Style and Cosmopolitan magazines. She has been to the Greek Islands far too many times, lives between Melbourne, Sydney and Queenstown, and has a PDF she emails to friends heading to NYC on all the places they "must eat." She gets sad if there are no overseas adventures on her horizon, and not even her delicious new baby boy has stopped her and her husband from seeing the world/finding the best massage/eating too much gelato.