February 23, 2006

Tiny Tots Traveling Tropical: Terrible? Or Totally!

nirvana_nevermind.jpg + beer_underwater.jpg ?

A question from Shawn, an unseasonably pale new dad:

My wife and I travel tropical at least once a year. We skipped last year during my wife's pregnancy. We just had our first child in January, and we're considering a trip to Beaches Negril in late October 2006. Is it too soon to travel internationally with an infant?

Have any of you Daddy Types out there been to Beaches Negril? We've been to Jamaica a couple of
times and been to a few of the Sandals Resorts which are, of course, related to the Beaches Resorts, so we think we know what we're getting ourselves into. Are we totally nuts to try a trip like this a 9.5 month old?

While we've been traveling extensively with the kid since she was just a few months old, our beach trips have been a) domestic and b) to family cottages, so I've got no idea about what traveling tropical with a kid is like [but I know I like the sound of it. I travel tropical. We travel tropical.] Anyway, should Shawn just pack it in and head for the Tahitian Village at Disneyworld, or is there hope for them in Jamaica?

18 Comments

Hi, I visit your site every few days and spend a few minutes on some of your interesting reads. Anyways, message to Shawn: Negril is fun and at 9 months, your baby should love it. The beaches are great too and the waters would be just perfect for a baby to experiement with. We used to travel there with my little cousins and they loved it. Wish we could take our son there as well - he is about 1 1/2 and loves the beach.

The only international travel I've ever done with a baby was to Germany. And he had a stomach virus at the time.

But I think the best way to go is to see what the baby's temperament is like a little closer to the trip. I know that at about 2 months my kids were pretty easy (as far as newborns go, anyway), but at 9 months neither of them liked to be stationary for more than a few minutes at a time; traveling with them then was hell. If his kiddo is pretty laid back, though, everything should be great!

My wife and I go to the Virgin Islands a few times a year. While we're still ~9 weeks away from parenthood, just last week we were on St. Thomas and for what seemed to be the first time in her entire pregnancy, she was able to find solace while floating under the late afternoon Caribbean sun (well sunscreened, of course).

Our next trip there will be in July, and I can't wait to share the island lifestyle for the first time with my little guy.

We went to Jamaica last month with our little guy- he was 9.5 months old at the time, so our situations were similar.

We are big tropical travellers, and thought an island and resort with good tourist infrastructure would be just the ticket for our first beachy vacation with the boy. We weren't wrong- it was all perfect! The boy loved floating in the water (he fell asleep behind his baby banz once while bobbing in the sea with his daddy). He also loved eating sand; we were prepared for that to be on his agenda and you should be too (he gave it 3 tries, and then finally abandoned it as a food source).

We borrowed a Sit n' Stroll (combo car seat and stroller) from my sister to take, and that was awfully helpful, both during air travel and while at the resort. We could wheel him down the paths to the beach, then just hoist the seat to perch between our beach chairs. But we certainly could easily have lived without this item.

We flew in/out of Sangster Airport, which you'll probably use to get to Negril, too. Prior to departure, we stopped in for a nosh at the Margaritaville outpost there, which was surprisingly clean, and offered lots of fun stuff for our little guy to look at. The very clean ladies' room was equipped with a very nice changing area- perhaps you could check to see if there are similar facilities in the mens' there?!

Truthfully, Jamaica isn't really our cuppa tea as islands go. But we've had a lot of discussions about when to get back to Fakarava, a favorite atoll in French Polynesia, and we're figuring our boy's not quite ready for that yet. We'll give him a few years, and in the meantime will be perfectly happy with more developed regions and islands.

I am 6 months pregnant and my husband and I just had a conversation about this very thing. I want to know how soon I can start traveling after baby is born. I have gotten quiet a bit of differing advice. I guess I am gust going to have to wait and see how it goes when the time comes. BTW a note to Karin...My husband and I love Fakarava. I can't wait to take my little girl there. I am with you though that it isn't a place for a toddler. Poor thing would be eaten alive by mosquitos.

We've taken out now 1 year-old everywhere over the past year. Her first cross-country trip was at six weeks. Have done the beach down in Florida, but not the islands of Caribbean. Going to a resort is probably a good idea because they're set up for the kinder, although we're not in to them so much. So we plan to take the little monkey to Grand Turk soon so we can scuba dive before the husband knocks me up again. Grand Turk's not too developed, but we figure we're good as long as there's access to a doctor and antibiotics (and a 30 minute flight to a proper hospital).
In short, when to start traveling with the kid and where you go depends mostly on your personality, your kid's personality, particularly with respect to adaptability, and how adventurous you are. We would never put our kids in danger, but neither would we consider to stop our travels.

Don't have the coin to afford a trip with the wife and kid to the islands? Then take your chance and win one of 5 trips that Earth's Best and Beaches Family are giving away.

http://www.earthsbest.com/sesame_street/offers.php

LMAO...Beaches Resorts + Elmo + 3 years olds= Awesome Family Fun or a living hell depending on your perspective. I guess I would have never thought organic baby food company co-marketing with Beaches. I've neber been to one of their resorts but they always come across to me as Revere Beach in Jamaica.

We flew from west coast USA to South East Asia when the kid was 8 mth and back when she was 9 mth. Flight out was pretty easy despite being 20+ hours. Being there was fun. Flight back she'd gotten more vocal and mobile so a little bit more tiring but all things considered not a bad experience at all. We'll be doing it again with her at about 15-18 mths. My guess is that the 8/9mth trip will prove to be the easier one because she will be even more vocal/mobile/squirmy etc.

My husband and I have talked about this very same thing. We travel all the time and all our friends say that we are going have to give it up when we have the baby. No way. Babies adapt well and will be excellent travelers if given the opportunity.

Hubby and I took our 2 month old to St. John USVI and, while we rented a house and had a concierge service stock the place with formula, bottled water, and disposable bottle liners, he was marvelous and we all had a great time. I see no reason why you couldn't take a 9.5 month old to Negril - I hope you have a fantastic vacation!

My husband and I are taking our 9-month-old to the Cayman Islands in May (she'll be almost exactly 1 year then). We can't wait! We travel with her all the time ... I think she's been on something like ten plane trips already (roundtrip). Every time we've been to the Caribbean we've seen lots of babies. Have fun!! I know we can't wait.

The first issues of Cookie Magazine had a long article about kid friendly beach resorts in it. If you could find it, it would be a good resource. (Unfortunately, the 2nd issue is on newstands.)

Sara

Go! Now! Before baby can walk and wants to spend most of the plane flight toddling about.

Ok I so rarely post comments but the mere mention of "beaches negril" makes me shudder. Especially to think of children going there. The place is DISGUSTING. I can't think of one redeemable quality to be quite honest.

Oh wait, there the children's seasame street parade where one of the characters groped my friend's girlfriend. Yeah that was great. The whole place smells of cheap booze. My husband and I were there for a wedding this past august and couldn't have been MORE disappointed. I wouldn't send my future teen, college age or worst enemy there, let alone a family.

On the other hand, there are so many other wonderful places in jamaica, it seems wrong not to go to the country. But I do feel jamaica is an adult place. Barbados was great for kids, and so is the bahamas. If you are insistent on going to jamiaca, fork over the extra dough and rent a private villa. it is worth EVERY PENNY.


we've been travelling with our 2.5 since he was born. he's been on 14 trips include italy, holland, cali, nc, and all over the carribean.

other posters are right -- depending on the age of the child, a resort might be better. club med in the dominican has babysitting and programming for kids 2-14, which can be really nice. they also have strollers to rent. there are other club med resorts with similar babysitting programs. on the other hand things like beaches and club med have mediocre food and no local flavor.

anyway, going to the carribean is no more difficult than going anywhere else with a kid.

i say go for it.

We have a one year old. My wife is originally from the Yucatan, in Mexico and she and our daughter have been down there 5 times already. She's had a great time, but they stayed mostly with family. We spent a couple of nights at a hotel on the beach in Tulum and had a blast. Our daughter loved the water and the attention all the waitstaff and other guests payed to her. I would say that you should make sure the place you're going to is kid friendly.

our little fella has loved the beach since day 1 (almost) and finds waves and sand fascinating, the latter also quite tasty. we know other kids who won't go near either for no known reason...i think its probably luck of the draw.

as far as flying is concerned we did a trial run with our 2 month old on a short flight then at 3 months old spent 4 months going around the world returning when he was 7 months.

i agree with Whitney above...GO NOW?!!! are you crazy? GO GO GO!!!! once they start crawling or walking flying as you know it changes forever...!

Let me know if you did vacation at beaches in Negril and how it was. We will have a 4 mth old and a 10 yr old. The place sounds wonderful for what I have read about it. I also know friends who have been there twice but not with infants and they loved it. Their kids liked Negril better than the Turks Caico beachs. Thanks for all you input

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