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How to travel abroad with a year-old baby?

We have been for quite a few months toying around what to do for our son's birthday. We can throw a birthday party for friends and family but that would be so ordinary, so we thought of something to do different, to celebrate our son's first birthday in another country. Around May 2019, we started planning and researched for months altogether to find a baby-friendly country, no major change in climate compared to India, tourist-friendly as it was our first trip out of the country too. We had to think twice whatever decision we took since baby R will be accompanying us.


We took our sweet time and decided to travel to Bali, Indonesia. Now that we had a country all we had to do was plan the trip. We consciously decided to plan everything, flights, hotels on our own not with any tour agency as we wanted to experience as a local would have. Some of my experience and lots of pictures are below if you have extra time read on my friend.


THINGS TO DO BEFORE PLANNING


Like I said before, choose a country that is baby-friendly and with no major change in climate compared to your home country because this would help you settling in real quick. Once you are comfortable you might as well enjoy the place like a local.


1. The most important thing to do before planning is to check if your passports are valid with at least 6 months before expiry and 5-6 empty pages for stamping. Check whether the country that you are visiting requires a visa as some countries offer visa exemption and visa on arrival depending on your home country (We got VOA)


2. Check whether your driver’s licence is valid in the country that you are visiting if not get an International driver’s license before leaving as it would let you rent a vehicle and be on your own without renting a cab.


3. Gather information regarding necessary vaccines/immunization shots to be taken before visiting a new country (depends on the country you plan to visit) Talk to your doctor about it. Baby R had a shot after returning home as suggested by his paediatrician.


4. Brush up your lingo skills, research about the language that locals speak if you are planning to live local rather than going along with a tour package (in that case, you won’t have to bother)

THINGS TO PACK


I would say that we are minimalists when it comes to travel. We restrict and plan our stuff to take based on dire needs. Most of the products/items we buy locally where ever we are rather than to take along. We carry 2 backpacks one for each of us, a handheld bag and a sling bag. I will go through the items that we pack for any trip bag-wise.


Sling Bag

Our sling bag contains the important documents such as our passports, air tickets, hotel bookings, event bookings, driver’s license, cash, credit cards, debit cards, foreign currency, wallets, phones, passport sized photographs.


Handheld Bag

Our handheld bag contains items that are easy to access like a phone charger, a travel journal (I’ve been maintaining one since 2016), adapters, Sunscreen, scarfs, poncho, couple of books, toys for baby R, sunglasses, prescription medicines, deodorant, perfume, moisturizer, sanitiser (within the permissible limit as the bag is a carry-on), eye-mask, earplugs, travel pillow, pen and notepad, headphones, water-bottle, selfie-stick, sanitary pads, lip balm, snacks for baby R and us.


Backpacks

I have a separate bag for me, Baby R and Mr R share one. We try to carry as minimal as possible. Clothes depend on the country’s climate; we carry minimal items even if it is a long trip like for a few days, we just wash ours in laundry and re-use it. 3 pairs of jeans/pants each, few t-shirts/shirts (3-4), undies, diapers, pyjamas, shoes, a dress (for going out), raincoats, flip-flops, beachwear, make-up (minimal), hats, socks, towel (for Baby R, we use the ones at the hotel) toiletries like toothbrush, paste, hair serum. We mostly use the complimentary toiletries such as bath lotion, shampoo, conditioner provided by our hotel/host if not we purchase it locally.


HOW TO SELECT HOTELS/STAYS

After zeroing in on our places to visit, we took our own sweet time to select hotels. We selected the above-mentioned places to experience most of the Bali and booked hotels/BnBs there and travelled back and forth for sightseeing.


The criterion that we use in picking up / selecting the hotels are:

Tourist-friendly

Budget-friendly

Guest’s rating

Free Wi-fi

Swimming Pool

Complimentary breakfast

Easy access to the local market (to buy our daily supplies of fruits)


THINGS TO DO


We make a list of all the places to visit, events to attend beforehand and collaborate to make the final list. As we were travelling with a baby, we kept the adventure activities at bay and went on to pick mellow, family-oriented, baby-friendly places to visit. We zeroised 5 areas from where we covered almost all places on the list. The places are:


KUTA

We landed in Denpasar and reached our hotel in Kuta, where we went out for a night stroll, visited the beach, had food in a local pub and headed back to the hotel for the night. The next morning took a cab to Ubud. One of the most surprising things was that Bali had no public transport, you hire a cab for travelling between cities and rent a scooter to travel within. Here are some pics from Kuta.

At the airport


After 12hrs of journey across countries, your feet goes up in relief when you hit the bed.


UBUD

We arrived in Ubud somewhere around 3 after having lunch on our way, we checked in the hotel, explored hotel and nearby places, visited local shops to purchase some essentials like oil, diapers, baby food, fruits, bread etc. The next morning we visited an art museum, Goa Gajah temple, Campuhan ridge walk (Hubby went while we rested at the hotel), and to the most beautiful falls on the outskirts of Ubud (Tukad Cepung Waterfall) on Baby R’s birthday. Mr R wanted to celebrate baby R’s birthday close to nature so headed out early in the morning and reached the site around 7 AM, descended almost 60 steps to get to the falls. Celebrated Baby R’s birthday on a swing with breakfast then headed back to our hotel in Ubud where our cab was waiting to take us to our next destination. Some photos below.


At our hotel



Campuhan Ridge walk


My baby's first birthday celebration
At an art museum

Goa Gajah Temple

A small water fall en route to Tukad Cepung Waterfall

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

AMED

Amed was the prettiest of all the places that we visited. Quaint little village by sea adorned with black volcanic ashes/sand, where within 2 meters inside the sea you can find coral reefs, and with a majestic backdrop of Mt. Agung, an active volcano. Amed was not commercialised like Ubud, so the place was quite empty, although you can see many tourists who live there. We arrived at noon had fun in the ocean, had lunch and in the evening cut baby R’s first birthday cake by the sea. Though he won’t remember any of this, we were one lucky happy parents. We explored the town after dinner and slept as we had a big plan tomorrow.


A view of Mount Agung from the BnB



Baby R's birthday cake

View of Amed shoreline

The next day we set out to visit Besakih temple which is very proximate to Mt. Agung, the temple was very ancient with Trimurti as the main deity. On our way to the temple, we visited Tirtha Ganga and headed back to the hotel. Some pics from the place are below.


Rice Terrace Fields
Besakih Temple


Tirta Ganga

Petting Iguana

SINGARAJA

After breakfast, we vacated our BnB and set out travel to our next destination. Singaraja is a proper city where you find only locals and very few tourists. We had a difficult time finding our BnB when reached, we were in for a shock, the place was spell-bounding and homely feel to it with a very friendly and polite host. Baby R liked her immediately and would ask her to lift him whenever she was around. In Singaraja, we visited nearby falls, Lovina beach and tried local cuisine.




Gitgit falls

The next day we had breakfast and bid adieu to our host and set out to our final destination Kuta. Enroute we visited the Ulun Danu Beratan (Floating temple). Here are some pictures.


Ulun Danu Beratan


KUTA

Our final destination for the trip, we checked in our hotel around noon, rested for a while and went out for a walk by the beach, came back to the hotel, had fun at the roof-top pool, had dinner and dozed off.


Lounging in the pool

The next morning after breakfast we set out to Bali zoo and from there went to visit Tanah Lot temple and headed back to the hotel at night and packed our bags as we had a flight to India in the morning. Here are some pictures below.




With our lil fren Lemur!

Tanah Lot



HOW TO LIVE LIKE A LOCAL ABROAD

To live like locals, you live where they live, shop neighbourhood fresh markets, frequent popular affordable restaurants and cafes, cook some meals and walk everywhere or use public transportation.


Eleanor Roosevelt’s definition of what is a “Perfect Life” underscores what is at the heart of living like a local.

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience." Eleanor Roosevelt

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