We have recently returned from 6 weeks travelling in South America. This time was a little different for us as we had our 10 month old baby boy names Rio with us. Rio is a good little traveller and appeared to love all of the new experiences. However as we went along we noticed that some small things can make like a lot easier when travelling in South America with babies. Here are a few of our top tips:
15 Tips for Travelling in South America with Babies
1. However much formula you think you will need on the plane TAKE DOUBLE!
Our little man guzzled a lot of milk on the plane, I thought I had heaps but ended up having to make 1/2 formula, 1/2 regular milk mixes to get through. He drunk double what he usually would in the same period.
2. Think carefully about what type of pushchair you take
When deciding what type of pram of baby carrier to take you need to consider the ground it will be used on. In South America many of the streets are cobbled or uneven. In this case it is best to have a Mountain Buggy or Phil & Teds style pushchair as it has bigger wheels and is much smoother over rough surfaces. A small pushchair with little wheels would not be a good option. One of the best things is that Rio would sleep in it when we are out and about. So we could go out to dinner and shows at night, or be out all day and not worry about his nap times. Make sure you have the shade cover for when he is sleeping or it is super sunny & the rain cover could also come in handy at times.
Baby harnesses (front packs or back packs) are also handy but they do not replace the push chair.
We find our pushchair awesome when travelling (it is a mountain buggy swift).
3. If you baby uses a dummy (pacifier) then get a clip so that when dropped it does not fall on the ground.
This way it stays much cleaner and does not get lost. Even when horse riding hahahaha
4. Request a cot (cuna)
Pretty much all hotels in South America will put a cot in your room free of charge. It is a good idea to ask for it in advance.
5. It is a good idea to take a car seat with you on your trip.
Especially when on long transfers or excursions. It is best to take a simple car seat that is just held in with the seat belt. It is peace of mind and keeps your little one safe. Car seats can also double as a high chair when there is not one available. Just put in on the normal seat and you are ready to go.
6. Buy bottled water for preparing bottles.
It is not always possible to boil water so buy bottled water instead. It is inexpensive and safe.
7. Don't forget essential medications.
The following have been a savoir for us:
1. Neurofen Children (or Pamol)
2. Natural cough syrup that is suitable for babies
4. Fess Little Noses (great to clear the sinuses before a flight)
All of these can be purchased in small bottles / tubs which are convenient for travelling.
We also had antibiotics in powder form just in case we need it.
8. A scarf makes an excellent seat belt
Many high chairs do not have harnesses and Rio always tries to stand and climb so we use a scarf to tie him in so he cant fall out - works a treat.
A few times when we forgot the scarf we would tie a couple of napkins together, this worked too but not nearly as good as the scarf.
9. When asking a favour be sure to have your baby with you.
We found that it is hard to say no to someone with a baby and we got all sorts of favours.
For example when requesting a complimentary late check out at a hotel or asking for your laundry to be ready sooner than normal.
For example we asked for a late check out a couple of days ago at a hotel, at first they said no as the room was booked. They then clearly looked at the baby and said "but if you are happy to move rooms we can give you another room for you and your family to enjoy" - success!
This may be a little cheeky but hey . . .
10. Take plastic easy wash bibs.
Bibs get dirty quickly and when you wont be able to washing as often you don't want to be carrying around dirty bibs. The plastic bibs are awesome as you can just rinse them and wipe them and you are ready to go.
11. Use private services
If your budget allows then I definitely recommend using private services for your transfers and sightseeing, as opposed to shared services where you travel with other people. This way the tour can be tailored to you. If you need to stop and feed baby, or change a nappy, it is no worries. Your baby wont disturb others, your vehicles will have space for a child seat, the whole tour can be catered towards you and your needs with no mucking around.
12. Done be too precious
Some people get all nervous and worried when in other countries and are over cautious with letting their babies play on the group, interact with others, or participate in activities. I think if that happens then no one has fun.
When we went to dinners it was often hard to keep Rio seated for the whole time, so we would let him crawl around on the floor, he would explore the restaurant, visit other tables, and the people were always happy to have him pop over for a visit. If we hadn't let him crawl our dinner would have been a fail as he would have had a meltdown about sitting too long.
We took Rio on boat tours, hikes, on 4 wheel drive tours even horse riding. He was very happy, laughing and giggling for over 2 hours on horse back. He sat with the Gaucho (cowboy) names Sergio who took good care of him.
13. Seek out other children.
Local parks are a good place to go where there are other kids and babies. I think Rio would get sick of being with the adults sometime, or sick of being in a hotel room. We always found a trip to the park was great for entertainment as it was full of other happy children.
14. Suss out the supermarkets, the hotel breakfast & plan your babies meals.
You do need to plan ahead a little bit in terms of meals. We took some sachet meals from NZ to use when we really needed to but found most of the time there was enough options.
At breakfasts we would make ham and cheese sammys, cut them into little squares and put them in Rios lunch box for a snack. We were also generally able to get some fruit and some yoghurt.
Most hotels have fridges so at times we would buy a few things to have with us. Usually bananas and yoghurt. But sometimes we would also buy some hot chicken, cooked pasta from the deli, biscuits and of course there was often jars of baby food (which Rio despises so we tend to avoid).
When we ate at restaurants Rio usually just at some of whatever we had. So it is a good idea of you plan to travel a lot to train you baby to eat a variety of food,m prepped in a variety of ways. The last thing you want is a fussy baby.
Alright, time to wrap this one up:
15. If you want to have a relaxing dinner for 2 time it so your baby is sleeping.
When we went for posh dinners we would eat late (well late for us, eating at or after 9pm in Latin America is normal).
This way we could feed Rio, bath or shower him, put him to sleep in the pushchair and then go and have a quiet, relaxing dinner.
Ahhh, peace and quiet
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