Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Baby cot or not baby cot?

When travelling with a baby, one of the big difficulties arises when the night comes. Where will you put your little one to rest? If you selected a family-friendly vacation resort and decided to drive there by car, you have probably packed one of those travel baby cots. All young parents know what I am talking about: bulky, heavy and a nightmare to fold and unfold too!
The theme of travel bed’s folding and unfolding would deserve a separate post, let us stick to the weight and size of the indispensable baby item. Now that you’ve packed it, your trunk is probably jammed and will not let another child’s bike or pair of rollers in. 
On a flight, you will hardly want to carry a heavy baby cot and risk to pay a overweight fee.
What's the solution?
Many hotels offer to fit an additional baby bed in your room, but what if the bed is already booked, unavailable or just too expensive as most guesthouses will charge an extra for the service?
It’s time for creativity, here are a few good - or less good - ideas we experimented:
1)      Sleep on the ground: Travel to Japan and sleep in ryokans (traditional Japanese guesthouses). Our daughter was 8 months old when we experienced it. Every evening we unfolded one additional futon bed next to mine, and there she slept, close by her mother, but on a separate mat.
2)      Camp: Camping is probably the easiest option and a fun one too! If you have the right camping equipment, it is just as easy and relaxing as it gets.
3)      Sleep in single or double beds: How many times did we end up with only that option? No baby cot available, no other place to stay overnight… We spent the night in a standard family room and tried to turn the bed in baby-friendly place. Displaced the beds, moved our suitcases next to it, re-designed the interior space. We were more or less successful in family-friendly design. I remember a very cozy hotel with high, comfortable beds and thick carpets on the floor. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, crossing the room and almost stepping on that pile of dirty laundry that my careless children had left on the floor. Luckily I didn’t: it was my baby boy who had fallen from the high bed and crawled a few meters towards the thick carpet where he resumed sleeping, all curled up on this comfy mat.
4)      Sleep in a tent: A tent that you can carry with you. The ideal way to travel with babies. Compact, light and convenient in any situation! 
      An image says more than 1000 words. Look at our ingenious set-up in the R.V.: two kids in the large bed and one baby in the tent!

      It's also perfect for a nap on the beach!
      Note: we found our travel cot on the internet where it was sold under the Deryan brand. You will probably find other brands in sports or travel shops. I mentioned earlier in this page that travel beds can be difficult to fold and unfold. The travel tent can represent a challenge, if you're not used to it! It takes 2 seconds to unfold. Folding it back in the carrying case without knowing the proper instructions would be like folding an origami crane for the first time without any guidance. Make sure to learn the folding steps, take notes, film it, and practice before you leave on vacation! I am now an expert and folds the bed back in its carry-pack in less than a minute.