Taking your baby away for the first time is a big milestone and choosing the right destination is key to making the trip a success. Unless you are super adventurous you will probably want somewhere that is neither too hot nor too cold, has a pretty good healthcare infrastructure and a good range of relaxed activities with relatively little travel involved. To help, we’ve pulled together eight destinations for your infant’s bucket list. For general tips, have a look at our article on travelling with your baby.
Partying in Magaluf probably won’t be on your agenda with a small baby but the north of the island has pretty market towns with promenades to push the stroller along, beautiful beaches for your bundle of joy to discover a love of sand and restaurants which really welcome babies. There’s also a fantastic foodie culture so you can take advantage of nap time and enjoy feeling like a grown adult again.
Ko Samui, Thailand
A perennial favourite whatever stage in life you are at, Ko Samui’s popularity may be a detractor for some but it does means that you can find pretty much everything you need for travelling with a baby: nappies, formula, restaurants with high chairs, a range of family-friendly accommodation options and so on. Spending time at the beach is an obvious choice with an infant but when you need a break the temples and gardens can be surprisingly good for little kids (offering shade and new things to look at). But the best reason to take your baby to Ko Samui is the warm Thai welcome you will get wherever you go.
The east of England is known for being flat, making it a very suitable place if you have a stroller and like to walk while your baby sleeps. Being a bit further away from London but still a relatively quick drive, Norfolk offers good value in terms of accommodation and dining costs, and it has a relaxed easy-going vibe and plenty to keep parents of the very young happy. Think sandy beaches, sweet coastal towns, National Trust properties, and if your little one has become a walking one then a trip to the magical Bewilderwood is a must.
Like the Thais, Italians LOVE babies and believe us it’s so nice to be on holiday somewhere with a culture that embraces and adores your precious bundle. Toddling infants are welcomed at historical sites, and where better for that first lick of gelato or nibble of pizza. But why Tuscany particularly? With a babe in arms you can easily explore the museums and galleries of Florence and Pisa, the hilltop towns are perfect places to people watch with a coffee and a small person, and yes there are beaches if you want them. Stay on a working farm and enjoy watching your baby interact with animals too.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Easily accessible with plenty of baby-friendly flight times and also pretty affordable due to the large number of options available, Quintana Roo is home to both Cancún and Mexico’s Caribbean coast and welcomes families with open arms. There are baby-friendly beaches, plenty of family accommodation options (including all inclusive resorts with babysitting and all chores taken care of if you want to properly switch off) and opportunities for fun away from making sandcastles, exploring ruins or watching wildlife.
Sunshine Coast, Australia
With all the delights of Queensland packed into one easily-navigated area, the Sunshine Coast is a lovely place to take your baby. It’s warm without being too hot, there are loads of things to do whether you want to wander round markets, take the pram along a beachside path or hang out in the pool, and it has a reputation for some of the best family-friendly places to stay in Oz. For a treat, Noosa Heads is an upmarket town with a relaxed vibe, and easy access to the rainforest for walks with a baby in a carrier if you’ve had enough of the sand and sea.
A city break might seem like an odd idea for new parents but while a baby still sleeps a lot there’s chance to visit that gallery or museum you’ve always wanted to, linger over a coffee as you people watch and even have dinner at adult’s dinner time and not 5pm. Boston is a great choice because it also offers plenty for the very little person, with lots of playgrounds to explore and fountains to frolic in as well as museums that specifically cater to the very small. Check out the Children’s Museum, the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium for starters. And then plan to bring your son or daughter back when they are school age too!
New Zealand (by camper van)
If New Zealand has always been on your travel wishlist, then maternity or paternity leave can be a great opportunity to do a longer trip and visit a part of the world you’ve always wanted to. While you have to be careful with the amount of time your baby spends in the car seat, hiring a camper van allows you to keep exploring without having to unpack all the baby paraphernalia all the time. The freedom of the open road combined with the buzz of exploring somewhere in your new family unit is the stuff family memories are made of. Your baby might not remember the details as they get older but the fact you did it will always be part of their travel history. And as it's New Zealand, free camping is also an option.