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Sunday, 01 July 2012

Traveling with a Baby

Written by Jonathan Hiltz
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My wife and I have had the good fortune of being part time travel journalists for over seven years now.  Last year we had a baby girl named Violet and until this recent trip to Venice Beach California, we have never traveled with a baby.

It’s been said by many an expert that traveling is good for a child at any age.  It broadens their experiences and shows them the world through various different cultures and ways of life.  Having said that – traveling with a baby can significantly change the experience for the parents depending on how young your child is.

Violet was six months old when we recently left Toronto on a flight to Los Angeles.  We were prepared, but delays with the plane caused our 9 hour flight to become a 17 hour journey.  Violet was fine for most of the day, but after the lay over in San Francisco and then getting the car in LA, time had finally caught up with her and she was bananas.  

Venice 27Little things like travel delays can have small effects on adults however to a baby can be large changes. I have written articles for inTravel in the Mojave Desert, from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and through the Costa Rican Rainforest.  Those were adventures but didn’t compare to driving on the 405 with a screaming child.

We figured out the sleeping arrangements that night and we were looking forward to Day 2 and being settled.  Los Angles, especially the Santa Monica/Venice Beach area, is a wonderful place to take your child. The boardwalk between the two cities is relaxing and offers great views. The Santa Monica Pier is a carnival area that our six month old slept through but we got a kick out of. We discovered it’s one of the hot spots for kids’ birthday parties. One thing to keep in mind if you are staying somewhere along the beach is to be up on a higher floor because the noise of the crowds and beach musicians can possibly disturb your baby’s naps during the day. We were above a store that played loud music all day, but luckily we brought our baby’s sound machine. It was a great tool to muffle the various sounds from outside.

A few places that are fun with babies in Los Angeles include the Griffith Observatory, which is a fascinating look at the Universe around us.  The Grove is an upscale area right beside the famous Farmers Market and walking down Rodeo Drive just to look at the outrageous and lavish stores is something we always find fun.  Hollywood offers the wax and entertainment museums, and Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade will fill an entire day with its restaurants, buskers, retail stores and other oddities such as garden and fountain sculptures and religious messengers handing out pamphlets.

When we go to LA, we always book through HostelBookers which offers affordable hotel and hostel options all over the world.  This time, we stayed at the Cadillac Hotel in Venice Beach, which was excellent.  The hotel has over 100 years of history behind it, but offers various modern amenities including condo-style rooms with kitchens and separate bedrooms.  This proved very useful as after the baby went to bed, we were able to stay in the other room and didn’t need to worry about waking her up.


The most important thing that we found when traveling with a baby is that despite the fact that you are on ‘vacation,’ the baby still has a schedule of naps and feeds that go where you go, no matter where you are in the world.  Knowing this before you jump into things is a good way of being prepared when you still spend half your day just taking care of the child.  

But traveling as much as possible should be on everyone’s bucket list, so having a baby should not hinder this experience. With a little adapting you can have your airplane cake and eat your child’s cake too. Because if you buy them their own seat, the airline is obliged to get you another meal. :)


(c)Jonathan Hiltz

Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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