We're home! We had a month-long holiday and visited 4 different countries including India, France, Belgium & The Netherlands. There is so much to catch up on!
Here's a start:
- We toured through 6 different cities in India with 12 family members. Even with tons of advance planning, it was a logistical nightmare! Husband and his older brother were both stressing to keep everything flowing smoothly.
- Miss A was the center of attention, since it was the first time she was meeting most of our Indian family.
- We were stopped by random people so they could take photos of Miss A. She especially got lots of attention when she was riding in her red baby carrier backpack (pictured above).
- We highly recommend a baby carrier as opposed to a stroller when traveling to India. Much more convenient.
- We had mostly good health while traveling. Miss A came down with something the morning we left for India. She ran a fever for a couple of days and had a cough and runny nose, but it took care of itself within a few days and she was perfectly fine the rest of the trip.
- Jet-lag - we knew what to expect for ourselves, but this is the first time we've traveled this far with a baby. She was up from 2am - 6am several nights in a row that first week. Wow that was ROUGH! Then she would fall asleep in the late afternoon and the cycle would repeat itself. Finally I made a rule that she was not allowed to sleep after 6 pm. That did the trick.
- When we returned home we had reverse jet-lag. It took almost 2 weeks to get Miss A back on a "normal" schedule. We always find that jet-lag hits us harder on the way home.
- Baby sippy cups: before reaching my Mother-in-law's house, we spent a week traveling through India. I was worried how I would safely clean Miss A's cups. Every place we stayed had an electric tea kettle. After washing with soap and a bottle brush (that I had brought from home), I just popped all the pieces of her cups inside and boiled for a few minutes. Worked like a charm. But I sure was glad to get home to my dishwasher! (Well that and I let the maids take over a few times once we reached MIL's house)
- Milk for the baby: She's been drinking whole milk for a while now, although at home we drink raw milk (more on that later!), but in India, especially while traveling, we used the shelf stable milk, called "tetra-packs." It is very different from what she's used to, but she did ok. Every time we got in the car, she would say "MILK." So we carried it with us everywhere!
- Carseat: No carseat for Miss A for almost one whole month! MIL recently sold her car, because she really didn't need it for just one person, so we were in taxis most of our time overseas. Carseats aren't the norm in India, and in fact, when you are sometimes cramming more people in a car than there are seats, it would be considered very "wasteful" to have an entire seat just for a baby! She got used to me holding her while we were in the car, but she didn't complain once we got home, which I was a little concerned about.
- My PIO card practically paid for itself... I got into all the tourist attractions for the Indian rate. Example: Taj Mahal - ticket price for foreigners is Rs. 750, and for Indians it is Rs. 20! Brilliant!
- Things in India don't cost what they used to! We were constantly reminded of that fact. My husband has lived in North America for over 6 years now, and our last trip to India was in 2007. Big difference. We were most surprised at hotel prices and taxi prices (although we had been warned!)
- When you have been hearing Hindi for 3.5 weeks straight, you will forget all the French you ever knew upon landing in Paris. You will freeze when trying to think of how to say the number "4" and your Indian husband will upstage you (because he already knows like 5 languages, so what's one more???) and he will proceed to order all the croissants and charm the socks off of the French people. (True story!)
- We travelled "light" only 5 suitcases going there and 7 coming home. Never. Ever. Again.
- We had to catch 3 trains to get from Paris to Amsterdam. 7 suitcases. 2 backpacks. 1 baby. Never. Ever. Again.
- Contrary to popular belief we did not pay excess baggage for our international flights.
- However, when traveling domestic inside of India it would have been cheaper to buy Miss A a seat than pay for excess baggage.
- When your brother-in-law is a high ranking officer in the Indian Army, he can summon "men" to come and collect the excess baggage and deposit it at the final destination, saving tons of money on excess baggage.
- Forget taking toys - an iPad does wonders to keep a baby entertained on long flights!
- Next time we go to India, we'll probably have baby #2, but we are taking only what we can carry in our hands or on our backs. I am determined that next time we will travel light!
How about you? Any recent trips to India or plans to go in the near future? Any advice you would give someone traveling to a "Desi" country? Special tips on traveling with a baby or small children?
I would love to hear your input!
Want to see a few photos from our recent trip? Click here to view my Flickr photostream.