Our First Overseas Trip with Anson BB
Going on a holiday with an infant for the first time can be a rather daunting task especially for first timers like myself but it is not as impossible as it may seem. Knowing what to expect and preparing for the trip is essential as it will help to ease the bumps along the way. Now that Anson is old enough to travel, we decided maybe it’s time for us to bring him to experience his first international flight and explore the world.
Born in Hong Kong, I have spent nine years of my childhood living there before migrating to Singapore. And since my husband is a half Hong Konger, we would usually go back to Hong Kong at least once in a year to visit my grandma and both his and my relatives and friends. Every time we return, we will usually visit the same old places to eat and shop. I thought I knew the city very well. However, this recent trip to Hong Kong with Anson was totally a different experience as both my husband and I had to take care of him. Thankfully, I have my mother-in-law travelling with us as well. During the trip, you will have to find ways to make the trip easy and comfortable for your baby and yourself, which at times can be challenging. Nonetheless, we prevailed but at the expense of not having much time to shop.
Here’s what I have learnt on my first family trip with a six-month-old baby to Hong Kong.
1) Have a Baby Essentials Backpack
First of all, having a travel medical kit is essential for anyone who’s travelling. Having a baby onboard, it is important to make sure you have all the basic medications for your baby too, e.g. baby Panadol, diarrhea meds and rehydration salts from your baby’s pediatrician. Remember to bring along syringes too, thermometer and lip balm as well (as the air can be quite dry at times).
If you are worried that your child may need pacifying due to the ear pressure while flying, do make sure you have your pacifier ready. I always make sure he is sucking on one during takeoff and landing. If not, you can also give your baby some milk or water to combat the air pressure too. Be sure to load up on toys or anything that can keep your baby occupied and pray that he takes a good long nap. Also, make sure you always bring along extra diapers, formula, snacks, water and sufficient clothes to prevent him from falling sick. The number of things to pack was mad but I think my husband and I did a fairly good job as a first-time mummy and daddy.
2) Fill up Baby before Moving
I am blessed that my boy never showed any signs of crankiness or fussiness on board. This is highly attributable to my professional mother-in-law who kept pacifying him during the flight. One point to note always is to feed your baby before moving off even if you have fed your baby an hour ago. This is just to make sure your baby is absolutely satisfied and happy to go.
3) Babywear is Important
Hong Kong is a densely-populated city. It is challenging enough to be a pedestrian on the narrow and busy pavements, much less to push a stroller around with your baby on board. Flights of stairs are also a common sight there, stairs to go up to buildings and stairs when transiting via the MTR. My poor husband had to carry the stroller and the luggage up and down so many times a day especially when we were transiting using the MTR. Instead of gaining weight in this trip, it gave him a lot of opportunities to exercise. Hence, Hong Kong is definitely not the best place for a stroller. So, the best option is to BABYWEAR and thankfully, I have my colorful PIXLATED TULA. Once inside the carrier, Anson will naturally fall asleep within 5 minutes. This way, you can spend less time coaxing your baby to sleep and have more time for yourself.
If you haven’t gotten around this whole baby-carrying gig, better start soon if you wish to travel with a baby. Don’t wait until you have booked your holiday before you try fitting your baby inside because chances are, they will be uncomfortable with it and hate it. You need some time for your baby to be accustomed with it.
4) Invest in a Light-weight, Foldable Stroller
Though stroller isn’t a good idea, you will need to do a lot of walking in Hong Kong and it can be very exhausting if you were to carry your baby the whole day shopping around. Some of the larger shopping centers are generally quite spacious and have ample lifts. Thus, navigating and going floor to floor with your stroller wasn’t much of a hassle. In some of the mega malls, you can even loan a baby stroller for free.
Ultimately, I would highly recommend you to invest in a light-weight stroller. Do also note that accidents happened in MTR have been reported from time to time and it is always important to pay attention to the following:
1. Stroller caught in the gap between train and platform;
2. Stroller caught between the train doors; and
3. Fall from the escalator.
5) Note when taking Taxi
The most convenient form of public transportation in Hong Kong (probably our most used transport tool) would be their taxi in my opinion. It is cheap and they are simply almost everywhere! The only concern is the safety factor as there are no legal requirements in Hong Kong for babies and children to have car seats so hold onto them tight when you are in taxis because some cab drivers do drive like maniacs! In addition, there will be additional charges if you were to put your stroller in the car boot.
6) Baby Change Facilities are Rare
You can’t find as many nice nursing and diaper changing rooms in Hong Kong as compared to Singapore. Even at a famous 5-star Peninsular Hotel, the hotel staff had to bring me to a spa room when I needed to pump milk urgently. Most of the time, the only facility you can find is a change table in the ladies’ toilet only. Hence, there won’t be any diaper changing bonding time between Daddy and the baby. At an occasion when we were at a Yum Cha restaurant having our lunch, we had no choice but to change in the stroller as the toilet was so dirty and wet.
7) Rent a Pocket Wi-Fi
Nowadays, it is so important to stay connected at all times because of our addiction to social media and our constant need to check our WhatsApp, emails and to upload the latest photos onto Instagram… Hence, getting unlimited data roaming with your subscriber or buying a local SIM card are some of the options to consider when you travel. Apart from this, you can also opt to rent an overseas Wi-Fi router from Changi Recommends.
You can take this Wi-Fi device anywhere you go and be connected all the time, even on the roads during a road trip. The only thing you need to worry about is the device running out of battery. Nevertheless, there is a power bank provided in the pack that you can use to keep it charged. This global router can connect up to eight devices simultaneously, regardless of whether it is your smartphone, laptop or tablet and right now, they are having a promotion. With just $5/day rates for Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand, you get to stay connected for as low as $1/day when you share it with a group of 5!
The rental part is easy. Just book the device online and collect it at the Airport Terminal which you have indicated during the booking process.
8) Wear a Comfortable Shoe
Last but not least, you will definitely need a pair of super comfortable shoes especially when you have your baby with you. As said, you will have to do a lot of walking in Hong Kong and if you are using public transport like the MTR, some of the stations do not have escalators or lifts but only stairs. Moreover, the pavements in Hong Kong can be quite uneven. Thus, it is always good to equip yourself with a good pair of comfortable walking shoes.
So that is it. The above are some of the things to take note when traveling with a baby in Hong Kong. Overall, I really enjoyed the time spent with my baby and relatives and I can’t wait to plan for our next family trip as “Babies come in free until they’re three”. So why not take advantage of this? Moreover, children are fast learners and giving them the opportunities to travel often can help to stimulate their curiosities and widen their horizons.