Even before Hugo was born I was already fantasizing about going on my first (solo) trip with him. I figured I would have the perfect travel companion, who would not have a say in the destination or the daily program, but who would just accompany me on the things that I want to do. Of course that would be oversimplifying reality and after Hugo was born I quickly realized that traveling with a newborn is much easier when you are with two adults. But, last Christmas, I received the perfect opportunity to practice solo travel with a baby, as we rented an appartment in Paris, while Hielke was working remotely. This might not exactly be solo travel, but I did learn a lot about it and in this blog I share my recommendations for traveling solo with a baby!
Recommendations for solo travel with a baby
Stay in a central location: I think this holds true for every big city, when you are doing solo travel with a baby, but you must stay in a central location. Staying in a central location ensures that you can walk everywhere, giving your baby plenty of opportunity to sleep in the stroller. We stayed near Galeries Lafayette Boulevard Haussman, which meant that I could walk to lots of interesting sights within 45 minutes, such as the Christmas decorations at Rue Saint-Honoré, the Louvre and Avenue Montaigne. Sometimes, I would plan to be back in the appartment for his afternoon sleep and read a book myself, and at other times he would just sleep in the stroller.
Rent an appartment: When traveling with Hugo I prefer to stay in an appartment over a hotel. We had an appartment with a kettle, microwave and fridge, which comes in very handy when preparing baby food. In the case that you prefer to stay in a hotel, make sure to stay in a hotel that has a restaurant as well. We stayed at the lovely Phoenicia in Malta, which features a very good restaurant, that took care of heating Hugo’s baby food. We make appartments baby proof by blocking all power outlets with our suitcases.
Hire baby necessities: To make it easier on yourself, you can hire baby equipment for your appartment. Almost every touristy destination has a baby hire company, where you can hire things such as a playpen, a baby seat, a stroller, a baby bed, a baby gym etc.
Travel by bus: If you must take the public transport, take the bus instead of the metro. Not all metro stations have an elevator, making it impossible to travel with a stroller. I found emboarding on a bus journey much more relaxed and it is a great way of getting to know a city too!
Department stores are your best friend: I found that department stores are very kid friendly. The big ones all offered toilets with a baby changing station and a toilet where you could take a pee yourself, while the baby is waiting in the stroller 😉
Museums are a must: In Paris you receive a discount on your museum ticket when you are accompanying a small kid. The kids receive free entry, so it is cheaper to enter with a kid. Hugo loved clapping at all the art that he saw in Paris, make sure you visit museums with colorful art. Besides, the museums all had a kid changing station as well. Make sure to make reservations timely, to get the perfect time slot.
Eat at the terrace: We were lucky with good weather in December, which makes solo travel a little easier. I tried to eat at a restaurant but that didn’t go super well, as Hugo and I weren’t allowed to sit next to each other due to space constraints. However, eating at a charming Parisian terrace went perfectly fine. I just switched a chair for Hugo’s stroller, entertained him with some bread, some pigeons decided to entertain him as well, and we were having a lovely, relaxed lunch! Another recommendation I have for food is Laduree, they had the loveliest antique baby chair and Hugo loved looking at himself in all the mirrors!
Make the most of your mornings: Hugo tends to wake up around 7AM, which is the perfect time to go sightseeing. So after having our breakfast, we would go out and explore Paris. The other tourists are still sleeping at that time, which means you have many famous sights to yourself! I even brought my tripod along, so we could take some pictures together.
Go see the Eiffel Tower sparkling lights: I found Christmas the perfect time to travel to Paris with a baby as he loved watching the Christmas decorations. If you cannot go during Christmas, you do have a yearround sparkle option: the Eiffel Tower sparkling lights shine for five minutes each hour from sunset. We were able to catch the 6PM sparkles, which was perfect just before bedtime.