We all like to go to interesting destinations and we travel for many different reasons. All these reasons are usually good. However, we like to go in our preferred way. The associated costs vary greatly with each style. Be aware that value can be achieved in all styles of travel with the right opportunities and a proactive travel agent. It is not unusual for travellers to choose alternate styles of travel for different experiences.The Fully Independent TravellerThe Fully Independent Travelers (FIT) are usually people who are confident of seeing the world on their own. This mode can provide great value and allow flexibility. It allows them to be active participants rather than an observer of all the experiences. The Fully Independent Traveller may have more opportunities in cultural immersion when staying with locals, for example, and generally have greater access to intimate events. The people using this style of travel need to assess and mitigate risks.The Group TravellerThe Group Traveller enjoys the comfort of a guide and fixed itinerary and the start date of the tour is called the Fixed Departure Date (FDD). Group sizes vary with small groups ranging from 8 to 20 and larger groups having up to 100 participants. Mostly the group size is determined by the transport options and the accommodation options available at the destinations. One of the benefits of groups is the possibility of meeting like-minded people. Many a long-term friendship has been made during group tours, particularly small group tours. The group leader can also add insights into the activities during the trip making it more interesting. Small group tours tend to be more relaxed and a little flexible in their activities.The Specialty TravellerThe Specially Traveller is looking for something particular, like corporate, photography, adventure health, mission, volunteer or special interest. The needs of these people varies greatly and care should be taken that risks are identified and mitigated. These tours are usually like groups but can be for Fully Independent Travelers also.In conclusion, choose the travel style that suits your needs. If you are not a frequent traveller, perhaps a place to start is in group travel and move on to becoming and independent traveller as you gain confidence and understand the many challenges of traveling. Irrespective of the style of traveller that you might be, enjoy the opportunity to see the world as it is. We all come back a little different after our travels.
Why is it the minute people find out you are pregnant, they assume you won’t be traveling anywhere anytime soon? I find that annoying and make it my personal challenge to get out and see the world with my kids. Traveling with an infant can be a challenge though and if you do a search online, there are dozens of articles out there explaining how to travel with an infant, many provide long lists of all those essentials and must haves to bring along. I fell for a lot of that when I had my first child, but now that I am expecting baby #4, I realize that those necessities really aren’t that necessary. True, if you want all the comforts of home then by every means, bring it all. But I enjoy traveling light, even when traveling with the whole family including our infant. And here is how I do it.Hotel Necessities: Think comfort and safety when traveling with an infant. If you are staying over night at a hotel, ask ahead of time if they rent or loan a crib. Then you can save yourself the hassle of having to pack a travel bassinet. If you don’t want to take a chance and feel more comfortable bringing along that bassinet for your new baby, then there are a few on the market that fold down to a compact size that fits in your suit case like the Pea Pod by Kidco. There are also portable bed bolsters that inflate and attach to the hotel bed if you prefer to have your infant in the same bed with you. I have used them and not only did it work well while traveling, I continue to use my inflatable bed bolsters at home to keep my active sleepers from toppling onto the floor.Diaper Bag: Lets face it, your diaper bag is simply a necessity, but it doesn’t have to be an oversized hassle. I’ve tried out many different diaper bags ranging from big to small, sturdy to flimsy, and none of them met my needs for carrying everything I need in an organized, comfortable manner. That is until I discovered that a diaper bag could be a back pack. My all time favorite diaper bag is a diaper bag backpack made by Baby Sherpa. I use it as my carry-on luggage on flights, as well as my daily diaper bag that also has an insulated compartment for food, snacks, and liquids. As an avid backpacker, I love the feel of a well built backpack on my back.Flying with an Infant: I love to avoid carrying a lot including a car seat. Many airlines allow parents to use an infant airplane harness like the Baby B’Air so your infant sits on your lap and is tethered to the same seat belt as the parent. This allows you to avoid lugging around a car seat and checking in a stroller while you fly. That’s a lot of gear I would rather leave at home. There are also nifty travel seat attachments that attach to rolling luggage so kids can sit on them like the Ride-on Carry-on. These work great for toddlers.Extra Clothes: Yes, you simply will have to bring extra clothes for your infant. They are cute, but they are messy. Good thing those little outfits don’t take up a whole lot of space in the suitcase. An extra pair of clothes for Mom might not be a bad idea either, unless you have stain free-wrinkle free out fits.Transporting Baby: Is a stroller really necessary? Well that would depend on the size of your infant, your comfort level, and the structural integrity of your back. When I travel with an infant, I prefer a sling or baby carrier like the Baby Bjorn. I don’t like to be weighed down by all the baby stuff like bulky strollers and prefer traveling like the Native American Indians did with their infants in the papoose for long distances and Moms hands free.Toys, Games, and Extras: Should you bring toys, games and items to entertain your infant? Chances are, your little one will be just fine interacting with you and does not need all the extra stimulation that many infant toys provide while you travel. I have had the experience of traveling on a long road trip with a teething baby. Out of desperation, I handed her my lavender soothing eye satchel. She held it to her face, and instantly stopped crying. Not sure what that was all about, but I would recommend carrying some aromatherapy items along just in case.Traveling with kids is a little more complex, though and unless you are a stand up comedian with endless energy, then it is advisable to bring along a little something to entertain or educate them with. We always rely on audio books and self contained coloring kits, a few toys, and a lot of snacks on our long road trips. I am not one for car clutter so we use a car travel tray that folds up compact when not in use, and allows the kids to keep there travel activities, snacks and such organized in one spot on their tray while we travel.Strive to travel light with your infant. Don’t let the fear of being without something cause you to bring everything. Write down the items you feel comfortable bringing, then try to downsize as much as possible. Whether that means switching from a large travel bassinet to a small, compact one, or losing the stroller and car seat all together. You will need to do some footwork to be sure you have a car seat available upon arrival or with your rental car company, but it’s really not that difficult and only takes a phone call and reservation. Call your hotel to secure a crib, and attach your baby to your body with a baby carrier/sling to avoid a stroller. Then you can be proud of yourself in knowing that you are truly traveling light with your infant. The world is a fascinating place to see, so get out their and see it without all the extra baggage!Happy Travels!