Back to articles Packing Heavy, Travelling Light

Categories: Parenting Family Guides

When he saw the pile of luggage we were bringing for our first family vacation, my husband laughed. We were off to Cuba, and while it is safe, clean and very family friendly, unless your baby considers rum and cigars necessities, there simply isn't the option of purchasing many baby supplies there. As a nervous first-time mom, I simply couldn't fathom how I'd cope if I needed 'something' and not being able to get it.
So our daughter, who was 11-months-old at the time, had plenty of familiar snacks, sunscreen she wasn’t allergic to (and we hadn’t paid a king’s ransom for), and plenty of adorable clothes that I’m sure are now being worn by adorable Cuban babies. We also paid a shocking amount in overweight fees. However, since we left most of her clothes, and she ate the food we brought, our bags were considerably lighter on the way home.

Also lighter upon our return? Our moods. My husband and I were recharged during that week away, and we learned that there are certain things that you CAN leave behind at home. At the top of that list? Expectations. This was a very different for both of us, and we learned A LOT.

We learned that it’s important to use a detailed packing list for baby, and to figure out how to sterilize bottles in a hotel room. We learned not to cram too much into our days, and to not be disappointed if we didn’t see everything on our “must do” list. We learned to be flexible and to figure out a vacation routine when implementing ours from home wasn’t working. And we learned to lighten up and laugh at the things that would normally stress us out, like a giant pile of luggage.

Choosing a baby-friendly destination for our first trip also made things easier. Cuba is safe, clean, and very affordable for most families, and I’m sure it won’t be long before American families can enjoy it as well. We stayed in an All-Inclusive resort, that was only a five minute walk from Varadero - mostly just a tourist strip but beautiful Josone Park in the centre of town deserves a wander through.


Corinne McDermott is the founder of Have Baby Will Travel - your online guide for travel with babies, toddlers & young children. From baby packing lists to tips on coping with jet lag in toddlers, Have Baby Will Travel wants to help you get away with your baby! For more, visit Corinne's Have Baby Will Travel blog, follow Have Baby Will Travel on twitter and like us on Facebook, where Corinne welcomes your questions and comments.