Baby on Board

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The new word on the travel street is babymoon, which means taking the last holiday before embarking on parenthood. The global perception is that travelling life halts once a baby is born and that he has to be out of diapers before taking that first trip. But should this be the case? I sat down with three moms in Jumia Travel who love to tell stories of the stamps in their passport pages. Introducing Elizabeth Mumbi (Travel Advisor), Estelle Verdier (COO Jumia Group) and Olive Ngaruiya (Payables Accountant).

  • How long did you wait for your newborn to be grown before you decided to do a family trip?

Elizabeth Mumbi at this year’s team building

Mumbi: My daughter was only 2 months old when we travelled to Kijabe for a family function. This is the least desirable destination coz of the cold weather.

Estelle: For our 1st daughter we waited 1 week to go to Naivasha. Both went on a plane before turning 3 weeks. On my 2nd daughter’s 5th day, we went on our first safari in Lewa Conservancy.

Olive: She was 5 months before we travelled to the Coast by bus. For this trip, we made sure we booked in advance to have the most comfortable seats and functional AC.

  • How do you choose the destination for your family vacation?

Estelle receiving her secret santa gift from Country Rep Cyrus

Estelle: Swimming pool is a must; kids’ club is a plus. We like to go to places where our children can spend time outside so definitely not cities. The more fun they have, the more tired they are in the evening and the heavier they sleep.

Mumbi: I choose based on distance from home. Am comfortable when it’s an hour or two away so that in case of an emergency, we can get home as quickly as possible. I also choose a destination with warm, friendly weather so that my baby doesn’t fall sick.

Olive: Since we travel by public means for our holidays, I look for easily accessible hotels on full board basis in the coast coz it’s warm. However, we prefer inland accommodation not too close to the ocean as there are less mosquitoes. Our room has to have a mini fridge and I usually request for baby washing basin.

  • Three things you can’t travel without? (except passport)

Mumbi: Extra diapers as a precaution measure. Baby thermometer to check temperature and Calpol should she get a fever. I also have a first aid kit.

Estelle: Swimming costume definitely! A magazine for the lazy afternoons and story books for my daughter.

Olive: Mosquito repellent for the baby, my own bottle sterilizers, and towels for the whole family. I do not trust those provided by the hotel.

  • What’s the most memorable happenstance during your trip with your baby/toddler? 
Olive holdin up one of Kenya's UNESCO Heritage Site

Olive holding up one of Kenya’s UNESCO Heritage Site

Olive: It was so hot compared to the weather we are used to in Nairobi so I let our baby stay naked but with a diaper on of course. She was so free and happy not having to wear anything. I also gave her the first bath in a bathtub. She was quite excited and so she splashed water all over as she played.

Estelle: This one time, my daughter and I travelled alone by plane when I was pregnant. My daughter refused to walk when we got to the airport. That meant pulling the baggage with one hand and carrying her on the other in the massive Paris airport. I thought I was never going to reach Nairobi despite being on time at the airport.

Mumbi: It was the festival season and the first time we were travelling to see the entire family. Being the new born, everyone was quite excited to see her but she wouldn’t open her eyes the entire day. It was funny because she wasn’t sleeping.

  • The most practical piece of advice for those planning travel with babies/toddlers?

Estelle: Don’t forget powder milk and nappies. More in this case is always good especially when travelling with a baby.

Olive: Make sure the hotel can make easy baby food like non-spicy mashed potatoes or pumpkin with milk. Finding adult food is always easy so no worries about nourishing parents.

Mumbi: Always carry extra sets of clothes, enough diapers, baby wipes, and disposal bags for the diapers. Babies poop a lot so ensure safe ways of disposing. Baby-friendly environment is key and never forget the milk (powder or expressed).

  • Do you work during your holiday? (I won’t judge)

Mumbi: NEVER!

Estelle: Yes, a little bit like tonight ;-), but more and more I am disconnecting completely

Olive: Yes! Yes! Yes! I do work but only when it’s not interfering with family time.

Key take-out from the interview; Parenthood doesn’t have a manual and there is no one way of doing things, especially in regards to travel. As school holidays approach in Kenya, think of places where your babies can have fun while getting some vitamin sea. Check out our online travel guide for family-friendly places.

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