I just spent a week in bliss. Well as much bliss as you can get with a teething-just-about-crawling-off-his-reflux-meds-for-the-week-timezone-change-sleepless-and-somewhat-grizzly baby. This was also the first holiday I have ever gone on, where I planned nothing and researched nothing. I essentially told the travel agent my budget and said I wanted to experience an overwater bungalow before my baby started walking. That was it. And then I coughed up an obscene amount of money (thanks to a VERY generous tax return) and told my husband ‘we’re off’, staying at the Intercontinental Tahiti for the first and last night, and 5 nights at the Intercontinental on Moorea. Not doing research did come around to bite me in the bum- big time. BUT it was such a precious time for the three of us to spend together, and I simply loved seeing my husband spend a serious amount of quality time with his son (which I loved almost as much as sharing night feeds!)
Yet, this was our first international trip with Noah and I’m thankful it wasn’t too far away, and was only 9 days in total. Here are the 3 main things I learnt from our first international experience together as a family.
- Don’t be daft. RESEARCH. We (I mean, I) couldn’t have chosen a more expensive destination. And we didn’t even go to Bora Bora. Instead, we went a little closer afield, and only a 45minute ferry ride, over to neighbouring Moorea, from the island Tahiti (where we did have to spend our first and last night.) After a leisurely lunch, I retuned from the loo to have my husband, with some trepidation, tell me that a Coke just cost $8… (insert expletives). My hubby’s club sandwich was $42. We promptly decided that it was ‘diet week.’ I also did no research into baby safety. We couldn’t do a single tour, because taking our baby was ‘at our own risk’ and we had to sign waivers. Whilst the hotel did offer a babysitting service, which I was keen on, my husband was not. We were unable to go on any snorkelling or driving tours. In hindsight I would have known this, and it didn’t really detract in any way from our holiday, but it would have been nice to have seen more of the island. When you have a baby you need to lower expectations. We did hire a car for a day, but again, their idea of a ‘baby seat’ was a mere capsule, with no connection points (and here I was thinking they were just being generous in offering us the ‘seat’ for free!) Hubby spent some time twisting and turning the seatbelts around the capsule to secure it the best he could, and I ended up sitting in the back with Noah for most of the time anyway, just in case (and to abate the endless grizzling). In the end, I was thankful for a relaxing, albeit costly, holiday, but wouldn’t do the ‘winging it’ thing again.
- PEOPLE LOVE BABIES! This was a shock to me, because I’m not particularly maternal… From being ushered through quickly in the airport, to making friends with the security guard/golf cart transporter of luggage, having a baby is like a beacon for assistance and friendliness. A close friend once told me I wasn’t generally approachable due to the big ‘Fu*$ Off’ sign on my forehead, but having a baby seems to have hidden that for the time being! Everyone loves cooing, touching, looking at and chatting to you about your baby (maybe it’s ‘cos he’s such a cutie??) and we were ever so thankful for the patient people on the plane who had to sit behind us, and the little old ladies who would stop to tell you how adorable he was. My husband even used Noah to enter into conversation with ‘England’s greatest off-spin bowler ever’ Graeme Swann in the Qantas lounge, who initiated the conversation because my husband was watching the cricket holding Noah! People tend to be more accommodating when you have a baby, we found, which was a nice change and not something we were expecting.
- STAY IN AN OVERWATER BUNGALOW at least once and choose your location carefully, make sure you can snorkel off your bure. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever actually spend the money to do this- but i’m so glad I did! It was just so wonderful to be able to sit on our verandah and watch tropical fish go by as we were literally on top of the reef. It was also great to be able to jump off the back deck for a snorkel, or watch the fish go by . Truly though, it was bliss, and the most amazing place to chill and relax. Lucky for us Noah loves the water as well, and although a tad deep in the ocean where we were, the hotel pool was fabulous and we had some great times in there with him.
(Tip– take your own floaties for the baby. They don’t take up too much room, and they kept him happy for ages!)
As for flying internationally with a baby, I’m grateful for:
- bassinet seats
- qantas club/lounge
- stop over (it did give us a break)
- getting on and off first
- having my husband with me.
(You can read more about this in the previous blog.) Overall, I had a wonderful time away with the family. It was well overdue (nearly a year since our last family holiday) and the time didn’t go too quickly, which was nice. Would I recommend Tahiti? Hell Yes! Would I go there again? Um… no. I think i’ll spend my pennies elsewhere.