There’s a reason for Curious George, Caillou and Elmo—sometimes it’s better to just stay home with your baby or toddler than to take her along on an outrageous journey. Don’t make life unnecessarily difficult for yourself by carting your child to something where she has to stay silent, sit still, or can’t act on any other kid-like behaviors. If you’re like me, you’re too lazy to chase after or constantly entertain your baby. So, here’s 5 places you should probably stay away from. Save the adventures for later.
1. India. From what other travelers have told me about India, none of it seems baby-friendly. Baby J keeps putting her hands in toilets, for one, so I know she is not ready for a country where basic walking is a dangerous event leading to possible poop on the hand or cow in the face. The saris look beautiful, and the mass streaming into the Ganges awe-inspiring, but sanitation seems questionable. I’m not one for extreme cleanliness, and I do tend to agree with George Carlin, but I have my limits. Then again, pretty much all I know about India I learned from Slumdog Millionaire.
2. A cruise not specifically for families. Any cruise over 7 days or on an upscale cruise line is for people wanting to get away from children, not be pestered by them in the hot tub. The longer cruises really attract rich people with time, like retirees or recently widowed women spending their late hubby’s money. Cruise Critic is a great resource to find out what kind of demographic is on each cruise line. For instance, you wouldn’t bring a loud toddler on a Cunard Line transatlantic crossing or else face dirty looks at a particularly raucous afternoon tea. Similarly, you wouldn’t go on Carnival expecting the drunk bachelorette parties to be considerate of your sleeping baby.
3. Jamaica. I’m sure there are nice parts of Jamaica, like those in the resorts where you are not constantly bothered by aggressive peddlers. Visitors to countries all over the world face this unfortunate aspect of travel, not just Jamaica. I get that they depend on tourist money to survive and this is why they can be so ruthless in offering both wares and weed. We had a bad experience in Ocho Rios where the men were very physical and did not respect personal space, ending in us being scammed out of money on a shoddy staircase over the ocean for the “garden tour” we had received. When I travel with a baby, I want to feel safe and secure. I’m too lazy to have to fight off vendors just so I can take the baby out for some fresh air.
4. A long bus ride or tour. This is in the same vein as an overnight international flight. You can’t get off the bus, you oftentimes can’t get out of your seat, you can’t let your baby scream and bother the other people who are trying to listen to the narration or sleep. In fact, I would rather rent a car and drive pretty much anywhere to avoid the face-off that would occur between my turning-Terrible Two’s toddler and me. A vacation for me does not mean putting on an hours-long magic show and pulling god-knows-what out of my carry-on.
5. An active volcano. In the book One Year Off, by David Cohen, he and his family (including a 2-year-old) take one year to explore the world, including hiking up an active volcano in Costa Rica. Despite the inherent slippery-ness of a rainy Costa Rican path through the jungle, you have to be on top of your game to make sure you or your toddler don’t walk off a cliff or into a lava flow. If baby is in a carrier, this limits the risk somewhat, but I’m too lazy (and too out-of-shape) to carry a heavy baby on my back up a volcano.