The first vacation with the baby can be quite… well, challenging. There’s all the packing to do, the last minute items to keep track of, and of course, that one bag set aside just for the baby’s travel gear. And if that's not enough, there’s always the crying baby and the fumbling hubby in the background doing what they do best - annoy one.
Admit it. And the very thought of having to go through this much trouble to travel to a city that one doesn’t even know is baby friendly, can be quite a challenging decision to make. Should parents carefully consider and do hours worth of research to find the perfect baby friendly destination for travel?
Should parents just visit a place that hubby darling has always wanted to visit with the wifey, and take care of baby issues along the way? Or should theye just wing it?
And then of course, there’s the location to think about. Needless to say, the chances of the infant being as eager for a visit to Las Vegas as a visit to Disneyland are, well, miniscule. Cities not meeting the baby’s needs might be a great problem if parents are not picking a tourist destination, but deciding where to reside permanently.
This article will provide readers with a list of international cities that are considered the most baby-friendly. And just a small note: This is not a better-to-worse (or vice versa) list. It simply points out certain baby friendly cities and how much they are baby friendly.
15 Reykjavik, Iceland
Sure the city has an unpredictable climate, but what most of our readers don’t know is that it is also a highly developed baby-friendly city. The crime rate in this city is exceptionally low, and it’s a common site to see parents comfortably doing their shopping while their babies are left peacefully sleeping in their buggies.
So what else, apart from culture and shopping, does Reykjavik have to offer? Well, thermal hot springs with children’s pool and slides, watching the Northern lights at night, whale watching and even trying on Viking armor are just a few of the very exciting activities that the city has to offer to its tourists.
The more adventurous parents can go and climb to the top of Mount Esja, get in touch with nature at the Tjornin Lake or try their hand at horseback riding through the valleys.
Either way, the place is not on the expensive side and will be a change for those wanting to travel abroad with their baby.
14 Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne is considered one of the safest cities for families, and it’s also highly ranked when it comes to childcare. 10 years ago, a quality-improvement system started by an NGO called the Early Childhood Alliance became so popular, that the entire state adopted it soon after.
This system allows people to rate the city's child-care businesses, which means that those new to the city will have no problem finding the best places for their baby, based on the review of thousands of locals as well as tourists. Not to mention, their working hours, charges and staff-child ratios. In addition to all of this, the costs of living in Fort Wayne are considered affordable to an average family.
Other pluses include several baby friendly joints, stroller-friendly trails as well as several local mommy groups. The city’s affordable to stay at, so those who are thinking of relocating cannot pick a better city than Fort Wayne.
13 Barcelona, Spain
Did our readers know that Time Magazine ranked Barcelona, Spain, the best baby-friendly country in the world? Its capital too deserves the title. The Spanish are known to be a friendly and welcoming group of people, which is reflected easily in their attitudes.
For example, if a mother with a child is standing in a ticket line, most people will let her move to the front of the line by simply saying, “please.” Barcelona is a flat city, which means going on a walk with babies in strollers is a breeze.
A high number of places are accessible in Barcelona via strollers, with children being allowed in all types of restaurants, except for the high end ones. Baby Gear Rentals is a thing there, and a simple Google search will show parents which places to buy/rent baby stuff from. The buses are easy to board with strollers in tow, and mothers are given seats besides the places where strollers can be belted, with your baby sleeping comfortably in it.
12 Scottsdale, Arizona
So, if parents are looking for a safe city adjusted to the needs of their infant, the city of Scottsdale, Arizona, should definitely be on their list. Several pediatric experts and mommy bloggers helped the Parents.com website come up with their own travel system that analyzed 35 factors for the most important traits for new families when relocating.
Scottsdale received a best mark (A+) for family safety. This fact is verified by the amount of mommies who go out for nightly walks with their infants without having to worry about being mugged or harassed. Needless to say, this can instantly convince one to decide to give a chance to Scottsdale.
It is quite a peaceful city with the lowest crime rate in Arizona, with retirement homes and young families residing in happy coexistence, side by side. It also provides families with many recreation centers, as well as baby centers and a lot of pediatricians.
11 Tokyo, Japan
Time Magazine ranks Japan among the first and the most baby-friendly countries in the world. And they definitely had all the reasons for it, because the tech capital of Japan, Tokyo, provides parents with various activities and sightseeing tours that are incredibly baby friendly.
This means that parents can accompany their baby on one of several tours, public and private places without any hassles, as well as places that are open even on New Year’s Eve, such as Meiji Shrine in Harajuku. If parents want to go sightseeing, they can relax and take advantage of the city's convenience and safety at the same time. Parents can choose to visit museums like Tokyo’s special, Train and Bus Museum, Miyazakidai.
It’ll be a joy ride (literally) for both the baby and the mommy. Apart from that, Tokyo is also famous for its several baby friendly cafes, which means that parents can have a peaceful breakfast or lunch at almost any café, without having to worry about their infant. And if that isn’t awesome, we don’t know what is!
10 San Juan, Puerto Rico
If Puerto Rico happened to be a parent's favorite destination before they became a parent, they might be happy to know just how family friendly this destination is. Most people would probably want to visit San Juan again or even make it their permanent city of residence – but is it possible with a baby on board?
Prepare for some good news, because several experts and even more firsthand experiences of mothers and new parents have stated happily that there are lots of locations in the city as well as its surrounding areas, that are baby suitable.
For example, when parents get tired from sightseeing and shopping, and is eager to escape to a peaceful place, one can visit beaches like Guanica. For hotels, many like Caribe Hilton are the perfect choice as they serve free meals for babies and kids up the age of five. Isn’t that awesome? Especially considering how expensive some baby formulas can be.
Not to mention the sheer number of baby friendly parks, tourist locations and travel destinations you have there.
9 Martha’s Vineyard, Edgartown, Massachusetts
Martha’s Vineyard is the type of place, which at first glance, would be a great surprise for first time visitors. Martha's Vineyard is a place completely out of time – Edgartown has a charm that makes visitors feel as though they've traveled back into the 60s. Needless to say, if parents are looking for a destination specifically for families, Edgartown is the place to be.
Its numerous resorts and hotels are full of fun activities for babies and children, they have thoroughly planned programs, are conveniently located and are easy on the pocket. Martha’s Vineyard has, over the years, acquired quite the reputation of being the best family joint that the city has to offer.
And why not? It has a luscious green lawn that’s either full of mommies doing yoga in the morning, or toddlers playing with each other.
In the afternoon, guests are invited to hop aboard a ride on an antique fire truck, which can be especially fun for babies. The rooms start at $265 per night, with complimentary breakfast for a one-bedroom suite.
8 Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Jamaica is usually referred to as a place for crowded parties and the kingdom of reggae music, which sounds more suitable for teenagers than for a family with a baby. But, don’t be fooled! There are destinations in Jamaica which provide families with accommodation and content suitable for their baby.
As is the case in Edgartown, in Runaway Bay too, parents can ‘shack up’ at one of the several resorts which offer several baby friendly programs to their clients. While some organize various activities for children aged five and plus, the higher end resorts offer programs completely made for babies and baby care. Paying for such Baby Clubs means that a couple can have some alone time, without having to worry about the baby.
Apart from that, families have a unique blend of relaxed days, adventurous excursions, educational activities and kid-crazy fun which will make Runaway Bay an ideal destination for new families.
7 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam has a certain reputation that qualifies it more as a resort for those who want to, ahem, experiment with stuff, rather than a city for families. Which is exactly what most readers might have thought when reading this subheading. But wait! Amsterdam has more to offer!
We know that it might sound somewhat dubious if someone recommended that parents choose Amsterdam as a baby friendly destination, but guess what? It really is. The city actually has a lot to offer to the little ones.
The city offers an exciting feature - short stays in the homes of real families. This means that you can very literally make yourselves at home and not have to worry about the usual things to worry about when staying at a hotel! And when families step out of the house, they can find an overwhelming number of places which serve baby-friendly food.
As an added bonus, the city’s culture is laidback. Add to it the people’s insistence on using bicycles to travel, parents have a place that’s relatively pollution and noise free. And which parent could ask more for their child?
6 Oahu, Hawaii
If one is up for something more exotic, than Hilton Hawaiian Village is the place to be. This heaven on earth is located on the famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. Right from the airport, parents will find that there are many services which offer car rental services.
If parents are not into renting cars, then they can opt for renting strollers, high chairs or cribs, which allows them the freedom to actually be able to absorb the culture of the place without having to worry about the baby every 2 seconds. Well-known hotels of the city are almost always baby friendly and offer various services to parents, including changing tables in the restrooms, high chairs in the restaurants and cribs in the room.
If parents are worried about running out of sunscreen or baby supplies, don’t worry! Such supplies can easily be available at every local shop. A note for breastfeeding mommies – there is no special area for mothers to sit quietly and feed their babies, so if they are shy of exposing their breasts in public, it’s best to bring a nursing cover.
5 Lincoln, Nebraska
Surprised? Hear us out. Traveling with a baby is more difficult when the baby is struggling with health issues such as asthma or seasonal allergies. In such cases, obviously the priority becomes the baby’s health and well being, with the parents wishing for nothing more but to provide their child with a comfortable environment.
So if our readers are among those parents whose children have minor health issues, then they might want to head over to Lincoln, Nebraska. A city, which by the way, also happens to be great for putting down your roots. Back in 2009, it was the only major American city whose particle pollution thresholds or ozone levels were well below the acceptable limit.
The city is literally a breath of fresh air. And, really, what can be more desirable for a baby suffering from asthma than that? Not to mention that the health standards in this city are of the highest level, which means that in case of emergencies, that baby will be provided with the best healthcare possible.
4 Highgate Springs, Vermont
Love skiing, golf, hiking, biking, swimming or sightseeing but don’t know how to do it on a budget, and that too with a baby at hand? Well, we have a solution. Have our readers heard of The Tyler Place Family Resort? Probably not. It is located in the city of Vermont and has been run by the Tyler family since it was founded in 1933.
It has several programs for the children of its clients – right from newborns to children 3 years old. The best part is that every child has their own caregiver, which means parents won’t have to worry about overwhelmed nannies being too busy taking care of other babies!
This resort, much like other hotels and resorts in Vermont, have activities that involve babies and children, parents, as well as the entire family. Visitors are free to take their own pick. The cheapest time of the year to visit this place is between May and September.
3 London, England
London hotels can be outrageously expensive, and there’s absolutely no denying that. So what do new families do when they’re on a budget? Well, tourists have increasingly begun opting for the more economical option, which is – renting studio flats or apartments. It’s the perfect option for families wanting to have a slightly longer vacation in London.
And since these flats have their own kitchens, cooking food for a baby becomes a lot less tedious. The best places for a family with a baby to get around are Notting Hill, Kensington, Marylebone and Primrose Hill. Almost all of these places have lots of green parks where babies can often be seen enjoying a calm lazy afternoon with their parents.
Of course, there’s no scarcity of places to visit when it comes to London, and you’ll be surrounded by Harry Potter and Doctor Who wherever you go. If you want to tour around with your baby, The Big Bus tour will give families a beautiful view of the city, with their baby comfortably by their side.
Several cafes in London are part of the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme, which encourages mothers to breastfeed in those places without having to worry about rude glances or heckling. It’s no wonder then that the Time Magazine declared London as one of the most baby-friendly cities in the world!
2 Vienna, Austria
The Austrians have taken child safety to the highest level possible. Add to it the fact that the city of Vienna has a lot to offer families looking for baby-friendly activities, and tourists get the perfect family friend vacation spot. Hotels are extremely baby friendly, and they offer parents the option of leaving their baby or toddler in the reliable hands of one of the care providers of the different infants’ programs, while the parents can relax.
And relaxing means different things to different people – fine dining, reading a book, or simply going for a walk on the streets to absorb the local culture.
Also, the Viennese public transport system is excellent – every bus has its own stroller. Several parks across the city, like Schloß Schönbrunn Park, and Burggarten, Volksgarten Park have lawns and/or playgrounds where toddlers can always be seen with their parents. Shopping malls are baby friendly too – diaper changes can be done in almost all the major malls across the city.
What else can a new parent want?
1 Port Canaveral, Florida
Last, but by no means the least is Port Canaveral. This Florida city is an excellent choice fro families going on vacation with a baby. Firstly, this is the boarding location of Disney’s third ship, The Dream, and how can anything connected to Disney be unentertaining for kids of any age?
Parents can go on family friendly cruises, as well as be game to try out competitors like Royal Caribbean, which by the way have their own built in nursery area. Wow! But keep in mind that only babies older than 6 months are allowed on cruises. Secondly, the hotels in this city are very baby friendly.
They offer tourists the option of ordering diapers and wipes before their arrival, which by the way, will be delivered directly to the hotel’s reception. Third, the baby rental shops! They are a dime a dozen there and are a major relief for parents who often realize (at the last moment) that they forgot to pack some item of the baby’s.
Health care is first class in Port Canaveral (and much cheaper, might we add). Children friendly attractions like Nemo’s Reef and Disney Island simply make the entire trip more enjoyable.