Travelling with children is definitely a daunting challenge. Having been a flight attendant for 13…
Fiji With a Baby – Part 1
BULA! Something you would hear 1000 times a day from the friendly locals if you decide to holiday in Fiji. But just how easy is it to travel there if you have a small baby? In the first of a series, Gemma El Kazzi, Travel Manager from iTravel tells us how to plan for the perfect trip to Fiji…baby and all.
Fiji could easily be described as the kindest, most welcoming people on the earth. Of the many times I have been to Fiji, I have never had a bad visit. Though I must say the organising has taken a step up since doing it with kids as I’m sure all mums know…there are so many things you need to account for and fall-back plans for everything!
I’ve been a travel agent for years but am now proud to say I can successfully plan complicated family trips knowing all bases are covered. Because I’ve been in the industry for 11 years? No way, that hardly qualifies me…because I’ve now done it with a newborn, a crawler and a rambunctious toddler who have ensured that I now have the right to call myself a family holiday planner!
I’ve bounced for hours in the aisles of a packed plane with a screaming baby (all the while being scowled at by others trying to sleep…cringe!), run out of nappies on an international trip (hello giant poo explosion with no parents rooms to gather myself), had a child fall sick overseas and felt the pinch of having no cot or bassinet on a long haul flight.
Well this is more than a destination guide, this is a travel to Fiji with a screaming toddler guide! With both my years in the travel industry and now my much more important mum qualification I hope I can make your trip to Fiji the best and most relaxing family holiday yet.
This can be the friend who has been before and made the mistakes and can HONESTLY tell you what that something is like. Can describe where to find the only loo at the airport with a change room and give you an idea on what to take so that you don’t have to mortgage your home over buying sun cream and Alcohol…its so expensive there!
Let’s Start with the Airport
Departures – All international flights suggest that you arrive 2 hrs prior to departure. If you have kids please be earlier than this because if you are travelling with your own car seat or a stroller it will need to be checked into oversized luggage and this will close PRIOR to check in.
Line up and get your bags checked / boarding passes and the check in staff will put a sticker on your pram so that it is easily identified. Take this to oversized luggage and continue.
Baby Carrier – I always recommend a baby carrier as this will free up your hands from now on and will also assist on the flight for you both to relax if you aren’t allocated a basinet. Remember a basinet is only a request even after it is confirmed. The airline small print has the same policy on allocated seating, they reserve the right to re allocate on check in. Also some airlines don’t confirm the baby basinet until check in so it’s a first in first served situation. If you’re late you will be nursing your babe for the flight.
A baby carrier or sling will also make the boat ride to the islands much more pleasant.
Request a baby meal– not all airlines offer this service but ask your travel agent to request it or to advise.
Baby food and milk– the security screening officers at the airport have the final say on quantities . For advice please see here: http://travelsecure.infrastructure.gov.au/specific-needs/children.aspx
Please note that you can have special meal requirements pre made and kept cold (including Breast Milk) in Dry ice containers. Your travel agent should be able to arrange this on request and have the airport/Airline notified of this addition.
They state that you can take as much liquid and baby food onto a flight within reason. This means, enough for the flight and unopened stores for your trip. Note that not all airlines will cool or heat the bottles or food so take small zip lock bags so that you can immerse the food into boiling water if they refuse. There are NO restrictions on expressed breast milk, formula or cow’s milk.
My suggestion is all food for the holiday in the checked luggage in brand new packaging and food for the flight in reasonable quantities. Enough that you won’t run out but not enough to feed the 5000.
Make sure it’s all in sealed containers and any medicine is clearly labelled or has a doctor’s note with it if its prescription.
Medicine and Baby Supplies
I suggest you take some paracetamol and whatever you normally use when bub is sick. It’s super expensive over there to purchase this and the only stores are in Nadi town. Nadi town shops stock Huggies nappies and a small range of Heinz baby food so please take nappies and baby food if you are staying on the coral coast or islands as supplies out in more remote areas are super costly.
They do have little convenience stores at almost all resorts though if you run out. If my clients require a quick shop I ask them to alert me before departure so I can arrange to have the driver take them to the best/safest places to stock up. So mention this to your travel agent.
Please make sure there is $0 excess on your insurance. Doctor Visits in Fiji are costly but usually just under most peoples excess amount meaning that you may not be able to claim back the cost if you are unfortunate enough to have to see one over there. (all 4-5 star resorts have medical assistance if you need it)
Take Swim Nappies
To this day I’ve never found them anywhere over there so take them with you.
Sunscreen and Bug Spray
Please take these with you. They are more expensive than you could imagine at the hotel. Roll on or creme deodorant will help to not attract bugs as well.
Alcohol & Chocolate
This is hardly a baby tip but will help to keep the mums sane….Buy alcohol at duty free as this is another money sapper as the good stuff is more expensive than gold. Same with chocolate lol.
On arrival to Fiji the airport is called Nadi International Airport. There is only 1 baby change room in Nadi airport and it is on the ground floor of Departures.
If you are travelling by transfer (private or Seat in coach) There is an information desk outside of arrival where you can ask for assistance if you can’t locate your driver. I suggest going straight there as missing this transfer can have horrible consequences if you are catching a water taxi to the island.
I can help provide car seats for my clients on request so speak to your agent about this. It is always dependant on the company but the cost ranges from $14-$17 per seat payable on arrival to the driver. CHECK TO MAKE SURE THE SEAT IS FITTED CORRECTLY– never assume this has been done. And please don’t expect the latest Maxi Cosi!!! This is a developing country….expect something your mum has packed away for an ‘emergency’ by way of car seat model.
There is an amazing local man who runs a reliable transfer company named Rusi who owns RTR transfers and is the most accommodating man. He can arrange to meet you with your name on a card and ensure all travel details are taken care of and that you arrive safely for your holiday in air-conditioned comfort.
Prams– most 4-5 star resorts have nice pathways around the resorts but the strollers are mostly used to hold the little ones who may be too small or too sleepy to sit in a high chair at mealtimes. You will also use them at the beach for naps so I strongly suggest taking a small fold up pram. My office have one available for hire that costs $40 for your entire trip and lies completely flat for nap times.
Babysitting-Most resorts offer babysitting if your bub is too young for kids club but is also useful if your little one is just shy of kids club age as you can have them attend with your child so that you can have some time out. Make sure you book them in advance as everyone is there to relax and the nannies get booked out quite quickly.
Always remember to ASK if there are any specials that include this service. For instance Castaway Island often run a special that includes 5 hrs. of babysitting complimentary just to name some of their additional offers.
Fijians are kind, welcoming and FANTASTIC with the little ones, with the Fiji nannies often seen hanging around just waiting to help.
Check here for the 2nd part of my tips on travelling to Fiji with a baby.
Gemma El Kazzi is a friendly, dedicated Travel Manager who works tirelessly around the needs of her clients, the majority of who are Mum’s. After being immersed in the Tourism Industry for over 12 Years, working within a range of large blue-chip travel brands – Gemma had a hankering to create a travel experience like no other and has since launched her own Independent travel service under the iTravel umbrella.
Gemma prides herself on spending genuine time and care on every booking – from the beginning, to the very end. Phone calls from stranded travellers at all hours of the day are standard, as is the knowledge that when you book with Gemma you have hired your very own personal, committed travel manager that will provide you with no-less than an exceptional travel experience.
Gemma manages a wide range of travel bookings, both personal and corporate. She can create a trip to appease a busy family needing time-out, a couple seeking adventure – to a corporate team looking to outsource an event or conference itinerary. Every trip Gemma manages is unique and she prides herself on her innate ability to create itineraries that will surprise and delight, promptly and to budget.
Contact Gemma: 0414 818 795 – firstname.lastname@example.org