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I hoped we could still find ways to get away, and include our daughter.  The first few months I felt proud if I made it out of the house, never mind out of the country.  But as my daughter became more settled, my confidence grew – and I knew travel would be possible once more.  


I wasn’t fooling myself.  I knew the time of hopping off a ferry in Europe and seeing where the wind would take me was long gone.  But the shoestring, backpacker existence no longer appealed anyway.  But how on earth do you travel with a baby?  Is it really a holiday if you’re still up at the crack of dawn?


We heard that Cuba was safe and clean and that Cubans love children – that it was only a 3hr flight sealed the deal.  We’ve never been big all-inclusive people, but they are the prevalent travel option in Cuba, and I wasn’t feeling adventurous or organized enough to find a casa particular – a private room in someone’s home.  We decided to go for it – off to Varadero!


Our pile of luggage could rival any celebrity’s - though unlike J.Lo, we lugged it ourselves + a car seat!   After boarding the plane, we noticed the panicked looks as our future seatmates approached but luckily our daughter traveled well.  She was happy to sit like a little sardine on my lap and investigate the many dollar store finds I had brought on board for her.


The large-ish resort was about a 10-minute walk from town, and we paid extra for a room upgrade.  Pre-baby, a room’s niceness was unimportant, as we were never in it.  That’s no longer the case!  We appreciated the extra room, nice view, and stocked mini-fridge as we were held hostage from 7:30 onwards every evening.  But it was so lovely to relax on our balcony and chat over a few drinks as the baby slept. 


So my travel-snobbery has gone by the wayside, as an all-inclusive was an easy option for our first foray into family travel.  The buffet was handy, bottled water was plentiful, and I didn’t have to worry about finding a decent grocery store.  All the staff was fantastic.  They made such a huge fuss over the baby and she loved it.  In the restaurant, they seemed amused instead of chagrined at our daughter’s less-than-stellar table manners.   


My husband and I have always loved the beach, but having the baby means we now love it a little differently.  Slathered in sunblock, hated hat tightly secured, we delighted in watching our daughter scoot about like a little sand crab.  It was so wonderful to witness our baby share our love for the sand and sea.


The 2hr drive to Havana featured mostly the ruggedly beautiful Cuban countryside.  It was refreshing and somewhat inspiring to drive past billboards that proclaim “Tu ejemplo VIVE” (Your example LIVES).  Strolling through the streets of Havana again displayed the Cubans’ incredible love of children.  Even the fellow jack-hammering the sidewalk stopped to fuss with our daughter.  As enchanted as I was with Havana’s history and architecture, I was even more so with the people we met.


Many thought we were nuts for taking the baby on vacation.  Granted, it was very different from our previous travels, but totally worth it.  We hadn’t spent that much time together since our daughter first came home from the hospital, and it was so special to have this experience as I neared the end of my maternity leave.  I really fell in love with Cuba and the Cuban people.


About the author:

Corinne McDermott is the founder of Have Baby Will Travel - tips on trips for moms by moms (& dads too!)  Featuring destinations from around the world, Have Baby Will Travel is the internet's only database of hotel reviews and trip reports for parents by parents.