It can feel daunting to hike or discover the outdoors in a foreign country, particularly with a baby in tow, but we’ve found it one of the most rewarding ways to experience a new culture and region. Here are a few of our favorite tips to make the experience stress free:
Don’t sweat the bulky gear
In some cases, you may be traveling to a new country explicitly for the outdoors, and bringing hiking or backpacking gear makes sense. But in many other cases, you may be tacking a few days to adventure onto an otherwise urban trip, where you may not have brought your pack, canteens, and more. That’s ok! We’ve found a few utility items like our Ergobaby 360 carrier (my toddler is now large enough to ride on my back), an insulated water bottle, and a diaper backpack can go a long way for a day hike.
There are also many options to rent gear in many cities (just Google “baby gear rental”) if that makes you feel more comfortable and prepared.
Look into local apps
In the US, we’re heavy users of AllTrails. We find the app reliable and informative for hikes all over the country. But abroad, coverage can be spotty, and we’ve had a lot of luck searching for apps developed locally. For example, Komoot provides a very similar service to AllTrails, but has far more information on Spain and Western Europe.
Explore what’s accessible via public transit
This advice certainly varies significantly by location, but in many parts of the world, you can reach nature comfortably without a car. Skipping the rental car saves money and removes headache, and public transit often drops you in the perfect location. We typically search for “day trips from ___” or simply look at a rail map to see if the lines reach national parks or other nature reserves.
Download maps or otherwise ensure reliable navigation
We’ve historically tried to cut costs by relying heavily on wifi while traveling. But whenever we head into nature, we’re willing to take on day fees for reliable service and support. Additionally, we download maps to our phones, and notify family or friends (even if they’re far away) of our plans.
What are your top tips for traveling internationally with young kids? We’d love the hear them!