Road tripping through South America with a newborn

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Travelers: Simone, Arvind, and our kid
Type: Road tripping in South America
Budget: Spendy ($5000-$10,000)

Where did you go? Having a four-month maternity leave sounded great, but staying at home all that time was wearing me down. I am a serious travel bug/wanderlust case and by the time our child turned one month old, I was starting to get restless. So when my husband decided to quit his job a month later I told him: “If you are quitting, we are traveling!”

Five days after his last work day we were on a plane to Chile, planning on road tripping for the next 40 days through that country and Argentina. Why there? Basically the countries have reasonable infrastructure and the landscape is amazing, so why not?

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What did you do?
We flew to Santiago and spent five days with friends. Then we flew to Temuco and started the actual road trip.

We saw volcanoes, hiked long and short trails, soaked in hot springs, walked on beaches, drove and drove. Our kid did great, after all he is a happy baby as long as his mom (aka milk supply) is close by. And we co-sleep, so he did not have trouble with being in different places almost every night.

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After 18 days around that region we flew further South to Punta Arenas, to visit Torres del Paine National Park to see glaciers and icebergs and an amazing landscape almost as far South as possible.

Oh, and all we took with us were two backpacks, two small bags, and a stroller/car seat.

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What’s your best travel advice? Traveling with a newborn was definitely a new experience. The world seems to slow down and priorities change. My husband and I had traveled extensively before (which obviously helped) but this experience was unique. Of course babies have good days and bad days, but the beauty of being on the road was that on a bad day we would all be together, maybe watching the sun set over the next snow-capped peak, and somehow in the memories the “bad” part of the day has been erased.

Also, I came to realize that usually days are not bad, usually there are some difficult hours in a day but by shifting the attention to something else perspective shifts as well, and the days were amazing.

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On practical recommendations, Chile and Argentina were great destination options. We usually chose to book stays on AirBnB, or stay in cabins rather than hotels since we had more space, could cook, and did not have other guests close by.

Finally, with a baby that feeds at least every hour and a half, all that time nursing was spent watching different scenery each day.

Comments on Road tripping through South America with a newborn

  1. This is so awesome! I haven’t had kids yet, but I hope to one day. There’s part of me that whenever I want to do something time consuming/difficult to do when I have to show up at work each day keeps thinking ‘ooo that could happen when I’m on maternity leave.’ (E.g. My husband should work abroad! I should write a book! I should spend more time with my parents! I should reinstate afternoon naps!).
    I’ve always kind of assumed that none of these things will happen (well, apart from the naps), because there will be a (lovely) small crying smelly thing demanding all my attention and keeping me on the edge of exhaustion, so it’s nice to hear that you did manage to do a cool thing with your time!

    • Hello there!
      Actually I agree that some of the things you list may be more difficult with a baby around (specifically, writing a book as anything demanding more than a 15 minute attention span was quite hard to achieve), but otherwise I highly recommend changing routines and getting different perspectives!

      • Maybe I should switch my aim from writing a book to finally finishing that patchwork quilt I started about five years ago. That I can pick up and put down in fifteen minute intervals!

  2. Yes and yes! We have 4 children and were travelling when the first was a month old. it’s much more difficult now with 4 and quiet expensive but we are working on figuring out how to travel more with the four(yes, I think I’m clever for rhyming and perhaps it’s the baby keeping me up at night)!
    Kids and babies adapt and not require much. It’s easier to start young and get them accustomed to the idea of change.

    • We are all about starting young and getting him accustomed! He is 10 months old now and has completed 25 flights… talk about parent restlessness!

  3. This is so awesome! My partner and I are huge travel bugs too and I definitely want to do some traveling even after having a newborn. Nursing to different scenery every day sounds like a dream!

  4. 25 flights in 10 months…! How do you manage balancing your child’s moods and other passengers? As long distance travelers ourselves, my hubbie and I have two different outlooks on kids and planes (specifically kids who are crying or in total melt down) I just accept it, he feels that people shouldn’t fly with kids until they can “behave”. Not s problem now, but I hope to have kids in the future and don’t want to put out travel habit on hold. I would love to hear how you have managed so far and what tips or advice you may have!

    • Hi there,
      There are some suggestions on how to make flying smoother, one of them is to fly at nap times, which is relatively easy when they are young (and sleep a lot) but gets harder as they grow. Nursing on takeoff and landing (to ease ear pressure) is also a good one. Overall babies tend to follow their parent’s moods, which is key to smooth travel.

      Flying with a baby does have its challenges. But in case of a meltdown the best you can do is relax and accept. In few cases we had we did get the stink eye, but there were always more people that gave us a supportive “been there, don’t worry” look.

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