Living in Australia means that we have easy access to the beautiful islands of the pacific. Traveling with a baby presents it’s own unique set of challenges, and traveling to a Pacific Island is no different.
Accommodation with a baby
By far, my favourite style of accommodation in the Pacific Islands is the beach fale. This is where you stay in a small hut by the sea. This style of accommodation is super basic and usually just consists of a mattress on the floor and a mosquito net. If your little one does not share a bed with you, then you may need to consider bringing your own portacot. For small babies I recommend the Phil & Ted’s nest. This small portacot is super light weight, folds down compact, and is easy to take from one place to another. It sets up in about 30 seconds, and has a mosquito net attachment which zips over top of it as well.
Of course, if you don’t want to stay in this traditional style of accommodation then you should have no issue getting a more conventional sort of room, although the availability of cots may still be low and it is still worth considering bringing your own.
Pacific food and travel with a baby
If your little one is eating solids then you should have no problem in the Pacific Islands. Soft fruits feature largely in the Pacific diet, and is easy to feed to a baby. And the most common vegetables; taro and breadfruit, and usually served quite soft and sometimes with a sweet coconut cream on top. All of these things will be quite easy for a little one who is just starting to eat solids.
If your baby prefers other foods then you might want to consider bringing some from home. Jarred baby foods are all imported into the Pacific islands, meaning they can be rather expensive, and also there is limited choice. We love the baby food that comes in the squeezable packets as we can just hand it off to our son and he can feed himself, even when we are on the go. We always pack at least one of these per day that we will be away. That way, even if he is being picky, we know he will be getting some good nutritious food that he is accustomed to.
When it comes to baby formula, this too will all be imported, and the extent of the varieties available will depend on how major of a center you are in. Our boy needed soy formula, which is near impossible to find in some places, so we always make sure to take enough for our entire journey.
How to keep baby safe and healthy on a Pacific Island
If you are away from the major towns, then you will be hard pressed finding a hospital or a pharmacy. With that in mind, make sure your med kit is well stocked.
The major hazards to be aware of in the Pacific Islands are 1) the ocean, 2) the sun and heat and 3) bugs.
The only Pacific Island with a notable malaria risk is Vanuatu, so most Pacific Islands are in the clear. However you will still want to take precautions to keep biting insects away from your child. The trouble here is that most insect repellants can not be used on children under the age of 1. There are a few safe ways to keep your child bug free. The first is finding a soy oil based natural repellant. For some reason, soy based repellants keep away mosquitos while containing no chemicals. I had a really hard time finding this in Australia though – I only found one once at an organic life style market.
The other options that are more readily available from standard pharmacies, are bug repelling bracelets, and the citronella stick on tabs. I like the stick on tabs as you can stick them around the cot, or to the back of babies shirt, and it keeps them fairly protected
It’s harder to protect baby from the sun and heat. The best way to do this is make sure they are wearing sunscreen which is age appropriate, a good sun hat, and try to keep them out of direct sun during the heat of the day. I always take re-hydration salts with me. These are safe to give to babies of any age, and it’s always good to give baby some after a particularly hot day or after lots of exercise to make sure they are not getting dehydrated.
Probably the biggest risk to young kids on Pacific Islands is the ocean itself. Always keep a close eye on your mobile baby when they are on or near the beach.
Our baby med kit packing list for a Pacific Island
We take these items with us when we go most places, but we always ensure we have some on hand when on a Pacific Island as we never know if they will be easy to find at a pharmacy or not.
- Re-hydration salts
- Baby sunscreen
- Baby insect repellant spray and stick on tabs
- Antiseptic cream
- Saline wipes
- Milton tablets for sterilizing bottles when no boiling water is available
- A small tube of nappy rash cream
- Pawpaw cream
- Baby panadol (especially if baby is teething!)
Our travel to a Pacific Island with baby packing checklist
This is what we take with us for our older baby who eats solid foods and who only has a bottle at nighttime. You will have to adjust this list depending on the age and needs of your child.
- A stroller
- Portacot if baby isn’t sharing our bed.
- Hiking carrier if we plan to get off the beaten track
- 3 pair of full body onesies for sleeping
- 3 pairs of shorts
- 2 pairs of leggings
- 3 t-shirts
- 2 long sleeve shirts
- one warmer shirt
- Swim clothes
- A sippy cup
- Baby spoons
- A bottle for bedtime
- sun hat
- Enough formula for the entire trip
- One baby food per day in case he is picky with local food
- Diapers and wipes (we usually pack enough for our whole trip so we don’t have to go on a search for more)
- Swim nappies
- A couple toys
- Our baby med kit (see list above)