How do you successfully travel with a baby?
It’s that time of year when families are looking forward to a much needed spring vacation. If you’re a new parent and plan on traveling with your little one for the first time, it can be a little nerve wracking and overwhelming to think about to say the least.
A vacation is supposed to be fun and stress-free (well, as much as possible). The more you plan ahead, the better chance you’ll have at enjoying the time away with your family. If you plan on taking a trip soon, you’ll definitely find these baby travel tips useful for planning your next family getaway:
- When booking a hotel, book rooms with separate sleeping areas. Look for one or two bedroom suites instead of the usual hotel room with one or two beds. If you’re all sleeping in one area, your bedtime will have to be when the baby sleeps, so no late night movies or conversations. If traveling with a stroller, make sure the hotel has an elevator or ramp. Airbnb options can be great also as many provide you with your very own space with fully stocked kitchens and laundry. Often times they are less expensive too.
- Be prepared for a new climate! Make sure you bring the appropriate clothing for the new climate. This may require you to plan ahead and purchase clothing in a bigger size at the end of a season. It can be difficult and expensive to purchase clothing out of season for your next big trip.
- Pack more than enough baby food and formula. Once your child finds a formula he or she likes, you typically stick with that formula. It may be hard to find a particular formula if you happen to run out while on vacation, so make sure to pack plenty to last you the length of the vacation. Bring more than you think you’ll need! Also, if traveling abroad, check and see what items may or may not be allowed by border security.
- Stick with your baby’s nap routine. Try to plan your activities around your child’s nap time, and feel free to participate in nap time yourself! When flying or driving, keep nap times in mind. Your baby will be much more likely to sleep during travel if it’s scheduled during their normal nap time.
- Pack a portable bed or bassinet. You’ll feel more comfortable knowing your baby is sleeping in a bed that you are familiar with instead of a hotel or rental crib.
- Pack your tablet – it’s a lifesaver! Make sure it’s full of shows, movies, games and white noise. There are many fun baby apps you can download to keep your little one entertained. White noise is great for helping your baby sleep as there will be many sounds that he or she isn’t used to, especially during daytime naps.
- To bring or not to bring a car seat? Parents often struggle with this decision. Car seats are big, awkward and heavy, but in most places children are required to be in a car seat during transportation. You can rent car seats from most car rental companies, or check out the Clek Weelee for travel. It has wheels and a handle, so it’s easy to move around and folds up when not being used. There’s also some extra space for packing other items like diapers and clothing. Car seats are not typically charged a baggage fee, so this is a great option and allows you to free up some space in your luggage for these other items.
- Bring the Tylenol and Advil. Always make sure to have the baby Tylenol and/or Advil with you at all times. You never know when your child might have a new tooth! Bring extra bottles: one for your day bag and one to keep at the hotel.
- Don’t put off feeding your baby. You’ve probably heard that you should wait to feed your baby until right before the plane takes off so they will hopefully fall asleep soon after feeding. However, when a baby feels hungry, they often get cranky. The crankiness only worsens as the plane takes off and the baby feels even hungrier. You don’t want a cranky baby on an airplane!
- Keep calm and ask for help! Most passengers on your plane are parents and/or grandparents. They know what it’s like to travel with a baby. If someone is willing to lend a hand, take advantage! Try to keep calm because your baby can sense when you’re upset and this can set the precedence for future traveling.
- Slow down! There’s no doubt about it, traveling with a baby is different than how you used to travel baby free. Your days don’t need to be filled with constant activity. Plan big adventures in the morning instead of trying to squeeze a bunch of activities into one day. Keep it fun without rushing around!
- If you want to travel with your baby, do it! So many new parents decide they won’t travel until their baby is older. But by that time, their toddler is on the move and requires constant attention and less sleep than a baby. Babies under two years of age also don’t require a seat when purchasing airfare. Unless there is a health concern, don’t hesitate to travel with your little one!
Go out and experience the world together as a family. The extra effort is worth it once you see the positive impact travel will have on your entire family!