Traveling with kids can seem pretty daunting, especially traveling with babies one-year-old or younger.
There are so many variables and factors that are ultimately outside your control, it can often feel easier to put off traveling until your baby is older. But don’t!!
Traveling with your kids can be so rewarding in many different ways! Family adventures, when planned mindfully, can be some of the sweetest memories you’ll ever make.
The key to successful traveling experiences with babies is being prepared in advance. Do your best to anticipate obstacles or changes to schedule, but then just go with the flow!
Even the most scheduled babies will survive if they stay up late one night or get to lick a popsicle for the first time.
Remember, vacation is supposed to be fun! But I get that stress can certainly creep in, so I have put together some tips for traveling with baby to hopefully help things go as smoothly as possible.
Things to Consider When Packing for Baby
1. What will the weather be like where you’re traveling?
Will you be visiting somewhere with a warmer or colder climate? Either way, be sure to pack options for layering so you can ensure baby stays comfortable no matter the weather.
2. What will you be doing?
Be sure to bear in mind the kinds of activities you’ll be participating in wherever you’re traveling. Will you need swimsuits, swim diapers and a sun hat or snow pants, extra onesies and socks, and a wool hat? Think through your planned activities as best you can so you can make sure your bases are covered.
3. Bring two outfits for every day you’ll be traveling (plus a few backups!)
Some babies are messier than others, so this is just a rule of thumb. But generally speaking, it’s a good idea to have multiple changes of clothes for baby in case of messy accidents. Pro tip: keep the outfits as simple as possible so baby’s clothes don’t take up too much space.
4. Bring smells from home
Whether it’s your baby’s crib sheets, favorite blanket or a stuffed animal, bring something to put in their crib that will help them settle in and sleep well when you arrive at your destination.
5. Leave the big stuff at home
The baby years often come with lots of gear in tow, and to make traveling as easy as possible for you, it’s a good idea to look into renting whatever you can at your final destination.
Things like portable cribs, strollers, high chairs and toys can be rented through The Sharing Exchange™!
6. Bring Ziplock bags
I find packing baby’s outfits into ziplock bags is nice for organizational purpose, but they also serve a dual purpose – effectively containing yucky, soiled baby clothes until they can be washed!
Things to Consider When Traveling with Baby by Air
1. Feed or use a pacifier during takeoff and landing
To avoid baby experiencing the discomfort of popping ears due to the pressure change during takeoff and landing, use a pacifier or breastfeed. Trust me, this tip is a LIFESAVER.
2. Check your car seat and stroller at the gate
If you do decide to bring your own gear, I recommend checking them at the gate so you don’t run the risk of your items getting lost by checking them at the ticket counter. It is always FREE to check your car seat. Pro tip: Invest in a good travel bag so the car seat is protected (airlines tend to throw them around and you don’t want to inflict damage on the seat).
Plus, if the plane isn’t full, you may be able to bring the car seat on the plane to use for baby during the flight!
3. Don’t bring toys
Baby will drop them over, and over again on the germy airplane floor, and you’ll have to repeatedly bend over to retrieve them every. single. time. Just don’t do it. There are other ways to keep baby entertained!
If you must bring a toy or two, purchase a some yarn and tie the toy to something to keep it from falling on the floor. (Note: yarn or rope can be a choking hazard, so be sure to supervise baby at all times!)
4. Wear your baby using a baby carrier
Even if you bring a stroller, wear the baby and keep your car seat, base and bags in the stroller until you reach the gate.
This is especially helpful if baby falls asleep before you go through security because they usually won’t make you take baby out of the carrier, but they will make you take baby out of the stroller.
5. Use a backpack as your diaper bag
There is nothing worse than lugging around a heavy diaper bag from shoulder to shoulder throughout the airport.
Use a backpack to evenly distribute the weight for more comfortable traveling through the airport.
Things to Consider When Traveling with Baby by Car
1. Invest in good sun shades for the windows
Trust me, you’ll thank me for this one! Sun shades are a really inexpensive way to minimize road trip crying from your little one because the sun is blinding their poor little eyeballs.
2. Plan to stop every couple of hours
This is good for both of you to stretch your legs, eat and to make sure you have frequent diaper changes to avoid blowouts.
The snuggles help soothe everyone in the midst of a long road trip.
3. Roll the windows down
Save this trick for when baby starts to get fussy….9 times out of 10 rolling the windows down will distract baby from whatever it was that was upsetting them.
A Few More General Tips for Traveling with Baby
1. Stick to your rhythms and routines
This is the one that a lot of people stress out about – having your carefully honed routines getting thrown out the window due to traveling.
But, with a little planning and effort it’s possible to stick pretty closely to your normal routines. Do whatever you can to help baby sleep during his or her normal sleeping times, and just make slight adjustments according to time zone changes.
2. Set up baby’s room immediately upon arrival
Having a designated space that you and baby feel comfortable in will ease the anxiety that sometimes comes with traveling with a baby.
And, knowing you have somewhere to put baby down for naps is a huge lifesaver.
3. Don’t forget to ENJOY your trip!
Expect that things won’t go perfectly, do your best to prepare for everything, and let the rest go so you can enjoy making special memories with your little one.