Our Blog: Word on the Sidewalk
Traveling with babies—like life with babies in general—is an exercise in extremes. Trips with my boys created some of my most stressful moments as a mom. Those same trips also generated some of our most rewarding and meaningful memories as a family. My first recommendation is to do your research. A lot of it. I generally take a somewhat laid back, see-how-things-go approach to parenting, but with travel I plan and research the heck out of the trip (and things still always go awry). So my second recommendation is to laugh as much as possible along the way. Your trip will not be perfect, but there WILL be moments you can enjoy and later cherish as your families’ favorite memories.
Here are my top tips for traveling with babies:
1. For the pre-toddler crowd, “busy bags” with inexpensive activities, a couple of new books, and a few tried and true favorites can be life-saving. Having some things that are new and exciting to play with will keep their interest longer!
2. Classic tip: feed during take-off and landing to help with little ears popping.
3. A small blanket is a versatile addition: you can use it as a playmat, to help with chilly flights, to cover unclean surfaces, and, very worst case scenario, to wrap up a baby who has gone through all back-up clothing.
4. Plan your carry-on bags carefully. You will want to pack enough things for an overnight in case of flight delays, but not so much that you are weighed down by the bag. Many airlines don’t charge for a diaper bag, so you get a bonus personal item—be sure to check your airline’s specific policies.
5. Don’t forget to add your own essentials! Standard parent snacks (anything you can eat with one hand) can be a huge help if your baby sleeps on you during the flight.
6. Stay adaptable with sleep schedules. Plan your travel around naptime as much as possible but, since your baby might not sleep as well in a car seat, get ready to be flexible!
7. Pack the car the night before. The less you have to do right before, the better.
8. Know your route. Pay attention to rest stops and exits. You never know when you will have to pull over. Don’t forget my earlier suggestion to laugh when you are covered in puke or changing a blow-out in your trunk ;)
In a New Place
9. Carefully consider your baby’s age and stage ahead of time. When we traveled last summer, my boys were learning to walk, so outlet covers and a push wagon were the two most important items in our rental beach house!
10. Pack the essentials but don’t stress if you forget something. Most travel destinations will have somewhere you can buy forgotten items. I’ve also gotten online deliveries shipped to vacation homes—it can be just as easy as ordering to home!
11. For babies who are used to a stroller, a Stroll ‘N Trike is an exciting vehicle upgrade! These push trikes will make exploring a new place an interesting adventure for everyone. If you are staying with family, consider gifting the product ahead of time. Grandparents will love the shiny new toy and will have it ready to roll when you arrive!
12. If you’re bringing a portable bed, try a test run before you leave! Have your little one test out their new bed at home so it feels familiar and cozy.
13. Embrace the newness that comes with traveling with a baby and don’t sweat the small stuff. Sometimes it helps to have a stay calm mantra; you’ve got this!