Traveling with a Baby: How to Make Sure You Enjoy Your Vacation Too
BY Candice Mathis | LIFESTYLEBLOGGER
Traveling with a baby can seem like a daunting task, especially as new parents. I’m no expert in this field, but I’ve had several successful trips in the one year that I’ve had my little girl, as well as a couple of failed ones too! I wanted to share what works for us here as well as hopefully instill some confidence for you to travel with your kids as much as possible.
I’ll start by saying… we have never once regretted any of our travels with our baby, Nixon. In fact, I wish I would have done even more while she was tiny! Traveling with your child promotes self-confidence in both of you. Children learn to take on new responsibilities. They learn to go with the flow and that unpredictable things pop up, they will adapt to unforeseen situations. They learn to have patience when a flight is delayed, or when you can’t exactly eat on time. Children experience different cultures and personalities and learn to see similarities in people, instead of differences. I believe that traveling also brings families together because you learn to depend on each other while out of your comfort zone.
I don’t like to refer to my travels as a “vacation” when I’m traveling with Nixon. Because it is anything/everything BUT that. Traveling with her is a learning experience for us both. And on every new trip, I learn something new because she is changing every day. TRAVELING WITH YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN IS WORK. But it is more than worth it.
My first tip to new parents or soon-to-be parents is to travel with your baby early on! It only gets MORE challenging as they become more mobile. Babies are portable and somewhat predictable. They sleep a lot. And it’s up to you whether they’re happy sleeping in the stroller, or if they must be comfy in their beds every single time they sleep. This is the time YOU get comfortable traveling with them. And whether you believe it or not, they’re learning to adapt to situations around them. Babies are smarter than we give them credit for sometimes. And as much as I like for Nixon to be as comfy as a clam, she’s human, and it’s ok for her to be out of her comfort zone somewhat. Actually, I would say it’s not only OK, but it’s necessary.
For us, we travel a lot. We live busy lives and nothing really stopped that. We didn’t have/nor do we have now, a strict sleep schedule. We knew that wouldn’t work for us. If Nixon is sleepy, she sleeps. She’s happy sleeping in her car seat or the stroller, and if those aren’t available, mom or dad or the sand at the beach works too! This isn’t always something a parent can control but I believe there are ways to plant the seed to a child that will sleep anywhere. However, babies do have a mind of their own and sometimes this just isn’t a reality for parents. It’s a game changer though if you can accomplish it!
Most of my experience has been traveling with a BABY. But we’re quickly transitioning to TODDLER at this very moment. And yes, I can confidently say that everything is more difficult. But don’t give up! The more you do it, the more they will adapt (and the more you will learn to tune out anyone who is bothered by their transitioning stage).
Most people are worried about flying with a baby or toddler so I decided to focus on that for this post. I’m listing a few ways below to have a good flight!
1. Pack a backpack – this allows you to pack SO many things and also have your hands free.
2. Pack snacks or have your bottle/boob ready for takeoff! Not only does this give the baby something to do, it actually helps relieve their ears from the air pressure. Try not to feed them before takeoff, you will want to reserve that.
3. If you’re a formula mom/dad, wait and buy your water once you’re through security. Some airlines even give bottled or canned water on flights and it’s usually always purified or distilled, which is perfect for formula. This makes security a breeze.
4. We have TSA precheck so security is a little simpler, however – a few things to remember… remove your wipes and any liquids from your bag before sending through or you wil have to wait to have security check those things before moving forward.
5. Check everything or don’t – we’ve traveled several different ways now. However, we prefer using the stroller through the airport and breaking down at the gate. It’s just nice having a place to sit Nixon, especially now that she’s getting heavier. And this way also allows us to use the stroller to carry all our things. However, when she was a tiny baby, we would babywear her and check her stroller and car seat (most airlines allow these things to be checked for free). This is a good option if you’re traveling alone with your child since it’s difficult to break everything down at the gate while also juggling a baby. I do like both ways of travel and they both have their pros and cons but I prefer using the stroller through the airport when I can. Especially if you’re still in the stage to attach the car seat.
6. Bring extra clothes for yourself and the baby. For some reason most of our blowouts happen on the airplane and believe me, you don’t want to be covered in poop for the remainder of the flight.
7. Choose an aisle seat. This just makes your life easier when you need to get up.
8. Plan for the unexpected. Bring extra formula, snacks, and diapers.
9. I bring travel packs of Clorox wipes and wipe down everything she might touch. It gives me peace of mind and so far, she’s only ever been sick ONCE with a cold. People look at me like I’m crazy, but it’s such a small step and could prevent an illness.
10.If traveling internationally, try to get the crib option on the flight.
When you’re traveling with a baby, you get a lot of special treatment. Some is not so nice, but most is. When we were traveling to Paris with Nixon, we got to go in a much shorter family line through French Customs. It never hurts to ask – if you have a baby, there’s usually a better option. Also keep in mind that if you have Global Entry, your baby will have to have their own. TSA precheck allows your baby to stay with you through the lines, but Global Entry does not.
I hope my experience helps you travel a little easier!