I love sorting through vintage photos. They make me nostalgic, and in our family, especially remind me of travelling with a baby, our baby. Based on tried and true experience, successes and challenges, I want to share my best tips for traveling with a baby. I’ve got thousands of digital photo files and hours of video I’m finally sorting through, and I’m compelled to share stories to inspire other families to travel.
Babies Can Get Passport Stamps, Too!
Time flies and our baby turns fourteen this year, and has more stamps in his passport than most grown-ups. Before he was a year old, our firstborn son had traveled on many adventures. Our now awesome teenpreneur was born in Las Vegas, Before his second birthday, he had been through at least a dozen states, taken a trip to Thailand, and joined us on the trip of a lifetime via planes, trains, rental cars and our Volvo SUV (from their overseas program) across Spain, Las Islas Canarias, Portugal, Morocco, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany. I still dream of recreating that incredible trip with both our sons now that they are older.
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Traveling while Pregnant?
As I often say, don’t let having a baby stop you from traveling, just travel differently! Are you pregnant and reading this? Be encouraged! You can still live your dream adventures with baby in tow! (Make sure you prioritize taking a babymoon, traveling with your spouse before baby arrives! I’ve got tips for you on traveling while pregnant on my Mom Talk column on Babywise.Life.
Planning a road trip with baby? How about traveling on a plane with baby? I’ve got ten tips below sure to get you excited and inspire you to get your passports ready!
Ten Tips for Traveling with Baby without Losing It!
- Be flexible. Know in advance things will be different. Have extra grace, patience and love for one another, and you’ll enjoy the adventure!
- Flying with Baby? Plan a bit of extra time at the airport. Breastfeeding while traveling is entirely possible, and even beneficial. A nursing baby on takeoff and landing will have less pain and pressure change in their ears, and that equals a less fussy baby and stress on mom.
- Use a sling or metal-free baby carrier instead of a stroller as much as possible. You can even slide through TSA security with baby on your chest with the right baby carrier. If you must take a stroller, use a simple folding one, not a big jogging type and never keep your valuables inside. (Ask me how I know!)
- Travel light and pack smart. Stick to a backpack style diaper bag as your carry-on, and nothing else. I loved my Petunia Pickle Bottom bag, and they’ve only improved them over the years. Ideally, you’ll already be carrying baby and they’ll be on your lap in the flight. That’s enough precious cargo for anyone. Remember to pack your nursing cover and an extra top for mom in case baby gets sick. Check these tips for packing your travel diaper bag.
- Remember to pack your favorite toiletries for baby, like natural baby sun block, insect repellant and any other hard-to-find items. Leave the easily accessible things, such as wipes and diapers, for your destinations. It will help keep the bags light.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Airport agents are glad to offer their services, most of the time!
- Teething soothers. If baby is teething, make sure you have what you need to keep them comfortable. We loved the natural teething melting tablets and our Munchkin mesh feeding bag and could safely put some ice or an apple wedge in when baby was teething. Now, they have awesome teething jewelry for mom that’s just perfect if you’re wearing baby and amber necklaces for baby which release a natural pain reliever, and can even sooth stress, gas and colic. Don’t leave home without one.
- Ride in the back seat with baby if you can. This is where you and your hubby can even change spots at times, to be right there when baby needs you. Sitting next to baby’s rear facing car seat on road trips will keep both you and baby calm and secure. You can be there to grab the dropped pacifier, sing a lullaby or just hold a hand.
- Plan extra time into road trips for nursing, feeding, changing and Starbucks stops. 🙂 Set realistic expectations on time of arrival, and start small on road trips with baby. When Makani was only two weeks old, we had begun to go stir-crazy in the house and hopped in the car for a three-hour road trip and few days in Zion National Park. They are some of our most priceless newborn memories. Luis and I still made time to enjoy our favorite hobby, traveling, right from the start. As baby grew, road trips were just part of life, and this early travelling with baby made it easier through toddler, elementary and even young adult years. Laura Begley Bloom, travel expert and Forbes’ travel contributor echoes my advice here when she shared with me one of her stories: “We’ve done some great road trips with my daughter. My biggest piece of advice is to start small – and start early – and then work your way up to longer trips. We have a friend who did a epic road trip from New York to Florida when his baby was really little. The baby wasn’t used to traveling, and it scarred him for a long time; he would scream and cry whenever they got in the car. We have a place in the Hamptons, and we started taking our daughter there when she was just 1-week-old. We started venturing on longer road trips and took her to Cape Cod when she was about 4-months-old. It really helped prepare her for longer road trips.”
- Have extra patience and grace for each other. I may have said that twice. 😉 Consider this a dose of wisdom, like when things are mentioned twice in the Bible. Heed the message and your travels with baby will be beyond blessed and can set you up for a lifetime of adventures. You never know where or when Jesus will say GO, so be prepared- He is the best adventure, and travelling with a baby can be one of the best, and most exciting, preparations for life!
Do you have experience and other tips for traveling with an infant? I’d love to hear from you!
Vaya con Dios-