As a new mom so I can say from experience that traveling with a baby can be very challenging. My baby girl has two passports (British and US) and has visited three countries at just six-months-old. It sounds cool to be a travel mom but in reality it is like being a pack mule. Gone are the days when you can throw a few things in an overnight bag and just go somewhere (at least when traveling with your family). Family travel, especially with a baby, requires planning. I have managed to take a few trips without my daughter in the last few months, but the traveling I have done with her, while challenging, has also been very rewarding. Here are 8 tips for traveling with a baby to make your next trip with a little one a bit easier.
1) CHECK TO SEE IF YOUR HOTEL PROVIDES BABY COTS
Babies require a ridiculous amount of stuff to travel! Many hotels have sleeping cots for babies and will provide them free of charge. One way of cutting down on all the stuff you have to lug with you is by calling your hotel ahead of your trip to see if they offer baby cots. I also suggest asking the hotel to email you a photo of their cots so you can make sure the style is something you feel comfortable letting your baby sleep in.
2) LET YOUR BABY SUCK ANXIETY AWAY
On flights, especially during takeoff and initial descent, when pressure changes in the cabin are likely to be greatest, I suggest offering a bottle, boob, or pacifier to help ease your baby’s ear pain. I don’t normally give my daughter a pacifier, but I let her nurse or have a pacifier anytime she wants during flights to try to keep her anxiety and crying to a minimum. Your baby is going to cry while traveling, but the same way you are more relaxed on a flight with a couple cocktails, your baby will be more relaxed with a full belly and something to suck on. If you are nursing I also recommend requesting a window seat so that you can have a little bit of privacy instead of having to sit in the isle with your boob out.
3) BRING A CARRY ON BAG WITH A CHANGE OF CLOTHES
A diaper blow out is going to happen at some point on a train, plane, or in a car. And it’s likely to happen when you are holding your baby leaving you both covered in poop. Always bring a spare change of clothes in your carry on for your baby and for you. The last thing you want to do is sit on a plane in an outfit covered in baby poop for 15 hours!
4) PICK YOUR HOTEL ROOM WISELY
If you are staying in an old hotel or castle that does not have an elevator (like the one we stayed at in France), make sure to request a hotel room on the ground floor. You do not want to spend your entire vacation lugging your baby, diaper bag and stroller up and down the stairs. And if you are visiting a destination that is going to be very hot make sure your hotel has air conditioning. Babies can not regulate their body temperatures effectively like adults. Call ahead and explain you have a new baby and make sure your hotel can give you a ground floor room (if needed) and if it is going to be hot make sure they have proper AC.
5) PICK YOUR DESTINATION WISELY
As I mentioned above, babies have a hard time regulating their body temperature so try not to pick a travel destination that is too hot. We took our daughter on a boat excursion in Mallorca when she was just three-months-old. She loved the boat but it was hot and we were sweating all day long. The next evening she started getting sick, probably because she got dehydrated from sweating so much on the boat. Babies also do not like wind, especially young babies, so try not to plan any trips to windy destinations with a newborn, unless you are OK with spending most of your time indoors.
6) STAY CLOSE TO WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE
If you are a parent, then you already know young babies can do great on adventures, but only for a short period of time. One of the best tips I can give you for traveling with a baby is to stay close to what you want to see and do. You should also plan multiple, short outings instead of all day excursions. I took my baby girl to Paris when she was just six-weeks-old and we stayed at Hôtel La Bourdonnais, which is only a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. This allowed me to take my daughter on a quick stroll to the Eiffel Tower without the stress of dragging her across the city.
7) BABIES GET PRIORITY
There are not many perks to traveling with a baby but one of them is that babies get priority! When we arrived at Gare du Nord train station in Paris, there was an exceptionally long taxi line, but the man organizing it took one look at us and then escorted us to the front, shooing people out-of-the-way, saying baby and pointing to my daughter. When we sat down in a taxi only minutes later, I felt like I had found a golden ticket! Do not be afraid to use the perk of getting priority status from your baby. This includes cutting immigration, ticket and taxi lines, and getting on the plane first.
8) IT WILL BE WORTH IT
Getting to show your child the world is one of the coolest things about being a parent so even if you have to lug around a ridiculous amount of stuff, and endure dirty looks when your baby is crying, it will all be worth it for the special moments you share with your child on your trip. Children remind us what is important. They make us slow down and appreciate the moment, find joy in the little things, and help us see the world every day the way we see it when we are traveling to a new place – with wonder and amazement. So, don’t be scared to travel with your new baby. It will be challenging but it will also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Do you travel with children? Please share your experience in the comments below! Read Next > How To Survive Traveling With Young Children