Five Tips to Make Traveling with Your Baby Easy
Remember when traveling used to be as easy as tossing some clothes and a toothbrush into a bag and then setting out on your way?
Add a baby to the equation and suddenly getting away from home can feel a whole lot more complicated. But contrary to myth, you don’t have to stop traveling because you have a baby. You just have to do a little more advance planning—and that means prioritizing what’s important for the trip, then making a careful plan and rolling with it.
There are a few key “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?” steps you can take to simplify traveling with a baby. The good news is that most of them require minimal effort but have a big payoff that makes the time you spend prepping worth your while.
Plan for a successful trip by starting with reasonable expectations—especially for nap time and bedtime. Schedule disruptions can be hard for even the most laid-back babies, so plan on 3 to 4 days for your baby to adjust to life in a new location. And remember that jet lag affects babies, too. To counter the effects of time zone changes, try to keep your baby’s bedtime routine consistent, watch out for signs that your baby is ready to sleep even if it’s not bedtime yet, and, most of all, be patient. Your baby will adjust eventually!
Make Flights Smoother
If you’re planning airplane travel with baby, don’t get trapped in a middle or window seat. Book an aisle seat so you can easily get up to walk or take your baby to the bathroom for a diaper change. And if it’s possible, plan your flights around your baby’s nap schedule so they’re more likely to sleep en route.
Hands down, the trickiest part of flying with a baby is take offs and landings. Minimize ear pain that might cause your baby to start crying by feeding them while the plane is taking off or landing. Sucking and swallowing can help cut down on ear pain caused by air pressure changes and make your baby less likely to cry.
On the Road
Road trips eliminate the worry of disturbing other passengers when baby is upset …but car travel has its own concerns that you should prep for. If possible, try to time your departure so you’re driving while baby is napping. Plan out your driving schedule so you entertain the baby while your partner drives, and then switch off so your partner does the entertaining while you drive. It’s also a great idea to have a baby travel bag for the car packed with more diapers, wipes, and spare outfits than you think you will need, plus plenty of snacks and bottles so you’re not stuck rooting around in the packed luggage at a rest stop for things you need to calm your baby. And here’s a pro travel tip: bring along a few zipper lock bags to store soiled clothes separately.
Gear Up for Traveling with Baby
Many hotels and rental properties provide gear like bassinets, playards, and high chairs, but don’t just assume these items will be available—confirm before you leave. If these items aren’t offered, you may want to bring your own all-in-one-care station that can serve as a travel playard, changing station, and bassinet, like the 4moms Breeze Plus Playard, which consolidates much of baby’s essential care in one portable place. Plus, the Breeze Plus opens and closes in one single motion for easy set up and is light enough to easily move from room to room. It also comes with its own travel bag to make it easy to pack up and go.
Pack with Purpose
When packing to travel with an infant, it’s best to find a balance. You don’t want to pack too much, you don’t want to pack too little, you want to pack just the right amount so you’re not either stuck doing laundry the whole time you’re away or bringing home a bunch of unworn outfits. A good rule of thumb is to bring two outfits for each day that you’re away, but if a washer and dryer is available you can plan to run a few loads of laundry and recycle outfits throughout your stay.
Save space by buying disposable diapers once you arrive at your destination—but pack at least 10 diapers in your car or carry-on bag so you’re not caught short-handed if stores are closed or out of stock of the size you need when you arrive. In addition, your packing list should include:
- Lightweight stroller
- Multi-purpose travel playard
- Baby carrier
- Diapers and wipes
- Diaper cream
- Changing pad
- Baby wash
- Baby lotion
- Blankets/burp cloths
- Feeding supplies, such as bottles, nursing cover, pumping supplies, etc.
- Bottle brush
- A first aid kit with bandages, fever reducer, thermometer, antibiotic ointment, etc.
- Baby nail clippers
- Baby monitor
You’ve Got This!
Once you’ve done all of your advance work and planned everything you need to take, it’s time to relax, kick back—and get ready to enjoy showing your new baby the world!