People often like to say that once you have children, your traveling days are over. While this can be true for some families, it doesn’t have to be. As long as your baby is healthy and doesn’t have any conditions that preclude them from traveling, you can still trot the globe as much as you’d like.
However, you might want to keep reading for a few of our baby traveling tips. Though nothing is stopping you from traveling with your baby, there’s no denying you can face some challenges. Hopefully, our helpful guide will help you anticipate those challenges in advance, so you are fully prepared.
How Early Can You Travel with a Baby?
When flying, some experts say you can fly with a newborn as early as two weeks. However, because a baby’s immune system is still developing, you might be better off waiting at least a month. Some doctors recommend waiting anywhere from three to six months. You are the ultimate authority in your baby’s life, so it’s really up to you to decide when you feel it’s safe for your baby to fly.
If you’re traveling by train, it may be a little less risky than flying since there are no atmosphere changes that can affect your little one’s lungs, but you still have to contend with crowds and your baby’s potential to catch a bug.
If you plan on traveling by car, there aren’t any minimum age requirements. As long as you have a proper car seat and everything you need packed in your baby diaper bag, you can road trip all day long. If you are worried about traveling by train or plane, consider driving instead or check out some tips for taking a baby on a plane.
When to Travel with Baby
There are no rules on when to travel with a baby. You’re the baby’s parent, so if you need to travel, you make the rules. However, it may be a good idea to wait until your little one is a couple of months old before embarking on too many travel adventures, just to be safe.
Baby Travel 101
There’s no denying that traveling with a child can be stressful, especially a newborn or toddler. There’s a lot to be said for a little forethought and preparation. By planning ahead, you can make traveling with your little one as stress-free as possible.
Make a Travel Checklist
Actually, make a couple. You can make one for tasks you need to get done before leaving on your trip, as well as a checklist for items you need to pack. Checklists are lifesavers, especially when things get crazy as days with small children are prone to do.
Make a checklist of all the baby items you plan on packing, and the items you still need to buy. You may have to do things like getting passports for everyone and make sure your baby has required vaccines if you’re traveling to a foreign country. Making checklists helps you avoid missing a crucial step when preparing to travel, saving you untold hours of stress and anxiety.
Wondering what to pack when traveling with your baby? Think ahead to your travel destination. Make sure you pack clothes that are suitable for the climate you’re heading into, especially if where you are traveling is colder or warmer than your current locale. If you’re going somewhere cold, make sure to pack plenty of rompers with long sleeves and feet at the bottom, and don’t forget extra blankets and a little hat to keep baby’s head warm.
Long baby nightgowns that zip at the bottom are also cozy, and if your baby is toddler-aged, make sure to pack extra socks, light and heavy jackets, and several pairs of pants.
If you’re headed to warmer climates, packing plenty of lightweight onesies is always a lifesaver and can be matched and paired with different bottoms or worn alone. If your child is toddler-age, make sure to pack the right shoes and some kind of sun hat for extra shade. It can be very expensive to purchase clothes. Once you’ve checked off all the necessities, let your little one pack a few of their favorite toys in their own bag such as a kids’ backpack or suitcase. This will give them a few items to keep occupied and also let them feel like they are helpers in the packing process.
Bring Only Necessary Baby Gear
If there is one thing that hinders people from traveling much when the baby arrives, it’s all the gear new parents have to tote around. Try to take only necessities when traveling and save yourself the stress. Items like:
- A good stroller, since you will be on the go a lot. If your baby is still small, you can also take one of those infant backpack carriers or baby slings, for when you don’t want to use the stroller. These are also good for airports after you send the stroller to baggage.
- A car seat or carrier. Even if you’re flying, you may still need a car seat. Check with your airline and find out their requirements for infants. Sometimes a car seat means you have to purchase an extra seat on the plane. If you don’t want to do that, you can seat your baby on your lap for the flight, but it’s safer to use a car seat.
- A roomy diaper bag. You can pack almost everything baby will need in a good diaper bag so that it’s all organized and easily accessed while on the go. If you’re going on a short trip opt for a small backpack to keep packing light. Try one of our backpack diaper bags so that you can have your hands free. These are handy if you aren’t using a stroller with a basket to tuck it into.
- A blanket or sweater you can access easily. Planes and airports can get chilly, so better to be safe than be cold later. If your child has a special blanket that helps them sleep, bring that. It will do double duty by keeping your baby warm and providing the emotional comfort of something familiar.
- One or two favorite toys. No need to go overboard here. Just a couple of your child’s favorite things to help keep them entertained, especially if you have things like layovers.
- Plenty of diapers and wipes. Yes, technically you can buy these items if you run out, but if you have to purchase diapers at an airport, they may cost you more than where you normally purchase them. Better to just stock up so you have plenty on hand.
Travel While Baby Sleeps
This is a lot easier if you’re traveling by car or taking short trips somewhere. Flying or taking a train long distance will be a little different. But if you’re road-tripping to see family the next state over, consider making the biggest leg of the journey during the largest timeframe your little one normally sleeps, to make the ride as peaceful as possible.
Rent a Condo
Many new parents make the mistake of just getting a hotel room when traveling and on the road. However, if you look for a condo or short-term rental somewhere, you will have at least a bedroom.
This is helpful when it’s time to put your little one to bed, but you and your partner aren’t necessarily tired yet. You can still hang out in the living area, watch a movie, make dinner, etc., and meanwhile, the baby will be able to sleep peacefully in the next room. That is a lot more difficult to manage in a standard hotel room!
Stock Up on Snacks and Drinks
This goes for you and baby. Flying can be dehydrating, so plenty of water is always good. Pack foods that are nonperishable and use ice packs if you have to pack breast milk. If your child is a toddler, easy snacks like goldfish crackers, dry cereal, and pretzels are always winners. It’s also a good idea to bring a bottle or sippy cup for your child to suck on during a flight to combat air pressure.
Make Sure All Electronics Are Charged
You wouldn’t believe how many new parents forget to do this in the flurry of packing and getting ready for travel. You want your phone to be charged up before leaving, as well as any tablets. Tablets are great for keeping toddlers distracted on long trips, but they are worthless if you forget to charge them beforehand! Invest in a portable charger if you don’t have one. These come in handy while on a long trip when your batteries start to deplete.
We could go on and on with the baby traveling tips. Every trip is different, every baby is different, every travel experience is different. There’s no wrong or right way in how to travel with a baby. Simply prepare as best you know how and try to enjoy the journey.