You may be surprised to hear that a new baby doesn’t have to quash your wanderlust. With some careful planning, thoughtful packing, patience (and a dose of daring), you can travel just about anywhere with a newborn in tow.
There are numerous places across the country and overseas that specialize in family vacations.
So if you’ve had your heart set on a tropical escape or even a wild adventure, don’t let the little one stop you…
Travel with baby
Just a few minutes of prep may save you from feeling frustrated and uncertain at a crucial moment of your trip. Here are a few Pre-Travel Tips to take into account before departing on your family adventure!
Pre-Travel Tips for Travelling with a Baby
Fill out an emergency sheet with contact numbers (of family and doctors) and baby’s medical details, including any allergies and necessary medications. Keep a hard copy in your carry-on and also save it on your phone. If you’re traveling with another adult, make sure they know how to access this information.
First Aid Kit
Pack a small supply of Band Aids, Tylenol, sunscreen, wipes (and more wipes!), hand sanitizer, any prescription meds plus anything else baby might need when dealing with a minor health issue. Stash all of this in your carry-on bag so you can access it on the fly.
The last thing you want is to stuff your luggage with items you really aren’t going to use. You already have extra things to keep track of – diaper bag, bottles, and baby!.
Before you start packing, make of list of the baby travel essentials you will need to pack and check it twice. Do you really need to bring baby’s four new dresses with matching tights to the beach?
Your list should look something like this:
- diapers/ nappies
- changing pad/ mat
- plastic bags (for soiled diapers)
- baby wipes
- baby bum cream/ lotion
- hand sanitizer
- onesies/ babygro
- pacifier/ dummy
- soft toy
- burp cloth
- swaddling blanket
- extra clothes (weather appropriate)
- hat (for sun or warmth)
- baby soap/shampoo
- baby lotion
- a familiar blanket to use at nap/bedtime (plus bed sheets that smell like home)
(Everyone) Eat First
Hungry travelers are grumpy travelers.
So whether you’re going to board a plane, catch a train or hop in the car for a long journey, be sure to feed baby before settling her in her seat. You’ll want to burp her and clean her up too, so factor in the time to do this without rushing.
You and your fellow travelers need to stay fueled too! If you don’t know if there’s a convenient restaurant in the airport or train station, pack food from home that will sufficiently fill all of you up for a good while.
Tips for Air Travel with a Baby
If you can choose your airplane seat in advance, request an aisle seat because you’ll have more mobility and freedom to get up and walk around if baby gets fussy (or if your legs need stretching). What’s more, you’ll be able to gather your belongings and get on the ground quicker when it’s time to deplane.
If you can’t pick a seat ahead of time, go right up to the ticket agent when you arrive at the airport and explain that you’re traveling with a newborn. Say that you’d like an aisle seat and preferably not in the very back row (it tends to be the loudest in the back). If the flight isn’t full, ask if the seat(s) next to you can remain empty.
Be Last (But Not Least)
You’d think that pre-boarding would be the way to go, but we find that it’s better to board last, once everyone else is settled. In this way, you don’t have to worry about getting in the way of other passengers as you get established in your seat and baby doesn’t have time to fuss before take off.
Tips for Car Travel with a Baby
A newborn should ride in a special car seat, in the back, facing the rear of the car. This is the most protected position in case of an accident.
Since the position of the car seat is so crucial, triple check that it’s installed properly. Some local police and fire stations will assist you to make sure it’s safe and ready for a long ride. You could also learn the proper set up by watching online videos created by the car seat company.
Sun and Shade
Even if baby has the most comfortable car seat in the universe, she’s going to fuss if the sun shines directly into her eyes. To avoid this, install shade screens on the car windows to keep baby cool and comfy.
You can find removable shades that attach with suction cups or ones that stick directly on the windows.
Where To Stay when Traveling with a Baby
Self-catering – A Home of Your Own
While hotels are certainly convenient and plentiful, they’re usually not private or especially quiet. However, if you rent an apartment or a house you can take your vacation to a whole new level!
With your own kitchen, you can easily warm up bottles and clean them. You’ll also have a fridge to fill as you wish. A place with a washer and dryer is key since baby will go through a great deal of laundry.
Having the comforts of home will give you more flexibility and control of your surroundings (which is more than you get from a typical room at the inn).
Consider mailing items like diapers, wipes and formula to your hotel in advance. This is a great idea for two reasons. First of all, you don’t have to pack and carry these bulky things. Secondly, when you arrive and are feeling tired, there’s no need to dash to the nearest market because you already have some essentials on hand.
Another way to make hotels more comfortable is to call ahead your visit and ask that a crib and a pack ‘n play be set up by the time you arrive. Of course, not all hotels have these items on hand for you to use, but a large number are extremely accommodating.
Once you’ve outfitted the crib and play area with the sheets you’ve packed from home, baby will have two places to play and relax. What’s more, you’ll be thrilled to have somewhere to secure baby while you unpack and get ready for the next stage of the trip!
Travel Tricks for Traveling with a Newborn Baby
It’s nerve wracking to travel with a newborn, especially the first time. Even the most seasoned traveler is bound to worry about how baby will react to unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. However, having a few travel tricks up your sleeve will make all the difference.
Planning and prepping in advance is crucial. For example, by calling ahead to the airline you may receive optimal seating on a flight, or a quick phone call to a hotel clerk before your trip begins may result in a comfy crib and an oversized bathtub in your room.
The key is to prepare, prepare, prepare.
Honestly, you can’t underestimate the benefits of mindful travel. Certainly, since there’s a good chance baby will inherit your love of travel, you want to do all you can to make family trips as successful and joyous as possible.
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About the Author
Samara Kamenecka is a VA specializing in SEO and writing. She’s originally from New York but has settled in Madrid. When she’s not chained to her desk working, she likes to explore the city and beyond with her boyfriend, their two kids and their dog. She also blogs about everything from pregnancy gifts to parenting tips over at Tiny Fry.