One of the things that excites me most as a mom is sharing life and all that the world has to offer with my daughter. So naturally, I couldn’t wait to travel with her for the first time. As a nervous new mom I did all sorts of research to prepare, including asking for everyone’s tips on Instagram (so many useful tips here – thank you!) and between all the advice and actually traveling, I learned A LOT.
Here are my top traveling tips:
If you’re traveling internationally, babies need their own passports and if you have global entry, you’ll need to enroll them in that, too.
2. Alert the airline
Call ahead and let the airline know you’re traveling with a baby so that you have a ticket for him/her. You’ll need this to go through security and for the flight. Pro-tip, if you’re taking a long overnight flight you can request a bassinet.
3. Use Packing Cubes
I had never used packing cubes before this trip but going forward, I’ll most likely always use them. I used the AWAY cubes and they really helped me stay organized, especially with my little one’s belongings. I used half the suitcase for her and half for me, placing all of her belongings in the cubes. I categorized each cube – pajamas, onesies, toiletries, etc. so that things were easy to find.
4. Pack lightly
I most certainly overpacked for our first trip and learned a big lesson. Between her needs and my own, my suitcase clocked in at 74 pounds which was, simply put, ridiculous. I brought way more than we needed and didn’t end up needing about half of it. I vow to never over pack again as lugging that massive suitcase around made things difficult.
5. Ship or buy as much as you can upon arrival
PRAISE BE, Amazon Prime! If you’re traveling nationally, ship diapers, wipes, etc. OR buy them once you’re there. No need to schlep a couple week’s worth of the bulk.
6. Stroller vs. Carrier
If you can live without a stroller, do it! A small baby loves to be worn and the stroller is one more cumbersome item that needs to be accounted for. With that said, if you are going to take a stroller, we really like the Babyzen Yo-Yo. It folds up small enough to fit in the overhead bin but you can gate-check it if you prefer. It also is compatible with a handful of car seats if you chose to travel with one (please note, you can rent a car-seat from most rental car companies – just be sure to arrange it in advance and wipe it down).
7. Wear your baby
With that said, a carrier during the flight helps free up your hands (ideal for when they fall asleep) and makes it easy to walk around with/bounce if/when they get fussy in-flight.
When your bebe is little, it’s important to protect them from germs as their immune systems aren’t as strong as ours. Turn off the vent above you, wipe down the seats and anything they’re going to touch with disposable wipes (I like these) , spritz some hand sanitizer to absorb the germs in the surrounding air and keep your hand sanitizer and wipes readily available. When changing their diaper in the bathroom, use disposable large pads covers and cover as much around them as possible.
9. Feed going up and down
To help your little ones ears, it’s recommended to feed them going up and going down. Alternatively, have them suck on a pacifier. The key is a good suck.
10. Timing travel
When I flew alone with the baby I thought that timing the flight with bedtime was a good idea but it backfired. She couldn’t get comfortable, was overstimulated and when combined with being overtired, it was…rough. Our baby doesn’t fuss much and she fussed for a good portion of the flight. I was STRESSED. If I can avoid overlapping travel and bedtime going forward, I will.
11. Mom/baby travel outfits
Planning the right outfit for mama and baby can make things go a little bit smoother. For the baby, I like a onesie so that they’re completely covered and warm along with a cardigan or a sweatshirt with a hood. This eliminates the need for hats and socks which are extra things to worry about losing. Be sure to pack two backups just in case of blowouts which are likely to happen on planes. In addition, I like to have two swaddles with me to keep them warm, cover them while asleep and/or place on a seat or the ground to set them down.
As for mama, if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need easy access so button ups are ideal. If you’re alone and need to use the restroom, you’ll probably do so while wearing your baby so be sure to wear pants that are easy to get on and off. And again, bring a backup for those blowouts – you won’t want to stay in soiled clothing either.
12. Toy bag
I packed a handful of toys (mostly for teething) in my diaper bag but when traveling alone, it wasn’t easy to reach them while wearing the baby. On our next flight alone, I decided to put all the toys in a little pouch along with straps and wipes so that I could attach them to the baby if applicable and wipe them down as they inevitably fell on the ground. I kept the bag of toys next to us and when it was time to clean up for landing, all I had to do was put that bag back in my diaper bag – which made my life much easier.
13. Sleeping out
Call your hotel and arrange for a crib or pack n play in advance – most places will have them from our experience. Also, a handful of people suggested that I pack worn pajamas and slept in swaddles so that when the baby goes down in a new place, things smelled familiar. I thought this was an excellent tip! And don’t forget your sound machine if you use one. If your baby is used to a mobile, you may want to look into a travel one like this.
And don’t forget to have a glass of champagne while in-flight to help take the edge off! What baby travel tips have you learned?