I’m a bit odd because I don’t really enjoy taking trips without my kids so we do a lot of traveling with babies in tow. My youngest went on her first camping trip when she was barely 2 months old and now at 6 months she’s already taking her second trip to the beach.
Traveling with a baby definitely presents some challenges though. We’ve gone through a lot of trial and error as we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.
Here are my top 5 tips for traveling with a baby:
1. When in doubt, overpack. I’m usually more of a fan of under packing and just doing without or buying what you need on the road. That doesn’t work with a baby. For one thing, it’s just a lot more complicated going out of your way to find a store while traveling with a baby. There’s also no guarantee that you will find what you need. Fortunately most baby items are small so I just throw it all in and go light on what I pack for everyone else. Definitely don’t leave the house without a great stroller or baby carrier (or both).
2. Be prepared for the unexpected. Traveling with a baby is always a bit of an adventure. The first time we traveled with my oldest son, cross-country no less, he ended up with a raging case of pink eye that he must have caught on the plane. We had our pediatrician’s number on speed dial by that point and were able to have him phone in a prescription and save the day. If you expect the unexpected, it won’t knock you over completely when it happens.
3. Get your baby used to her sleeping arrangements first. I’m not a huge fan of hotel cribs. They honestly gross me out a bit so I prefer to bring my own Pack n Play. Babies can sometimes take a while to get used to new things though so it’s a good idea to test baby out in your portable crib for a few days before leaving on your trip. You may find that you need to throw in an extra comfort item or use a different crib sheet depending on baby’s needs.
4. Surprise your baby with a new toy. Babies get bored too and nothing makes a road trip harder than having a screaming baby in the car. Buy a new toy or two to entertain your baby when she gets antsy in her car seat. I grabbed the Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle Toy before we left on our last trip and it was a huge hit in the car.
5. Make plenty of stops. It may take longer when you make a ton of stops during a road trip, but baby will be a lot happier. Babies really need to get out and stretch every few hours anyway and it will make the trip feel a lot smoother if baby is happy. Allow your baby to wiggle around on the grass if you can or practice standing on your lap to stretch out her muscles.
What are your best tips for traveling with a baby?