Traveling with a baby can be a great experience… or…
A screaming baby, runaway older siblings, and furious, exhausted parents… I admit: I’ve been there, done that (both versions).
But it doesn’t have to be torture. Here is a checklist to help you make the traveling work smoothly!
Traveling with a baby or toddler (or both!) can be pretty overwhelming. Not only are you tired to begin with, but the combo of all the extra stuff needed and the high-maintenance of young kids anywhere can seem to be enough to simply stay at home!
And sometimes that really is the best decision!
But if you do want to travel with your baby, there are definitely ways to make it easier! Here is a checklist to help you make the traveling work!
You can also check out the book Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Travel with Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler Very helpful and detailed!
Checklist for Traveling With a Baby:
- Plan and Pack Ahead
- Get Your Sleep And Stay Sane
- Help Your Baby Sleep
- Stick To The Routines
- Hide Some Favorite Toys
- No Stain, No Pain Food & Drink
- The Right Insurance
- An Appropriate Medical Kit
- Diapering On The Go
- Tips On The Best Baby Vacation Spots
Plan and Pack Ahead
When traveling with a baby it is so important to plan ahead. I’ve done the opposite so many times – packing the night before leaving the house.
It’s not a good idea!
You will sleep poorly if at all and will spend the first of your well-deserved trip exhausted and irritated. If you breastfeed, the quality of the milk may also be affected, making your baby less content.
In addition to being exhausted, the risk is much higher that you bring too much if you desperately pack just before leaving. Traveling with a baby means bringing a lot of things anyway. There is no point in bringing even more stuff than you actually need.
So plan and pack ahead. Really.
Get Your Sleep And Stay Sane
Well if you do plan ad pack ahead, it will be possible to make room for a good night’s sleep the night before you leave.
Traveling with a baby (or traveling at all, actually) can be quite exhausting. With a new baby, you are probably tired anyway, so becoming even more tired can be tough. If you will be traveling by car, being sleepy is of course very dangerous!
Help Your Baby Sleep
If your baby needs a pacifier, a certain blanket, or a lovey, don’t forget them at home! It can be worth even bringing your baby’s pillow or sleep sack if he or she uses one. Anything that will make the sleep situation as normal as possible will help your baby feel safe and hence sleep better.
It may also be a good idea to teach your baby to sleep in different environments before you leave. Let him sleep in the stroller, the car seat, on your bed (if safe), in your arms, in daylight if you usually draw the curtains, with the radio on, and so on. This is actually very important if you plan to travel by air with your baby since on an airplane there is nowhere to go to find a calm spot.
Stick To The Routines
If possible, keep an eye on what time it is to be able to maintain your baby’s usual eating and sleeping schedule even if you are away from home.
I would say that the sleep schedule is the most important. But it is easy to forget the baby’s sleep if there is a lot going.
If you breastfeed, it is very possible that you will feed your baby more frequently as it is a very effective way to soothe a baby.
If you are traveling to a different time zone, you need to decide whether to try to adapt your baby’s rhythm to local time. For very young children, like almost newborn babies, it might actually not be worth the trouble, since they tend to eat and sleep regularly around the clock anyway. For older babies and toddlers, adaption will happen whether you want it or not, since the babies are up and out and awake a lot more.
Hide Some Favorite Toys
Depending on how old your infant is, you need to bring toys to distract him or her. The older the baby, the more things to play with.
A tip is to hide a few of your baby’s favorite toys two weeks before the trip and then introduce them one at a time during your traveling. Hopefully a happy reunion!
No Stain, No Pain Food & Drink
Make sure that both you and your baby have ample access to food and drink. It is not fun to have to wait in line or desperately seek a gas station for clean water or something to eat for your crying baby.
If you breastfeed, your baby’s food is fixed easily, but you’ll have to take care of yourself to produce enough milk. You may also want to make sure that you feel comfortable with
breastfeeding in public. At least get yourself a good nursing tank top.
If your baby drinks formula or is old enough for solid baby food, keep it readily available. Also bring a few spoons, baby bibs, and paper napkins.
A small bottle of water to clean your baby (and yourself…) after the meal is also practical, as well as really good baby wipes, like these ones. (Link to Amazon)
When traveling with a baby, you may want to consider what type of baby food to serve during the trip. Tomato sauces and carrot purees are hard to clean off without warm water.
Baby crackers and bananas are great snacks to bring along, as well as other finger foods.
Another tip is to let your baby get used to eating semi-cold foods at home now and then, so you can just feed her or him on the go while traveling if you have to. A baby who has never tasted anything but perfectly heated foods is not likely to accept cold baby food even if starving.
The Right Insurance
If you haven’t fixed it already, make sure your baby (and the rest of your family!) has appropriate insurance cover before you go traveling. What is needed depends on where you live as well as where you are traveling and for how long, and above all on how well your baby is already covered by other insurance.
As a minimum, get a quote from a high-quality insurance company that provides good cover for children.
An Appropriate Medical Kit
Don’t forget to bring a medical kit that is appropriate for all family members.
If you are traveling abroad, I think it feels best to bring your own aspirin, nose spray or drops, etc, because you know they work and are safe for your baby.
Other things to bring are a digital thermometer, medical spoon, nasal aspirator, band-aid, and baby nail clippers. A convenient kids’ first aid travel kit is First Aid Kit by PreparaKit Mama’s Essentials.
Don’t forget to talk to a pediatrician well ahead of traveling to any exotic places, to have time for immunizations as well as to get advice on additional medicines to bring.
Diapering On The Go
When traveling, it is not always easy to find a nice place for changing diapers.
To facilitate diapering, bring a foldable changing pad that fits into your diaper bag. With this and a small towel, you can put your baby down for diapering almost anywhere if you have to.
Also bring plastic bags and lots of baby wipes, so that you can change diapers without access to water. If your baby’s skin is sensitive to baby wipes, bring soft napkins and a bottle of water.
Diaper rash is never fun and even less so when traveling. Bring a good ointment and let your baby spend time without diapers as often as possible if you are in a warm and humid place.
And remember to bring enough diapers to last until you can find new ones, of course.
Tips On The Best Baby Vacation Spots
Want tips on where to go traveling with your little one? Visit our section where parents can share tips with each other. You can both share your own secret baby-friendly vacation spots and get ideas on places and even hotels and malls to visit with your baby.
Find baby-friendly vacation spots here!
That was it. If you have additional tips to share, please do so by leaving a comment below!