For those who love travel, having an infant should only inspire more getaways. Babies are adaptable travel companions, but they do require someone to pack for them. Where to begin? After speaking to industry experts, we compiled a list of 10 tips to help you and baby travel with ease.
1. Bring a Baby Carrier
“Our favorite item to travel with is a baby carrier,” says Celine Brewer, travel blogger at Baby Can Travel & Family Can Travel. “I like the Ergo Baby Carrier or the LILLEbaby Complete. Even when we travel with a stroller, we tuck the baby carrier in the bottom. It’s perfect for keeping your baby close and for exploring those places where a stroller just isn’t convenient.”
2. Keep Your Baby Busy!
Keeping your infant busy is crucial during travel, and an activity or drawing board can do the trick for hours. Consider magnetized or sticky felt activity boards to avoid losing small pieces, or try wipe-away drawing tables for infinite reuse. Whether you’re on the plane, in the restaurant or enjoying some downtime, keeping baby busy is key!
3. Revel in a Luxurious Hotel Room
“As a mom to three, one of my favorite vacation experiences is a good night’s sleep,” says Catherine Parker, a family travel expert who runs Careful of Kids. “A luxurious room is an excellent place to start. To help everyone in the room settle into a restful sleep, baby included, download a white noise app. With the blackout draperies drawn and white noise in the background, keep your baby on schedule with naps and bedtime.”
4. Wipe, Wipe, Baby
Sure, wipes aren’t the lightest or smallest item to pack, but they are crucial when traveling with infants. Curious babies love to touch everything they can, which can mean germs and dirt in a busy airport or train station. Stay clean (and sane) by bringing antibacterial wipes whenever you’re on the move. Check out these wipes by The Honest Company.
5. Choose Teething Necklaces for the Win
Packing multiple pacifiers for babies who use them is a lifesaver. For those who don’t, consider a teething necklace. These days, teething necklaces come as fashionable accoutrements for women or as Baltic amber pieces to soothe sore mouths. They also do double-duty by serving as toys. Check out these adorable yet practical teethers from West Coast Kids.
6. Stroll with Purpose
A stroller quickly becomes the nucleus for families traveling with infants. Select a sturdy stroller that’s comfortable for your baby to nap in, yet not so enormous that it takes up too much space or risks getting damaged in transit. Be sure to confirm with a flight attendant how to retrieve your stroller after it’s been stowed away for a flight. Some carriers will send the stroller to baggage claim, while others will bring it to the airplane walkway. Don’t forget to clearly label every piece of the stroller, just in case a piece disconnects during flight.
Because your baby is likely to sleep in the stroller, also bring a cover. “When traveling with an infant on long-haul flights, I have found a Cozigo dual purpose airplane bassinet cover and stroller sleep/UV cover invaluable for helping settle my baby to sleep,” says Carrie Bradley, editor at Flying with a Baby. “It also helps by shielding the sun and UV rays when out and about with the stroller.”
7. Bring on the Slow-Eating Snacks
Like the activity board, slow-eating snacks help keep an infant busy during travel downtime or adult meals. Bring bits-and-pieces snacks that can be doled out slowly to last longer. Consider freeze-dried yogurt chips and rice puffs for snacking in-flight, on the move or in restaurants.
8. Make Your Own Play Space
Create your own play space in airports, city parks and train stations alike with a lightweight, water resistant playmat. Plop down a couple of toys and presto! It’s as if your baby is back at home, not to mention cleaner than when playing in the airport corridor.
9. Don’t Underestimate Resealable Bags
“An absolute must for every flight for us is Ziploc bags,” continues Carrie Bradley. “You can fill them with ice at home, and replenish at the airport cafe and on the plane (via the flight attendant) to keep food and milk cool for the journey. Ice packs/cool packs are often not allowed through security at many international airports as they are considered a liquid.”
10. Stay Calm: Smell Lavender
The calming scent of lavender helps put everyone at ease. For best use, establish a connection with the scent prior to traveling. That way, your baby recognizes the scent from feeling safe at home and can draw on the same sense of well-being anywhere he or she goes.