Are you trying for traveling with a 1-year-old or newborn baby internationally? I can assist you if the notion of traveling with babies causes you to break out in hives. I understand taking that first vacation with a newborn can be difficult. I never did until Nathan was small. But with Ethan, I realized that it is doable. So here’s everything you need to know to make it through your baby’s first airline travel or road trip and feel like you have taken a break, too.
These traveling with babies guidelines can be used for everything from local day outings to intercontinental flights around the world. Mom Travel Hacks have traveled the world with their children and put them to the test!
Read out our most useful tips for flying with a toddler, including what to pack for a road trip with kids, traveling with kids on a plane, how to tackle with naps in between sightseeing, and why a baby carrier is your top choice for traveling with babies.
24 Tips for Traveling with a Baby on a Plane or Road
This is where the majority of new parents begin. It is where my husband and I began our parenting journey with our 2-month-old Ethan. We positioned and tied him into his car seat and drove 70 miles to his grandparents’ place for a visit.
1. Start small, do often
Allow your infant to become accustomed to spending time in her car seat by taking short and frequent car rides.
When you are stalled in heavy traffic on the road, you do not want to discover that your baby does not appreciate vehicle rides. Otherwise, you would be stuck in traffic for hours while the baby screamed, making for a long journey as I always strived with Sofia.
2. Travel light
Getting to my parents’ house seemed like a major undertaking on that first road trip with my first baby. We loaded up on baby toys, packed a stroller, and filled a diaper bag. My mother, excited to be a new grandmother, had previously purchased a high chair and a crib to keep at her home, so we did not have to transport those every time we visited her. And, of course, I now understand that traveling with babies does not require all of that.
Just bring the essentials: You will need a few more diapers than you think. This is especially true if your child uses cloth diapers. There should be at least two additional pieces of clothing on hand in case of diaper blowouts—one or two toys, as well as the baby’s favorite one.
Yeah. That’s it!
Mom Travel Hack: You can bring everything you can the first time you go on a road trip traveling with babies, and possibly even the second time. However, on the third journey, leave behind all of the items you did not utilize on the first two excursions.
3. Drive When They Are Asleep
I grabbed this ace Mom Travel Hack from one of my besties in New York; when she and her husband were planning a weekend getaway with their infant, they looked for areas within a two- or three-hour drive of their house. The trip was timed to overlap with the baby’s nap period. They viewed the trip as an opportunity to scout the area in preparation for a future trip when the baby was older.
They spent much of their trip to the Hamptons driving around with a baby while the infant dozed. It was not as exciting as a pre-baby vacation, but it was better than staring at the same walls at home. In addition, the baby was becoming accustomed to sleeping in a different location. That is the first and most important stage in raising a committed traveler!
Tips for flying with a 3-year-old
This is a matter of personal preference, both for you and for your child.
Some people swear by those jogging strollers with enormous wheels that appear like they could handle the Long beach. My spouse simply enjoyed holding our children in his arms. Umbrella strollers were my preference because they are lightweight and easy to transport up and down the L’s stairwells in Chicago.
4. Would You Need a Baby Carrier?
As a traveling mom who has traveled with her three children since they were newborns, I swear by babywearing. Why? Free hands! Especially when you have toddlers along with your infant. You can lug a carry-on bag through the airport, grab yourself a snack, pack up the beach toys, and even take a break from standing in line for rides at Disney World if you are carrying the baby!
Carriers are similar to jeans in that there is a style for everyone. You will have to figure out what works best for you. I had a Tula soft structured carrier in our car for when I had to get up in a hurry. If you are moving ahead to the beach, bring a water carrier or sling with you to keep the baby close and teach them water safety.
Mom Travel Hack: As an added advantage, the carrier may be utilized as a makeshift high chair at restaurants if necessary!
5. Before You Go On Your Trip, Test Your Travel Gear
You will want to travel on the equipment that makes baby and you the most comfortable, from strollers, car seats to baby carriers and diaper bags. Nobody wants to be a mile into a 3-mile trip and discover that the baby does not appreciate the backpack you are carrying her in.
And why are you interested in putting the diaper bag to the test? Because when traveling with a baby, you need to feel at ease with the luggage. Even more importantly, you must know where everything is and how to get to it quickly in the event of a blowout or the need for a pacifier by the baby!
Traveling with a Newborn on a Plane
My first flight traveling with babies was a 5-hour flight from California to Florida. Alone.
These are my pro tips for making that first flight as easy as possible for both of you.
6. Begin With A Small Tour
If possible, start with a short flight of fewer than two hours, just like you would with a road trip. It will allow you and the baby to put the entire procedure to the test.
Was she excited or nervous about going through TSA? Did she scream in pain during takeoff and landing, or did she enjoy it? Was it simple to keep her on your lap, or do you wish you had purchased her own seat?
7. When Possible, Take A Direct Flight
When you know, you will only have to do it once, getting on and off a plane with a carry-on and a baby can go easy and is less stressful. If at all possible, avoid the layover and go straight to your final destination!
8. Select The Appropriate Seat
This will be the window seat for some. Others prefer the aisle seat. It is not merely a matter of taste. It all depends on how much you need to get up from your seat.
When the “fasten seat belt” sign is turned off, would your infant need to be taken up and down the aisle? Is the content in his car or on your lap? Is the flight long enough that at least one diaper change will be required in the restroom?
9. If It’s a Long Flight, Choose a Red-Eye
Your child will likely sleep most of the time on the flight.
10. Get On The Plane as soon as Feasible
If the airline offers family boarding, take advantage of it. Then, before the crowd falls, you will be able to place everything in the overhead bin and get yourself and the baby comfy.
11. Reserve A Bulkhead Seat
Bulkhead rows on wide-body jets used for international and cross-country domestic flights are set up so that a bassinet can be mounted to the wall. There is also extra legroom, which means there is more room for baby gear.
12. Purchasing a Seat for The Baby
Airlines permit kids under the age of two to travel as “lap children,” but we do not advise it. Yes, purchasing another seat will be more expensive, but your kid will be secure in his rear-facing car seat and tied by the seat belt. You will also have your hands free during the flight, which is vital.
If you do not want to pay for your baby’s seat up front, Julie suggests trying to curry favor with the flight attendant, who may be able to change seating so you have an open seat next to you. It happened on every flight while traveling with babies under the age of one!
Mom Travel Hack: Check your airline’s car seat rules to be sure your car seat will fit in the flight seat.
13. To Relieve Earache, Keep a Pacifier on Hand
A newborn three seats up began to scream exactly as my ears began to explode from the increased cabin pressure on a recent flight. The new parents tried everything they could to console her, but the screams just got louder. We were all heartbroken for that poor little one as we heard a voice,
“Give that infant a bottle!” yelled a male voice from the front of the plane.
” She would not take a bottle,” the father said quietly.
“Then give her a boob,” the first man responded. That baby is in pain!”
It is uncomfortable for such tiny ears too. For takeoff and landing, have a pacifier handy. Try a bottle — or a boob — if that does not work. Suckling helps to balance the pressure in their little ears. Before the travel, talk to your pediatrician about any additional advice or ideas that might help your infant.
When Traveling With Babies, Have a Sleep Strategy In Place
Getting your baby or newborn to fall asleep in a new setting, such as a hotel or Airbnb, can be difficult. Here are some helpful recommendations for getting your infant to sleep while on vacation:
14. Book a Multiroom
Do not settle for a run-of-the-mill hotel room when traveling with a baby. Booking a larger room with a separate bedroom allows the baby to be in a calm, safe environment. Bonus points if you find a vacation rental that includes baby equipment like a crib and high chair.
If you must stay at a hotel, at the very least request a room with a balcony. After you have put the baby to sleep, grab a glass of drink and head to the balcony with your partner. Keep one ear ready for any cries from the infant and leave the door open a little while you two have some “us time.”
15. Use What Works For You At Home
Calming your kid while on vacation can include carrying him in a carrier and pacing the room, going with him in a stroller up and down the hotel hallway, or using a white noise machine.
16. Experiment With Different Sleeping Arrangements.
Again, at the beach house for a week is not the place you want to realize that your kid will only sleep in her own crib in her own room.
Have her sleep around in the weeks leading up to the trip – put her down for naps at your best friend’s house, go to Grandma’s for an overnight stay, and even try getting her to nap in a different room at home day and night.
Nursing or Feeding Your Baby While Traveling
This is another time when knowing your baby’s temperament and schedule is crucial. It is easy to lose sight of a feeding schedule when time zones change. Your baby may possibly be cutting nursing sessions short because he is preoccupied with all of the new stimuli in his environment.
17. Care for yourself
With the potential for schedule and timing changes, make sure you have some form of relief in case the baby is not feeding well.
Even if you do not normally pump breast milk, having a tiny manual pump on hand could be a lifesaver on vacation if your baby is making you bloated. Mastitis is a terrible thing to experience, especially when you are away from home.
18. Breastfeeding is Permitted Everywhere
If you regularly feed your baby in a rocker in a quiet room in the weeks leading up to your vacation, you might want to change things up a little. It is critical that both you and your baby become accustomed to breastfeeding in different settings.
19. Keep Track of Soiled Diapers
Make sure you are keeping track of wet diapers the same way you do at home. You will be able to tell if the baby is dehydrated this way (especially if you are traveling in a warm location).
20. Make It Easier To Mix the Recipe
Are you traveling with a baby’s formula? I have got a couple of tricks up our sleeves for that as well.
You can first bring water past the security checkpoint. Make sure you take it out of your suitcase and tell TSA it is for the baby. I always brought pre-filled bottles and a bottle of room temperature water.
Bring a sectioned formula holder with you, so you do not have to measure as you go.
Pack a new sealed powdered formula container in your suitcase to avoid leaks. If you can not do that, stretch a piece of plastic wrap over the container before covering it with the lid, and then place everything in a zip-top plastic bag before tucking it inside your suitcase. There is nothing like formula powder all over your clothes to ruin a trip!
Finally, what about those protein powder shaker bottles? They are ideal for on-the-go formula mixing. They can also be used to warm bottles. Simply fill the shaker with hot water and place it inside to warm the bottle.
Years ago, I remembered a coworker complaining about his upcoming trip to France with his wife and traveling with babies. He was enraged because his wife had planned to bring a case of diapers with her.
“Doesn’t she knows that babies everywhere poop?” he addressed no one in particular.
You may bring more diapers while traveling than you use per day, but there is no need to carry the whole pack.
21. Only bring what you will need
My coworker was absolutely right. Babies poop and pee all over the world. As a result, once you arrive, you will be able to purchase what you require. But keep in mind what we said regarding blowout prevention: Include twice as many diapers (and two extra clothes) for the flight or road ride.
22. Traveling with a Cloth Diaper Baby Is Possible!
If you and your baby use cloth diapers, you can still continue using them while traveling with babies. One of my neighbors with four kids and a travel freak claims it is simple if you follow these three steps:
- Make plans to do laundry throughout your travels. Do not bring every single diaper you own with you.
- When you are out and about, bring a travel pack or a number of plastic bags in case of a blowout.
- Set up a diapering station similar to what you have at home when you arrive in your hotel room.
Decide to live a minimalist lifestyle
Do you recall what I said at the start? It is tempting to pack everything you believe your kid may require while on vacation. We are aware of the situation. We did the same thing on our first (or, yes, maybe two) vacations when traveling with babies. However, you will not require all of it. Really.
Allow yourself to bring all you think you will need for the time being. It is better to be safe than sorry. Make a list of the items you brought but did not utilize when you arrived home.
Here’s what we recommend when you are ready:
Instead of a diaper bag, we recommend bringing the baby’s basics in a backpack. The backpack can then be worn on both shoulders, allowing you to remain entirely hands-free.
23. Take only what you really need
We bring the following items:
- Diapering essentials (changing pad, diapers, wipes)
- A soaked bag (for storing wet or soiled clothing)
- You should change clothing twice per day (more if you have a baby prone to spitting up or diaper blowouts). Pack these garments in gallon-size Ziploc bags so you will have extras on hand in case of an emergency.
- Sunscreen that is safe for children
- Hat for protection
- Wrapping and sun protection with swaddle cloths/muslins
- Food/bottles/formula/baby spoons
- Stroller and/or front carrier with car seat
24. Keep Amazon in mind
Are you concerned about running out of supplies? You just realized you used half your diapers on the first day while traveling with babies?
Do not underestimate Amazon’s ability to heal. Diapers, formula, extra bottles, a few changes of clothes, and more will be delivered to your hotel or Airbnb in only a few clicks.
If you followed me all through these 24 escapades, I guarantee you you would track five to six of them traveling with babies in your next expedition. So comment below and jot down the one you relate to.