Traveling over the busy holiday season can be stressful, especially when you’re traveling with a newborn or young child. Proper preparation can make the process smoother. Here are our tips for keeping your sanity while traveling with your little ones.
Don’t Travel Too Far
Prior to age three, it’s best to stick to destinations that are close to home. Newborns have a much higher risk of catching something while traveling and it’s just not worth the risk. You’ll also want to keep your trip short. Just a weekend getaway to somewhere within a couple hours drive is ideal, especially for the first few months.
Airports and airplanes are basically feeding grounds for germs. Ideally, wait till 4-6 months until you take your newborn on a plane. Most airlines do allow young kids to sit on their parent’s lap, however, that’s not the safest place for a child. The FAA recommends securing your little one in a child safety seat. Most car seats will work; just check your seat to see if it says “approved for use in both motor vehicles and aircraft.”
What to Pack
Start planning a few days early. Avoid waiting till the night before to start packing so you don’t forget anything important. Keep a list going and whenever you remember something that you absolutely don’t want to forget, write it down.
Here’s a Basic Checklist:
- Documents – Bring your baby’s birth certificate if you’re flying.
- Food for baby – formula, snacks that don’t need refrigeration
- Toys – Pack a few favorites for entertainment during a long car ride.
- Transportation – car seat for the plane, stroller
- First Aid – Band-aids, hand sanitizer, any prescriptions
- Changing supplies – diapers, wipes, changing pad, diaper rash cream
- Clothes – socks, shoes, bibs, extra clothes in case of spills
Bookmark this blog post or pin this image to refer back to before your trip!Also, check out The Ultimate Pack List for Jet-Setting Families.
Don’t worry too much about forgetting any one thing. As long as you have the essentials, you can always stop by a convenience store near your destination to pick up anything else that’s needed.
Super Mom Christine C has a fun travel hack:
“When our kids were little and we were facing a long car ride or flight, we would pack two backpacks; one for snacks and one for entertainment. Each section contained a different little batch of new things and we would ration out the goodies, section by section throughout the trip. We always had one last thing stashed in one of our bags or under the car seat that we knew would be a favorite. We’d only bring it out at the end and that would get us through the last bit of the journey.”
Where to Stay
Some hotels are more family-friendly than others. Do a little research to compare nearby options beforehand. The hotel’s website and Yelp reviews should give you a good idea of whether or not the place is extra accommodating to little ones. The experience will be more enjoyable if there are other families around. Some baby-friendly hotels even offer baby gear for rent so you don’t need to lug your own. Ask the hotel if they have a kids menu at their restaurant.
You might consider booking a larger room than you would without the kiddos. You’ll be thankful for the extra space when it comes time for feeding and changing. Plus, it will be nice to have plenty of room to store all of the extra supplies you packed.
Have Realistic Expectations
Go into your vacation with the understanding that there won’t be a lot of rest and relaxation time. An infant who is one year or younger requires almost constant attention. If you keep your expectations low, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you do get some time to yourself during naps or calm moments.
Have any additional tips? Share them with us below in a comment.