I know a relaxing getaway and baby don’t often fit into the same sentence. But I am here to tell you it is possible.Here are a few tips for making traveling with babies or toddlers not just easier, but even enjoyable. We will look at traveling in three different sections: flights, road trips, and when you’re at your destination.
Our son's first flight was at the age of 3 months old. From there his traveling has sprouted into endless adventures. We started small, his first flight was from Oahu to Lanai (less than an hour flight). He did great so we kept building up. By the age of one he had visited all the Hawaiian islands and three states on the mainland. Now he’s a toddler and travels monthly.
I suggest a trial getaway as your first trip. Start with a short flight.
The less you pack, the less you have to lug around. This includes your carry on and checked bags. We travel with one bag for the 3 of us, this makes us more aware of bringing what we really need.
Babies can travel as a “lap baby” until the age of 2. Make sure you have a birth certificate with you when you check in. Some airlines will ask for proof.
I have a travel bag that holds my car seat. I pack it up and check it with my bag. An extra bonus is you can put in some extra diapers and wipes in if you need extra space. I’ve never carried the car seat on with me or gated checked it - the less you have to carry, the easier it is to navigate the airport.
We baby wear and leave the stroller at home. We’ve never taken our stroller on a trip. We choose this because we would rather not have to juggle getting our jog stroller into the travel bag, check it, juggle multiple bags at baggage claim to the rental car, and our son is happier being close to us in busy, chaotic places. At security if your stroller does not fit through you are required to take it apart!
At security, if you baby wear you are not required to take the baby out. They will have you go through the old school metal detector and have your hands swiped.
Most airports now let families with young children go through pre-check screening. At pre-check you do not have to take out liquids or take your shoes off. Pre-check and baby wearing make security a breeze! Check your airport's regulations - most allow water, pumped breast milk, and baby food through security.
Yay you're through, now to your gate. When our son began walking we spent our time before boarding letting him burn his energy off. We have our one carry on bag with us and let him roam the airport with us by his side.
I always try to plan our flight and his nap time together.
In our carry-on we have a pen, snacks, water, small toys, and an iPad for the last resort. We bring a pen because there’s always paper around you can draw on (your boarding pass). I pack snacks I know our son will be excited to eat (no need for a h-angry baby).
I think space when packing toys, what can I get the most variety of with the smallest space. If he’s bored of everything and nap time didn’t line up we pull out the iPad and watch shows or play games together.
On take off and landing I have always nurse. Another great option is a water bottle. This helps their ears with the pressure.
If your child is unhappy don’t worry about everyone else around you. If they are annoyed that’s their problem (they probably haven’t had kids). Take a few deep breaths and find your zen place. If you stay calm, you'll have a better chance of calming your child.
Again start with a short trip and building up.
We plan to head out about 30 minutes before it’s nap time. Our son gets to look around a bit, play some and then falls asleep with the motion of the car. Sometimes we get lucky and he sleeps the entire way depending on the distance.
If our son is not sleeping we start with snacks if he is hungry (don’t worry you can always vacuum the car out.)
Then we move onto books. I pack 2-3 books that are new to him or haven’t been looked at recently.
Next are trucks and small toys that he can pretend with.
Once the boredom starts to sink in I move to the back with him and engage in the books and toys with him.
We when are almost there and he’s ready to run, I pull out the iPad and let him watch a show. Because, let’s face it - an unhappy baby won’t make us get there any faster.
Experiment to see what time of day is better to travel, if stopping to run and play helps, or if it’s best to push through and get there.
When You’re at Your Destination
I always have essential oils in our diaper bag. My travel oils are doTerra’s OnGuard, DigestZen, Breathe, Balance, and Lavender. With these I can fight off germs, treat stomach bugs, colds, diaper rash and calm the baby.
My intention on getaways is to see new things and wear the toddler out so I can relax some. When we go check places out we let him walk/run around to expend his energy.
My biggest secret to traveling is babywearing. I won't go down the street or out of town without our carrier.
Travel, explore, have fun, and when there’s a road bump, pause and ask is this really a big deal? Laugh it off because it is not worth being upset if something goes wrong.
When something goes differently than planned, do what you can and move to the next moment where your destination is inner frustration or inner peace.
I'd love to hear your tips for traveling with little ones - what have you found to work for you?
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