Whether you’ve always been an adventurer at heart or you suddenly feel the travel jitters as a new parent, there’s no better way for your little one to start getting to know the world than through travel. Inspiring your kids to become globetrotters starts from the first day they are allowed to ride on a plane or take a road trip with you – but it does come with certain challenges that might feel too overwhelming without proper preparation. Therein lies the rub: preparation is the key operating word of every traveling parent out there.
So, as you narrow down on your first ideal destination, start looking for suitable accommodation and travel options, you need to brace yourself for the bumpy ride that is traveling with a baby. Let’s go over a few time-tested tips on how to master the art of exploration with your offspring so that you both save your sanity and have some fun along the way!
It can get pretty stressful right before the day of your trip, so it’s unwise to pack your own bags and those for your kids without relying on a list. Whether you’re using your trusty phone or you’ve written it all down, start your list as soon as you book your tickets – there will be changes and additions along the way, that’s for sure.
This is the best time to determine which items should go with you on the plane and which should go with the rest of the luggage. As an example, carryon bags for parents often include pacifiers, nursing pads, plenty of antibacterial wipes, diapers, and a change of clothes for your little rascal in case of an accident.
Even without all the gear you’re hauling with you, taking care of an infant while you’re waiting for your flight or going through security can be truly stressful both for you and your baby. For starters, keep yourself comfy and your hands free with a lightweight baby wrap that will make the entire onboarding process significantly less stressful for you and much more pleasant for your baby. The breathable material should help you deal with any weather you may encounter, and you can rest assured that your little one will have plenty of support.
Then again, the kind of stroller you use, if you choose to bring one, will make a difference in how easy it will be to maneuver with your gear just before you enter the plane. Look into those that are easy to handle and collapse with one hand only, because traveling with a baby means you’ll rarely have both of your hands free from some sort of luggage.
First-time parents who decide to take their baby to their first vacation as a family will often skip bringing too many toys or books for the flight. This is where a red buzzing alarm should sound in your head right about now, because most babies hardly enjoy their first flight, with all the pressure changes and sleep disruptions.
An entire arsenal may not be necessary, but at least several different soothing methods should be available during your flight. Of course, your baby’s favorite pacifier is a must, a bottle with milk, and perhaps their favorite plush toy. Sometimes all it takes is their blanket, and especially for shorter flights, you may find your baby sound asleep – in which case you’ve won the lottery.
Flying with a baby can come with various messy scenarios, but it can also be much easier on you and the baby if you opt for the most practical seat available. For starters, don’t shy away from flying in the back of the plane, simply because you’ll have a much better chance to have a free seat next to you, and consequently more wiggle room. An aisle seat is another good option in general, even on shorter flights, especially if you expect one or two nappy changes and an occasional trip to the bathroom for yourself.
Longer, international flights come with bassinet seats, but you’ll need to let the airline up front that you’d like to book that particular one for your baby. As soon as you arrive at the airport, make sure to request that seat and check if they have reserved the bassinet for you, and your lengthy flight will be much more comfortable.
A cranky baby can cause quite a commotion among other passengers, and with other babies on the plane, it can be a challenge to keep your baby happy and stress-free, even without the pressure changes. That is why you should never underestimate the power of the right toys, as well as other activities you can prepare for your youngster on the go.
You can pack snacks that are specific to the place you’re visiting, prepare their favorite popup books they love before bedtime, and you can always load your tablet with cartoons and games for a few moments of fun. This is in no way supportive of completely relinquishing your entire flight to digital distractions, but just another way to keep your baby occupied during a long flight.
Every baby has specific needs and as soon as you start traveling as a family, you’ll start finding all the best soothing and entertaining options for your little one, to keep the trip as stress-free as possible. Make sure to use this is a foundation for your travel preparation, and keep upgrading into your own system that will help your baby fall in love with all of your travel adventures in no time!