Traveling With Baby

Traveling With Infants

Infants, in many ways, are easy travelers.  As long as they are fed, changed, and comfortable, they will sleep much of the time and will allow you to do your own thing.  Many parents consider a reclining stroller indispensable on a trip.  Even if you do not use one at home, it will keep the weight of baby and supplies off your shoulders (literally).  In a pinch, it can also double as a bassinet.  Just schedule plenty of time for feeding and changing and do not feel guilty for taking a lot of breaks.

Traveling With Toddlers

Toddlers can be a lot of work on the road, but if you plan according to their abilities everything will run smoothly.  Your toddler has a short attention span so do not expect him/her to hold up through the entire Museum of Natural History.  Try sightseeing in hour long spurts with breaks for playtime.  As with an infant, a stroller can be a godsend, even if you do not use one ordinarily.  Little legs tire quickly and your toddler will appreciate the ride.  Also, new surroundings can be stressful for a toddler so be gentle and reassuring when he/she is insecure.  Some regression is not uncommon in new environments, so pack diapers if your toddler has been recently potty trained.

Finally, a vacation is a tempting time for you to let go of the rules, especially with a tantrum-prone toddler.  Keeping the same rules and limits that you have at home is, however, the best thing that you can do for your child.  Your child needs the security of familiar rules, and often times leniency or inconsistency can do more harm than good.

Travel Needs

You need to make extra preparations when traveling with and infant or toddler. Some extra items you will need to pack are:

  1. Crib Sheet
  2. Changing Sheet
  3. Stroller
  4. Baby Sling or Backpack
  5. Car Seat
  6. Bassinet
  7. Infant Bed or Crib
  8. Mosquito Netting & Sun Hat
  9. Plastic Bags for Soiled Clothing
  10. Diapers
  11. Formula & Food (Bring only a small supply and plan to restock during your trip.)

Flying With Children

With advance notice, many airlines and hotels provide some or all of these items for free or for a nominal charge. Be sure to ask when making your reservations to save yourself the hassle of packing and transporting large items.

Most airlines allow children under 2 to fly free in a parents lap.  This might be an, acceptable situation on short flights but is probably not a good idea on longer flights.  Consider two things before you jump on the free airfare: 1) Your child will not be secured and may be at risk during turbulence. 2) Do you really want a baby in your lap for the entire flight?  Your other option is to reserve a seat for the child and have them ride in their car seat.  When making reservations, ask if the airline will provide an infant travel seat.  Airlines will also provide baby food, formula, bottles, and diapers on request and generally stock them on long flights.  Another good idea is to nurse or bottle-feed your child during take-off and landing to ease the discomfort of changing air pressure.  If your child has a cold, give them a decongestant about an hour before take-off.

Hotels also provide many baby items at no additional cost.  Ask what is available for you and your baby before making reservations.  When you arrive at the hotel, tape down loose electrical cords and cover any exposed outlets. Remove matches and glass objects that might break and make sure windows are closed and locked.  Push the bed against the wall and line pillows along the other side to keep baby from falling out.  A big help is to give your baby a familiar toy or security item (blanket, stuffed animal, etc.) to ease the transition to the new environment.

International Travel With Children

When traveling abroad you will need a separate passport for each individual traveling, even infants.  Apply for these documents several months in advance. Also, check with the tourist office or consulate in your destination country to check the availability and safety of baby supplies and pack accordingly. For instance, you may not want to pack powdered formula if the water is questionable. If certain items are not available in your destination country check with your airline about shipping cases with you when you go.

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