Traveling with a baby can be tough. I’ve been traveling with Fletcher since he was 6 weeks old. And I don’t mean a few hour road trips, I mean full-fledged flights across the United States and across the Atlantic Ocean over to Europe. After Fletcher turned one, we left for a business trip to Amsterdam. We traveled to three different cities in two different countries while in Europe. Here are a few things I have found that makes travel with a baby or toddler easier:
1. Forget the toys. Seriously.
How often do babies really want to play with their toys when they are in a new place? I’ve found that Fletcher is interested in everything else except his toys. Toys take up room in your suitcase and just add more weight and more headache. Leave the toys at home and get creative with what is in your hotel room. A flight attendant on one of our Delta flights took one of their plastic cups with a lid and put pretzels in them. He loved it! He shook that thing for days!
2. Find an apartment on Airbnb or stay at a hotel that has kitchenettes in the rooms.
I’ve found having access to a kitchen for cooking makes travel with a baby or toddler a lot less stressful. Things do not always go as planned and restaurants are not always the ideal place to have a screaming baby. It sure makes the meal less enjoyable when they are throwing fits of rage. I go to the grocery store once we get to the city where we are staying, and buy a few things for breakfast and dinner. That way we are never in a bind on what and where we are going to eat. On Airbnb there is a filter for applying results that have kitchens.
3. Take a PeaPod.
Lynda from Life Support Holistic Health told me about these at an event and I am forever grateful! The PeaPod is a small travel tent for children. It is extremely lightweight and it folds up into a circle for easy travel. It creates a familiar sleeping area everywhere you go. If you have trouble getting your child to sleep, read about my method here.
4. Always bring a sound machine.
If you want to be able to move around at all while you are sleeping in the same space as your little one, get a sound machine! Sound machines produce white noise so that other sounds are masked. It gives you the ability to talk, use the bathroom, and simply walk around the room without waking the little one. These are even great to use in your home. They are lightweight and small, so they are easy to travel with.
5. Purchase a lightweight stroller.
Do yourself a favor and get a travel stroller. We purchased the ZOE XL1 Lightweight Umbrella Stroller System and we found it to be awesome! It is durable, folds easily, and is only 9 lbs. The bottom basket was also very convenient when traveling. We used it everyday through cobblestone roads, trains, planes, and even the beach. This one thing made 12 days in Europe more enjoyable with a one-year-old.
Update: We’ve been using this stroller for over two years and have traveled everywhere with it. It is still in great shape and I absolutely love it!
6. Bring your Ergo or other baby carrier.
Not everywhere makes sense for a stroller, and sometimes it is easier to have them strapped to you. If you are taking a subway, going to the beach, or going to an area that is congested with people, a baby carrier will make it easier to maneuver. Babies will sometimes even fall asleep on you when you are carrying them. They are toasty and cozy next to you. I loved my Ergo for so many reasons!
7. Go in with low expectations. 🙂
This one makes me laugh, but it is true. Traveling with a baby or toddler is very different than the days when it was just you. There are going to be times when they don’t want to sleep because of the time change or because it is not their bed and their routine. If you go in thinking everything will be perfect, chances are it won’t be perfect and you will be disappointed. Go in expecting that they will not sleep, will be cranky, will not like the food, and that you won’t be able to tour everything you wanted to see. Then, when it turns out to be perfect, you will be even happier. 🙂
You can follow Alane on Instagram @the_hurricanealane.