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Travel With Baby Can Be Fun

Updated on December 21, 2010

Travel With A Baby Doesn't Need To Be Miserable

When I had my daughter, I thought the difficulty of travel with baby needs will mean I'd be done traveling for awhile. Luckily, I was wrong. As long as you are willing to work your travel plans around your baby's needs, you can have a great time on vacation with your baby. Read on for some tips on how to get the most out of your next vacation with a baby.

Before You Leave To Travel With An Infant

One of the biggest shocks I had when traveling with my daughter is how much stuff I ended up bringing. Before baby, I was going on week long trips with just one large backpack and a purse. Now it takes me the same amount for myself plus a big diaper bag, a bag for baby clothes, a bag for baby toys and food, a carseat, and a baby stroller or front pack. Bringing the right items for your baby is essential, and so is working out how you will handle transporting you and your baby with all that stuff.

Travel With a Carseat AND Another Carrier

Infant carseats are necessary if you are renting a car, visiting people who will drive, or planning on taking a taxi when you arrive. Your life will be much easier if you have that carseat, but don't rely on it for carrying your infant regularly. Carseats are heavy and awkward for everything except maybe shopping.

Choose either a baby wearing carrier or a stroller for your trips. Personally, I've had the best luck with a baby front pack that leaves my daughter's hands and legs free, so she can participate in pointing, touching, and exploring when we walk places together. This is also way easier to carry than a stroller, since it usually ends up being how I "pack" my daughter when moving around airports, public transit, and train stations.

Babies Can Enjoy Vacations Too!

Image from: sxc.hu/jmonte
Image from: sxc.hu/jmonte

Bring Emergency Essentials

You know your infant, and probably already know what a daily supply of diapers, clothing changes, and food options look like.  One important thing to remember is that when traveling, you will need to prepare in advance for the possibility that your baby will get cold, hot, sick, or start teething.  Bring everything that you consider essential for day to day baby care, as well as anything you wouldn't want to live without if you get stuck with a sick or teething baby as you travel to or from your destination or if you don't think you could get it mid trip.

Remember to bring clothing, food, and diapers for your infant for a wide variety of weather conditions and possible delays.  If you are taking an infant on a train or on a long plane trip, remember to bring extra basics in case there is a delay that leaves you stuck for longer than expected.  You don't need to go overboard or anything, but running out of diapers or formula could leave you with a nighmare instead of a dream vacation.

Plan Around Your Baby's Tolerance Level

If you want to have fun while traveling with a baby, remember to let the baby set the pace.   When I last traveled with my daughter, I made sure to keep the schedule slow and steady.  A big, all day event like a trip to a zoo or aquarium should be followed by a day when you try to do as little as possible to let your baby rest.  Babies thrive with regular and steady routines, so try to keep bed time, nap time, and food schedule routines as normal as possible throughout your trip.  If your baby has trouble with restaurants, don't try to eat out every day.  Eat in the room at the hotel, order takeout, get fast food, or cook if possible.  You and your infant will have more fun if you aren't spending the whole trip trying to force them to behave.

Let Your Baby Play and Explore

Everything is new and fascinating to your infant, from the hotel you are staying at to the wall displays at the museum.  Keep your baby involved in everything you do.  Let them reach out and explore the textures around them, and talk to your baby about what you are seeing and doing.  Babies love new things, so with the right attitude a vacation can be a wonderful chance to talk to your baby about colors, textures, animals, and whatever else you see and do during your vacation.  Your entire trip can be a great teaching moment for you and your infant if you keep an open mind let your baby set the pace.

Plan Time When You Get Home to Renew the Routine

One of the biggest mistakes I made on my first baby vacation was expecting my daughter to be able to fall right back into the normal routine when we got home.  She had just had many days of huge amounts of one on one mommy time, so going from that to letting her sit while I did simple chores and letting others entertain her while I tried to work was almost impossible.  Give yourself a few days after you get home before you go back to work or resume your normal schedule.  My baby needed to be eased back into normal activities with a much greater amount of mom time, sleep, and hand holding than she usually wants.  Giving her this time and space without expectations about how I wanted to spend my day getting in the way would have made our transition to being back at home much easier.


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