Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Traveling with a Baby (less than 1 year)

*Many of my friends went on summer trips this year, and asked me for tips on how to travel with a baby. After giving different tips here and there, I decided I probably needed to consolidate it all into a post. Traveling with a baby is definitely different than traveling with a toddler, so I'll break it up into two different posts. 

In Leah's first year of life, she was one lucky little girl and got to travel a lot. You can read more about them under the Travel tab. I learned a lot after those first few trips, and hope these tips are useful!


1. Research Flights and Airlines. When booking flights, try not to fly during busy times. If you can book a flight that is not completely full, book the aisle and window seats. Since most passengers don't like sitting in the middle, you have a decent chance of getting a free empty seat. Having the extra space when traveling with a baby is priceless. If you are traveling overseas, try to book a bassinet seat, but you will need to research the height and weight requirements. If your baby is too big for a bassinet, I highly recommend purchasing his/her own seat. It makes a long flight more bearable. Also, every airline has different policies regarding children. You can check the airline's website or SeatGuru.com for a lot of this information. For example, Southwest requires a copy of your baby's birth certificate to verify age. Some airlines do not. International airlines also have different requirements with what type of car seat you can bring on board.

2. Research Accommodations. After staying in several hotels, we have seen some really nice baby accommodations and some not so nice. Call the hotel beforehand and ask if they provide cribs and what type it is. Some use metal cribs, wood cribs, full size cribs, or pack and plays. If you are not satisfied with the type of crib provided, consider renting or bringing a travel crib. Also, I always bring my own crib sheets with me. If you co-sleep, some hotels even provide bed railings. Leah sleeps better when she's in her own room, so we also try to book a suite when we can. Next time, I definitely want to try renting an Airbnb.

3. Research Your Destination's Surroundings. I used to dread packing enough diapers, food, and baby essentials for the whole trip. I quickly learned my lesson, and looked up nearby Targets, grocery stores, etc. where I could replenish supplies. That way I didn't have to fill up my luggage with just baby gear.

1 // 2 // 3


4. Baby Carrier. I found it easier to keep Leah in a baby carrier from when we arrived at the airport all the way until after we get through security. This way we didn't have to set up and down the stroller multiple times, and I just walked through security with her in the carrier. I also used it to walk up and down the aisles once we were on the plane.

5. Check-in. When you check in for your flight, check to see if that middle seat is still open. If it is, you can often ask the attendant at the check-in desk to block the row for you. They will hold the seat for you for free, unless the flight becomes fully booked. {Virgin America is really good with this.} If that middle row is booked, you can ask to switch seats or ask that person to switch once you board.

6. Gate Check. When you arrive at your gate, check to see if they preboard families with small children. Most airlines do. We like to board early to make sure we have enough overhead luggage space. Also, get a gate check tag for your stroller. If you end up not being able to bring your car seat on board, get a gate check tag for your car seat as well. If you do not plan on bringing your car seat on the plane, I recommend checking it in ahead of time. I find it quicker and easier to put Leah in the carrier, fold up the stroller, and put it in the travel bag before I walk down the jet way. This way I can drop it off at the end of the jet way rather than holding up the line trying to break everything down in front of the plane door.

7. Carry-on Bag. Must haves: 1. Extra clothes for baby and you. You never know when you'll get poop, spit up, and/or food on you, and you don't want to be sitting there in your dirty clothes. 2. Overnight diapers. We always put Leah in overnight diapers during flights so that we don't have to change her as often. 3. Formula, food pouches, & snacks. I pre-measure formula powder and pack each in separate ziplock baggies. This way I don't have to worry about measurements on a potentially bumpy flight. Don't forget you can bring liquids through security if it's for the baby. 4. Pacifier. If your baby takes a pacifier, this is really helpful to ease pressure during take off and landing and also to help calm a fussy baby. 5. New toys and books. These help occupy the baby's attention when awake. The dollar store is great for these. 

8. Nursing. The ultimate secret weapon for a happy (and often sleeping) baby when traveling is nursing. If you're still breastfeeding, nurse during take off. Like a pacifier, this will help with ear pressure and also hopefully get your baby to sleep. If your baby is anything like Leah, breastfeeding will also instantly calm your baby during the not so happy times.

Happy traveler


9. Renting Baby Equipment. The most common question I get asked is, "Do I have to bring a car seat, stroller, pack and play, etc??" The answer doesn't have to be "Yes." While I do always bring my stroller {and stroller travel bag}, I have rarely brought any other baby equipment. On our trip to Las Vegas, I researched and found a baby equipment rental company. It got great reviews, and I had a great experience. These companies are in most major cities, and pretty much offer any type of baby gear you need. I do not recommend renting a car seat from a car rental company, however. The one time we did, I really regretted it.

10. Jet Lag. If you're traveling abroad, jet lag may be your biggest issue. I found it helps to keep baby on the same schedule but in the new time zone. Get lots of sunlight during the day, and keep things dark and quiet at night time. Red eye flights worked the best for us. When we arrived at our destination in the morning, we had a fresh start to a new day.

What are some of your tips for traveling with a baby?


  1. Great tip! Can't wait to read your tips on traveling with a toddle!

  2. Fabulous tips! My son and daughter-in-law have made a couple of cross country flights with their now one year old twins. It is a big undertaking, for sure! Their last flight was on Virgin America which they loved!


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