How to Plan a Long Baby-Friendly Vacation
We often hear that parents are afraid to travel with little ones, but we think life shouldn’t stop after baby. In fact, it’s been shown time and time again that those who travel are both smarter and more creative due to the experiences and perspective gained while abroad. So don’t be afraid of international destinations with babies and toddlers – instead, embrace it. To help get you started, here are a few tips.
- SEND. VIA. PRIME – Don’t take things like disposable diapers, rather send these types of things ahead to your destination via Amazon Prime.
- You don’t need everything. Toddlers are amazed by an empty bottle sometimes, so forget all the toys and let them explore when you arrive at your destination.
- Nearly all major hotels have cribs so skip bringing the portable playpin and call ahead and ask if a crib can be set up in your room before you arrive. Marriott hotel chains go a step farther with the Tots Travel Too program, providing travel cribs and covers, a tub toy, outlet covers, nightlights, toiletries, and more.
- Don’t lug the car seat with you. You can add one to your car rental, or if you’re Ubering you can select to use only cars with car seats, alleviating you ackwardly dragging a car seat across an airport.
- Go Direct. This is a duh one, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t say it.
- Babies and toddlers nap, and airlines know this. That’s why many have bassinets. Check the weight requirements as they vary by airline, although most will allow children up to 25 or 30 pounds.
- Don’t be confining. Everyone on the plane was a kid once and knows how hard it can be to travel with little ones. Often times, parents are too worried about disturbing people when in reality many people would welcome a cute smile. Judge your audience wisely and it will likely result in your little one feeling freer.
- If you’re breastfeeding, nursing is far easier than trying to get through security with a bottle. If you need to bring breast milk, store it in a clean, sealed container in an insulated cooler bag with frozen ice packs. P.S. You don’t need to declare your breastmilk at customs when travelling internationally.
- When going through security, separate your breast milk from the rest of your items. You can bring as much breast milk as you want (within reason). It will be x-rayed, although an officer may ask you to open the container or transfer a bit to another dish to test it. Read more about TSA guidelines for breast milk here.
- Bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate along with their passport. While it’s not required for US screening, most foreign nations require it upon entry.
- Long haul flights on large airlines often provide kid-friendly meals. If you’d like this, place your order at least 24 hours ahead of time to ensure it makes it onto the plane!
- Some airports courtesy check strollers. This guide to stroller policy will help you decide which airplane carrier to fly.
- Bring a few new, never-before-played-with toys that you can strategically whip out throughout the flight. Toy cars and finger puppets can be bought in multipacks and will provide hours of entertainment.
- Airbnbs can be a lifesaver. They’re often closer to town and with more amenities suitable for families than hotels, so keep these in mind and don’t automatically opt for hotels.
- Traversing old towns with a stroller can be a nightmare. Instead, opt for a child carrier backpack.
- Don’t shelter little ones from local food. While babies can have pretty specific diets, encourage toddlers to try whatever your eating. Trust us, it will make them less picky later!
- Don’t limit your trips or sight seeing destinations. We’d bet that the experience of exploring Rome as a family outweighs the dirtiness factor of your toddler happily climbing the stairs of the collisium.
The key to taking an enjoyable vacation with a baby is to relax. The saying “When in Rome” exists for a reason. When travelling, know that everything won’t go as planned or as it does at home, but that’s ok. Embrace the journey with your family, including the mishaps as those will be the things you laugh at over family dinners for years to come.