Even though it might not seem possible, your baby can be a great flyer! Simply follow my best tested and proven tips and advice on How to Travel With a Baby.
It is no secret. We LOVE traveling. It is something that is very important to the hubs and I, not only because we have family that lives out-of-town but because we truly enjoy visiting new places and experiencing new cultures. And before baby Poppy came around, I was anxious that traveling with our little one would be a painstaking ordeal. Guess what? This is not the case.
Baby Poppy is now 9 months old. And so far, she has taken 4 road trips and over 8 flights. With each trip I’ve learned a lot and now understand that by planning ahead and keeping a few key considerations in mind, baby travel is easily manageable and actually fun!
From packing to airport security, here are the best tips and advice for baby travel. And once your little one becomes a toddler, don’t forget to check out – How to Travel with a Toddler!
- Give yourself time to plan and pack
You would think packing for a tiny human would be simple. I mean their clothes are so small and they do not have hair products or different shoes for their outfits. Wrong wrong wrong. Packing for a little one is tricky. To make packing simpler, start by answering a few key questions. Then don’t panic! If you forget to pack one thing, you will still survive.
- How long will you be gone for?
- Airplane travel: Will you be checking a bag (that means you can bring liquids) or only bringing carry-ons?
- What will the weather be like?
- Will the baby need warm or cool clothing?
- Will you have access to a washer and dryer?
- What are the essential baby toiletries, toys, and food/bottle utensils that you absolutely need?
- Are you pumping? If so, do you need to bring your pumping device as a carry-on?
- What will you need for transportation or bedtime? Car seat, baby carrier, stroller, pack and play?
With each questions answered, start making a packing list and plan enough outfits for the day gone.
- Packing essentials
Here is a basic sample packing list for an average week-long trip. This list does not include the larger transportation and sleep time items like stroller, car seat and pack and play nor mommy items like pumping device.
- Packing your airplane diaper bag
This is by far your most important bag for the trip. I think of it as my lifeline in case we get stranded at the airport. Key items for the diaper bag are:
- Airport security and baggage
The first thing you will need to bring with you is a copy of your baby’s birth certificate. I have been asked for this a few times now at the ticket counter.
Second and most important trick I learned after our first flight: Use a baby carrier. We use an Ergobaby. It is SO HELPFUL! The very first trip I took (just baby and I), I only brought a stroller and car seat, and let me tell you it was difficult, especially thru security when you need to handle all of your bags plus carry the baby. Having the little one strapped onto you allows you to use your arms! You can carry your bags, wash your heads, eat and even go t the bathroom. Trust me it works! Also miss Poppy loves being cuddled against my chest so it’s a win-win.
Although security check has varied from airport to airport, this is my general experience: I throw my diaper bag, purse and/or car seat/stroller on the conveyor belt, take out my laptop and liquid baggies as well as the little cooler filled with Poppy’s milk. Next I take off my shoes and throw those on the belt as well. Security always allows you to walk thru the metal detector with the baby on strapped onto me in the carrier. Once thru, security will test your hands by rubbing a little swab on both your hands. After that I wait for my bags and another security person will take the baby cooler with the bottles and test each one individually. This is the last step. Yay! on to the gate and then to the bathroom to check someone’s diaper.
Baggage: All baby items including a stroller and car seat + base can be checked for free. Go thru security and ask for a pink tag at the ticket counter once you arrive at your gate. Then drop off your items when boarding the plane. Make sure your stroller is collapsed and fastened somehow. We bought Velcro straps to tie up our large jogging stroller.
- Airplane tips
Best case scenario you get an empty seat next to you. Worse case scenario, you don’t. So be prepared: Bring a toy or something for baby to play with and stay distracted. On the last few flights, Poppy has loved playing with the free bag of peanuts you get on the plane or with the airline magazine.
To make sure baby’s ears don’t pop, I feed Poppy right when we take off and as we are descending. I would recommend keeping the diaper bag under the seat in front of you with some key items: pacifier, bottles, easy snack foods (if baby is eating solids) and some sort of burp rag/bib in case of accidents. If baby needs a new diaper, you can normally find a tiny changing table above the toilet in the bathroom. Warning, it is small and since the airplane bathrooms are extra small, the whole diaper changing experience can be a bit challenging.
Last but not least, be patient. Poppy was an absolutely perfect baby on her first few flights, mostly sleeping and playing nicely on my lap. Now that she is older and more mobile she is way more squirmy. So now toys, food and distractions are critical to keeping her entertained.
- Beach vacation
Another consideration is that babies cannot be in the sun too long. Even though mama could sit in the sun for hours, babies needs shade and cannot be exposed for too long. On our last vacation, Poppy spent a good amount of time in the stroller because it shielded her from the sun wonderfully. Renting a beach umbrella is another wonderful option.
- Things to consider
Babies under the age of 2 fly for free, as long as they sit in your lap. Make sure to check “Infant in Arms” when you book your ticket and check in.
Babies get jet lagged too! Going to the airport, enduring long flights or road trips and getting through a crazy travel day wears on babies so expect the first night or 2 in a new place to be unpredictable. Poppy tends to go to bed later the fist night in a new place, and wakes up at least once at night. But after a day or 2 she gets back to her normal routine as she becomes acclimated. So just we aware that this might happen on the first or second night of your trip.
Similarly with coming home, the first night is always a little different. Either with different bedtime or just a rougher night in general. In my eyes though, this is a small price to pay for a well-behaved travel baby and a successful trip!
So all in all, my best advice for traveling with a baby is pack early, be flexible, stay patient and drink some coffee. Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a trip overseas, traveling and experiencing the world is priceless and what’s better than sharing it with your little one ❤️
For tips on traveling with a toddler, check out How to Travel with a Toddler!