Traveling with young children is always an adventure. There are a lot of things to consider, and you never know when they may have a temper tantrum or meltdown in public at the most unexpected times. Sometimes they are cranky, sleep too much or don’t get enough rest. Other times, they may be extremely active or chatty. They may also have accidents when you’re in the car, on a plane or out in public at a crowded attraction.
Going on a trip with a baby can also be challenging. Most doctors recommend waiting until they are at least a month old or more. You can take your baby almost anywhere, but it won’t be easy. You’re going to have to be proactive and start thinking of what you need to pack before you go. If you wait until the last minute, odds are that you’re probably going to forget a few important things.
Knowing what to pack is one of the most important things for traveling with a baby. You can find out about some of the many product options and read reviews online. There are product comparisons and pricing information for dozens of items. You can also check out different products in person at specialty stores and at your local big box retailer.
Here are twelve things that you should prepare for before taking that trip with your infant:
1. Pack extra clothing and diapers.
It’s always a good idea to have a few extra changes of clothes and plenty of diapers anytime you travel with your baby. You never know when accidents may happen. If you are traveling by air, make sure your baby is dressed in layers so that they don’t feel cold. These layers can easily be removed if they get too hot. Your diaper bag should be easily accessible and stored in your car or as close to your airline seat as possible. Also, make sure you have plenty of diaper wipes packed with you. They always seem to come in handy. Some parents invest in diaper backpacks because of their convenience and durability. They withstand even the mightiest of messes and spills and are easy to clean and organize.
2. Bring items to help them sleep.
You should bring blankets, pillows and maybe a favorite stuffed animal or two for your child. These things can help them get to sleep faster, because they are familiar items from home that they already associated with sleep. Make sure that any window shades are closed, and try to let in as little light as possible so that they’re not distracted. Creating a cozy environment can help them get a deeper, more restful sleep faster. This allows you to concentrate on the journey and focus on what you need to do when you arrive at your destination.
3. Take their favorite toys.
Pack a few of your infant’s favorite toys for the trip. They should be items that are baby-safe and free of small parts or sharp edges. A few picture books can also keep them occupied and help them drift off to sleep when it’s nap time. Books made of soft materials are easy to pack and store. Having some of their most loved toys around can help your baby feel safe and secure. It also keeps them focused on play. They’ll become so preoccupied with their playthings that they won’t be afraid of airplane noises or other outside distractions.
4. Have your travel stroller handy.
A good travel stroller is one that is collapsible and easy to store in your vehicle or luggage. Many models are lightweight, easy to set up and have plenty of compartments for diapers, clothes, food and other necessities. It also makes navigating sidewalks and crowded airport hassle-free. Just make sure that you read up on any rules and regulations before you travel. Most airports require that all baby strollers be checked in at the ticket counter before boarding. You can also buy stroller clips if you want to attach an umbrella, diaper bag or other items during your travels. If you can, pack diapers, changes of clothes and other important accessories in your stroller’s compartments to save time. There are also travel bags that conveniently store your stroller to make it easy to take with you wherever you go.
5. Check your travel car seat.
There are a lot of different travel car seats on the market today. They are solidly constructed, easy to carry and are generally less expensive than most traditional daily use car seats. Many airlines also let you check your travel car seat free of charge. They are easy to install in any kind of vehicle. Most of them work very well as forward-facing car seats for your child for the first few years of their life. You can learn about different car seat options that are available at My Traveling Baby and other websites. There are also additional car seat cases and covers that you can buy to store them and keep them free from messes and the elements when you’re not using them.
6. Bring a baby carrier if you’re going to do a lot of walking.
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time walking or in rough terrain that strollers can’t go, you may want to invest in a good baby carrier. Many of them are very easy to use, and hold your baby firmly in place. They won’t be jostled around or fall out of them. They are also very easy to clean and can be used in any kind of weather. They are relatively inexpensive and can fit in just about any kind of small space when they’re not in use. They are also easy to attach in just a matter of moments. You don’t have to worry about them falling out or getting tangled up. They go where you go, and you don’t have to worry about them being out of your sight.
7. Pack a baby first aid kit.
If your infant is teething or has been known to go through a few crabby spells while you travel, it’s a good idea to bring along a few things to make the journey more comfortable for them. There are several over the counter products that can provide relief for their teething pains. You can also buy products to help with earaches and upset stomachs. Pack some baby vitamin C if you want to give your child’s immune system a boost while you travel. You can add all of these items and more in a separate travel bag to use whenever you need them.
8. Think about a travel crib.
A travel crib or playpen can keep your child busy when you’ve finally arrived at your hotel or other lodging. Most models are very light and easy to assemble and disassemble. They are made of safe materials, and don’t have sharp edges or other potential hazards. The mattress pads are soft enough for your child to move around on and can help them get a good night’s sleep. Many of them even come with travel cases or additional mattress pads for added comfort. Try it out at home before you travel. If your child enjoys it, then you’ll know it’s a good item to pack. Just be sure to check with your air carrier before traveling. Many of them will allow you to check your travel crib free of charge at their check-in counter.
9. Diaper changing mats go anywhere.
The nice thing about diaper mats is that they are flexible enough to be used anywhere you travel. Most of them fit on standard diaper changing tables or similar surfaces. They can be folded up when not in use and fit right in your diaper bag! Diaper changing mats are easy to use and even easier to clean. Their surfaces are waterproof, and they are designed to withstand even the messiest diapers. They are well worth the investment for active families. Some of them even come equipped with safety belts. This is a handy feature if your child tends to wriggle or squirm a bit while they’re being changed. There are also additional covers you can buy to keep them protected from the elements. Some models also come in convenient travel bags that can house the changing mat, changing pads, diaper wipes with enough room left over for other essentials. You can buy disposable diaper changing pads if you’d like. They are convenient, but can be expensive over time, especially if you do a lot of traveling with your child.
10. Don’t forget about the diaper bag!
There are a wide variety of reusable diaper bags and wet/dry bags that you can buy. You may want to buy a couple: one to use for dirty or soiled diapers, and another for dirty bibs and clothing. It makes things easier to separate. They may cost a little more, but are easy to clean and last for a long time. They are easy to use and reuse. They are also good for the environment. Many of them are easy to store and fit just about anywhere, which is handy if you’re traveling by air or don’t have a lot of storage space in your vehicle to work with.
11. Consider a sleep sack.
For young babies, you may want to think about buying a sleep sack for your travels. They are easy to clean and store, and help keep your child comfortable while they nap. Many of them are ideal for use in almost any kind of temperature. Several models are temperature controlled so that your child doesn’t get too hot or too cold. They are also a great alternative to bringing extra towels or blankets on your trip. They fold up quickly and can fit in any kind of travel bag or stroller that you have. The only downside is that they don’t adjust as your child grows.
12. Bring along bibs.
Most parents know that they’re going to need a few bibs every time they take their baby somewhere. They’re good at catching spit-up and food messes. We all know how important they are at feeding time. They are easy to wash and clean, and come in a wide range of colors, sizes and patterns. There are even silicon bibs with little pouches on the bottom that catch messes for you. They are simple to clean and dry quickly for the next use.
These are just some of the things to pack when traveling with your baby. Other considerations include food or formula, bottles and pacifiers, soap, bug repellent and sunscreen. Make a checklist before you go to ensure that you don’t forget anything. Packing a few things every day or week can help you be more prepared. It can also help you if there are things on your list that you need to buy before you go.
Also, take time to make sure that you’ve only packed the essential items. There’s no need to take along extra items that won’t get used or will just weigh down your bags. Bulky bags and car seats and heavy toys are not recommended, especially if you’re traveling by air. Cloth diapers are also not recommended, because they have to be cleaned and take up more space in your luggage. Consider using smaller bottles to conserve space. Glass bottles and other items that can easily be broken or damaged in transit should also be left behind.
Balance is key. You don’t want to pack too many things, but at the same time you also don’t want to forget anything important. Think about the number of diapers and outfits your child goes through in a day and pack just a few extra, just to be on the safe side. Packing in advance can also save you time. It allows you to concentrate on your daily activities and focus on other things that you need to prepare for your trip. All of these tips can help make traveling with your baby a much more enjoyable and rewarding experience. You get to create precious moments as you see them experience new sights and places for the very first time.