Travelling with a baby under one is a whole other ball game! Here are my top 12 tips and hacks to make travelling with a baby, whether locally or overseas, a little easier.
We recently embarked on our first family trip to Florida with our now 9 month old daughter Sage. I documented the whole thing, so be sure to check out my top travel essentials, what I packed for baby Sage, my flying with a baby tips, what we ate while on vacation and our road trip meal and snack ideas. Today I want to share with you my top tips for travelling with a baby. These tips will apply to you whether you’re doing a staycation in your own country or if you’re flying abroad. I hope you find them helpful!
If your little one is onto solid foods as opposed to just drinking milk, that makes things even more complicated. My top tip is when you’re at a restaurant ask them for some sides such as bananas and avocados that you can then mash up. It ends up working out pretty cheap and saves a lot of hassle. I also suggest mixing it up with homemade food and pouches. I have a whole guide on how I prep Sage’s baby food at home, but when you’re travelling it can be helpful to also buy some pre-made food pouches that you can whip out when you need them. I’m not the biggest fan of feeding Sage store-bought food, but when I don’t have access to a fridge and my usual baby food prep equipment they definitely come in handy. Baby Mum Mums were also a lifesaver when she was fussy while we were out and about!
Sage is too young for proper screen time, and to be honest even if she was old enough I’d probably want to restrict it. But one thing I definitely had on hand all the time was Cocomelon on Spotify. The songs are catchy and Sage seems to instantly calm when we put it on. She doesn’t even have to look at the screen, as long as she can hear it she chills right out.
Babies kind of reset when you change up their environment. If Sage was getting fussy, we’d distract her by switching things up. If Matt’s holding her, I’ll hold her. I’ll give her something to play with like the plane ticket or my keys. When we were on our road trip we took regular pit stops so that we could get out, Sage could stretch her legs and play on a picnic blanket for a bit, and just enjoy looking at new things.
We would normally tend to have a late dinner, but when you’re travelling and you’re planning to go to a restaurant I’d recommend booking an earlier time. We went for about 4.30 and it worked out great. By the time you’ve got there, taken your seats, chosen what you want, ordered drinks, waited for your food etc. everything just takes so much longer. You don’t want an overtired baby, so be sure to factor in that extra time.
Baby wipes might seem obvious, but also be sure to bring extra packs of disinfectant wipes. They’re great for when you’re going to a restaurant and you need to disinfect a highchair or a table, or even when you’re on the plane or using public bathrooms. Especially in these times it’s good to know that the things are clean before you touch them! They’re also great for cleaning up spills in a hotel or Airbnb where you might not have a bunch of cleaning products.
The advantage of staying at an Airbnb is you’ll have a kitchen, so you’ll be able to store things like breast milk or prepped food in the fridge. You’ll also be able to whip up some baby food if you need to, so you’re not solely relying on pouches and what the hotel offers. While we were away I did an entire Trader Joe’s haul and was able to store a bunch of food in our kitchen. Also, you can book additional bedrooms. With hotels you’re usually just in one room, and when baby is asleep that can make things really tricky. Airbnb’s tend to have laundry on site too which is always handy with a baby!
This is so important when you’re travelling! It’s so tempting to desperately cling onto your routine, but the reality of being away is you might not always make it back for nap time. You might need to adjust what you’re doing in terms of baby food. You might need to stretch out naps if you need baby to go to bed a little bit late. When you get home you can get back into your routine, but being flexible will allow you to still have a good vacation! This also applies to changing your plans. If you’re at a restaurant and your baby is freaking out, ask if you can pack up the food and take it back to your Airbnb with you!
If you can’t get multiple rooms, I totally recommend doing what we did and putting baby to bed in the bathroom! I know it sounds really strange, but bathrooms are usually really dark which makes a great sleeping environment, and you don’t have to worry about being quiet. As long as they’re in their travel bed they won’t care!
I consider myself a pretty good packer, but when you have a baby you have a whole bunch of additional things you need to bring. They need to have somewhere to sleep, equipment to eat with, if you’re breastfeeding you might need a pump. Whether you’re staying for one night or two weeks, there’s a bunch of stuff that babies need in a 24 hour period. You can see what we packed for Sage right here. To help pack light, I’d recommend not bringing your big stroller. Get a travel stroller that packs up small. I’d also recommend renting a car seat so you don’t have to travel with that, and getting a travel pack and play. A lot of hotels and Airbnbs have these, so be sure to ask as that may be one less thing to bring! When it comes to diapers, just bring enough to cover you for the first few days. You can buy diapers anywhere.
If you’re pumping, I’d suggest just pumping enough for that day. That way you don’t have to worry about lugging around lots of storage equipment, and you don’t have to worry about finding a fridge.
As much as I said earlier about being flexible, it is a good idea to try where possible to recreate your home routine wherever you’re staying. If your baby is used to certain things such as falling asleep to white noise, bring a travel white noise machine. Whatever your little one is used to, if you can recreate that they’ll find comfort in it while you’re away and will make the transition much smoother.
Showering with your baby means you don’t need to worry about making sure the bath is clean. I brought her into the shower with me and I could quickly wash the both of us. It also meant I didn’t have to worry about bringing extra things for bath time like a baby bath or toys.
So those are my top 12 tips for travelling with a baby. Do you have anything to add? Let me know in the comments below!
If you’re preparing to go on a trip with your baby don’t forget to download my free baby packing checklist, and be sure to check out my top tips for flying with a baby if you’re planning on travelling by air!