Getting out of the house with infants can be a challenge. It takes lots of preparation and a carefully orchestrated strategy to leave the house without forgetting something and with everyone still smiling. Traveling with babies is the same, but with more stuff. You have to consider whether your destination has the equipment you use at home, specifically cribs, high chairs, bouncy chairs, play mats, toys, and anything else you may need on a daily basis.
If you are bottle-feeding it adds another dimension of organization. Do you have your bottle sterilizer, bottle warmer, bottlebrush, and extra bottles? Do you have enough formula? It’s a good idea to arrive at your destination with sterilized bottles filled with the appropriate amount of sterilized water, so all you have to do is heat the bottle and add the formula (which is good to pre-measure as well). You’ll have enough to do finding a place to change your babies in your new environment and settling in for the duration of your stay.
If you are staying at a hotel or motel, they can probably supply you with a playpen or crib. That’s a good thing, because you’ll have already been carting around your babies in their car seats, since you’ll need to bring those, too.
Are you going to be able to wash the babies’ clothes or will you need enough to outfit them for every day – considering one change a day is a rarity and you will need to do it more than that. Don’t forget any special detergent you use for laundering their clothes.
Diapers! They may cost a bundle wherever you are going, especially because you’ll probably be buying them at a place that highlights convenience over savings so it’s smart to pack as many as you think you’ll need.
If you are renting a car at your destination, check to see if the company supplies car seats so you don’t have to worry about them. You’ll be lugging enough stuff as it is traveling with babies.
Traveling on a plane is challenging, because you need to calculate their feedings in conjunction with plane lift-off and arrival. Like adults with a peppermint, babies need to suck to reduce the pain in their ears as they get accustomed to changing air pressure. Pack lots of sterilized bottles pre-filled with sterilized water so when it comes time you can just add formula and cross your fingers.
If you are traveling with babies under the age of two, they are allowed to sit on your lap during the flight and can fly for free. See if the type of airplane you are on has bassinettes in the bulkhead and remember to request those. Failing that, see if there are any vacant seats. Even babies are heavy when you have to hold them for hours on end, and having a spare seat will be immeasurably helpful because it will allow you to comfortably put your child down for a nap. There must be an adult for every baby so if you have twins you won’t be able to travel alone. Also, airlines typically only allow one baby per row. If you want to spend the money, you can purchase seats for your babies and put them in their car seats for the duration of the flight.
Use umbrella strollers at the airport. They are highly portable, cheap (easy to get and not a terrible disappointment to lose) and zippy. Check with your carrier what kind of stroller they will allow you to board with. They may only accept umbrella-style strollers. Some airlines have a policy that eliminates the use of any double stroller after you check in – something you’ll want to know when you are planning your trip when you’re traveling with babies.
If you have older children, try wrapping little gifts such as colouring books and crayons, and present them when your little ones are getting restless. They will behave knowing that they are getting something for good behaviour and the activity will help to keep them entertained. Let them bring a little carry on bag with a favourite toys, book or game to keep them busy. Have lots of little snacks on hand for them as well.
You should consider where you are going in relation to the duration of your flight, particularly in regards to your babies’ eating and sleeping routines. Babies seem to travel well in the morning, or you may want to book an evening flight in the hopes that your babies may sleep.
Make sure you keep your babies are well hydrated, travel is thirsty work and could contribute to constipation.
You’ll probably find that the trip was worth it, be it a special Christmas visit or spending the weekend at the cabin. Just make sure you plan ahead and try to maintain the babies’ routine and it will reduce the stress for everybody – especially you! Enjoy your first adventure traveling with babies.